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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bites: The Monk Brewery @ Fremantle

We recently celebrated Vanessa birthday at The Monk in Fremantle.  From my previous trips to Fremantle, the Monk has been a place I’ve always passed by but never ate there before.  With rave reviews in the pipe and through word of mouth, it seemed like a must try.  Pair those reviews with a steady steam of awards for their home brewed beer, the Monk is a must GO.  So, how did that turn out for us?  To begin, the interior was well presented and was well above my expectations.


It was really spacious and slightly dimmed with a high concentration of light in the centre of the dining table to see the food.  Also, I found the fitting quite stylish and there was a good mix of sitting areas.  Some were intimately hidden, while others like our table of 20 was in the middle of the dining area.  Quite good really.



Reservation for 20!



Unlike all Monks, this one has a different approach to its religion.  It’s way?  Good food & Great Beer.  So, now for the most important question: did the Monk’s philosophy satisfy me that night?


Lets see the food we had that night.  I only have a say on the food I have tried by the way!


Tiong’s entree was a mix of prawns and sausages was it?  Cannot really remember.  It also had a garlic sauce I believe?


The next appetizer for the night was the one most recommended dish by all reviewers and patrons .  The sticky pork belly with scallops and Asian salad @ $20!


The delicious sticky pork belly and scallops is described by most as flavourful and delectable.  Without tucking it, I was already pleased with the way the dish was presented, neat and nice!  My first look without touching the dish tell me that the sticky pork belly along with the scallops and salad has a very Oriental feel to it.  When it comes to taste I loved the sticky sauce that came with the Pork Belly.  The acidity of the beansprout salad was lovely too.  But after that, it was down hill.. all the way..  The  let down was the decency of the cooking.  With about 6 plates of these lovely beauties on order, every plates’ quality were different.  Mine has two main problems. One, the pork belly was not soft enough.  The skin ended up being chewy while the bottom bit was a little tough.  What I was really looking forward to was a soft layer of meat with a melted layer of lard enclosed in a beautiful soft/crisp skin.  But it was not so.  The scallops on the other hands were not seared properly.  A little longer on the pan would have been perfect.  Charles on the other hand felt that his scalloped tended to be a little raw.  It’s not that we cannot eat raw scallops because they are delicious when served as sashimi.  But in this scenario, it was BAD. Not at all acceptable.  One trivial but hmm ok not really trivial.  The serve was inadequate and not as I have seen on other bloggers’ posts.  Each plate was written to cost $18.50 but cost $20 instead.  In addition, we see 1 set of scallop and pork belly less.  So putting that to numbers we had 6 plates but which had a total of 18 pork-scallop pairs and paid $120.  In contrast the old menu would provide us with 24 pairs for $111.  That is a whole lot of difference!  Money back please! $$$$!


The girls called a few mains to share and one of it was Monk’s Ribeye @ $40:


The girls and everyone else including Vil and Edwin seemed really please with the steak. It was deliciously juicy, more importantly, the chefs listened and cooked to order.  The potatoes were not out of the bag chips but hand cut and fried.  It was delicious.  The sauce did justice with its good flavour but lacked the much needed saltiness.  Luckily the potatoes itself were salty enough!  But the drawback of the Rib eye was from the knowledge the Monk website puts up! We went there hoping to get a 350gram slab for $38 BUT ended up paying more for LESS.  A little nuisance here considering that this problem went on the entire night Sad smile.


Goat Shoulder Meat or was it called Greek Goat.  Whatever it is, Henry’s first mouthful left him with a speechless expression.  Pretty much said what it needed to anyways.  “WTF”!  Easy Smile with tongue out


Kelvin, Henry and I were the unluckiest people that night.  We ordered this disastrous dish. To sum it up, uninspiring, blend, horrible and oh jeez man! Seriously?  The meat was lean and it tastes horrible in stew!  The sour cream/yoghurt at the top did not help a tad.  Aubergines pickles were used but why?  Over-roasted potatoes sounded promising but it was a big NO-NO with this dish.  At the end, I only ask one question.  WHY ME?  For $32 bucks I believe it was a BIG BIG mistake.  But the joyful crew at the Monk should only ask ONE question.  Why was this even on the menu? Oh my god.  Seriously!@#


Nana’s Steak Sandwich!



Fish Pie.


The Fish Pie was pretty much a Shepherd’s Pie with a creamy sauce and fish flakes instead of a meaty one.  Xin Nee and Xin Ling took a bite into the pie and immediately said ‘I think your Shepherd’s Pie is better’! Wahahahah!  My take on the pie is that the fish-cream-mash combination didn’t really do the trick for me.  It felt rather flat.  The sauce did not have enough flavour and the fish.. what did they even do with it before making the pie?


At the end, the dinner left me with mixed feelings. The dish served to us that night really showed me how wide the quality of food can range in one restaurant.  From the delicious steak all the way to the horrible goat shoulder.  Also, Cherry ordered the Risotto that which through my experience is a no nonsense-killer dish.  The end result at the Monk?  An inedible Risotto which even the most forgiving monks will not eat.  Why? Undercooked and consistently crunchy bits in it had us return the dish after a few spoonful.  THAT INEDIBLE.  But I have to insist that perhaps the sheer volume of us that night left the Monk’s with little time and ingredients to serve our hungry crew.  Perhaps an intimate evening for two will allow the chefs to work up their magic.  But then again, the company might end up stealing the limelight from the food.



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