Three Monkeys Place, Doncaster East

Three Monkeys Place is a cafe in the Doncaster East shopping district, easily accessible by bus 279. I had actually gone past this shopping district a lot of times and never realised there was a cafe in here, and for the most part was happy with my experience here.

The cafe has quite a lot of seating both inside and out, and there's a shaded area that allows the sunlight to come through. We went on quite a warm day so it did feel quite hot; even though we were sitting in the shaded interior area, it didn't seem like the fan/AC was on. The design of the cafe is quite simple and there's not much decorations on the white painted brick walls, though each table came with flowers which was a nice touch. The service was pretty good, we didn't have to wait too long for our food and the staff were really attentive, however they did tell us they ran out of juices completely as it was such a warm day. There's an interesting range of options at Three Monkeys Place, from burgers to pastas and salad as well as basic breakfast dishes. We went with the Corn Fritters ($17), the Honey Walnut Bresaola Salad ($19) and the Mr Hermit Burger ($20). 

The corn fritters (which was a vegetarian dish), came with a crispy egg, indo chilli sauce, peanut coriander and a papaya and mango salad. It was interesting that the fritters were round instead of the usual flatter ones I'm used to seeing, and they were really flavoursome and moist on the inside. The indo chilli sauce added a nice heat and didn't just feel like sweet chilli sauce, and the use of the papaya mango salad made for a refreshing contrast to the heavier flavours of the fritters and egg, which was also cooked perfectly. The dressing on the salad was also enjoyable, and ensured it didn't become too dry. Presentation of the dish was great and a good portion for someone that's feeling a bit hungry.

The Honey Walnut Bresaola Salad consisted of 90 day house cured salted beef, served with a red wine paste, figs, honey walnuts, brie, quinoa and a balsamic glaze. The dish was a little disappointing as there wasn't much beef at all and a lot of salad in comparison. The salad felt quite dry and bland as there wasn't any other dressing besides the balsamic glaze that was drizzled on the side of the bowl; it felt more decorative rather than bringing the dish together. The quinoa and salad was a good combination though, and the figs had a nice sweetness to them, but wasn't quite enough to bring flavour into the dish. The portion of this dish was very generous, but a bit of a let down in terms of flavours.

The Mr Hermit burger was a soft shell crab burger with a charcoal bun, lettuce, red onion, seaweed and a chilli lime dressing, served with a yuzu salad. Unfortunately as I was ordering, the staff informed me that they were actually out of charcoal buns and would have to use brioche ones instead, but apart from that, this was a really enjoyable dish. It was a lot lighter than I expected from a burger; but perfect for the warm weather though! The brioche bun was extremely soft with just a subtle hint of sweetness to it, which contrasted well with the crispy batter covering the soft shell crab for a combination of flavours and textures. I actually thought the salad on the side was apple and not yuzu, but nonetheless it was delicious and very refreshing, and had just a slight sweetness to it that really made the whole dish come together.

Despite the disappointing salad, I'd love to come back here again and try some of the other dishes; I had also heard from another friend that they weren't known for their salads. The whole ambience and atmosphere at Three Monkeys Place was enjoyable, and worth a visit if you're in the eastern suburbs.

Ambience: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 7.5/10
Price: $$


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