Type of Venue: Cafe
Cuisine: Modern Australian food
Highly Recommended: Crispy Banana Roti, Ruby Scrambled, Smoothies
Monroe is the latest “IT” cafe to hit the streets, owned and operated by the legends behind Trillium, Miss Frank and 30 Mill Espresso. A clean, stylish and sleek addition to Richmond’s Bridge Road, Monroe’s trendy all-day brunch menu is sure to set tongues wagging for those who enjoy Instagram-worthy food that also taste good. Since they only opened a couple of months ago, their current menu is fairly similar to their sibling venues, though the Monroe team are looking into tweaking the menu to introduce some dishes that will be unique to Monroe.
Walking into their formal-leaning fitout, cement-grey and marble surfaces are interspersed with bursts of pink, siphoned off by an exposed-vent ceiling that is tastefully designed. Singular rows of mirrors line one side of the venue, complementing the Seven Deadly Sins theme that inspires the cafe’s design, as explained by the floor manager. Another intriguing feature of the venue is their open-windowed kitchen towards the back, giving customers a glimpse into the calming nature with which the chefs operate.
Perusing the menu, it’s hard to go past their smoothie range, with the Peachy Green, PB and Monroe Dragon on offer. For a sweet yet light blend, the PB Smoothie contains peanut butter, banana, chocolate sauce, dates and almond milk, topped with coconut flakes and goji berries; whilst the Monroe Dragon is a fruity concoction of pitaya, mango, coconut water, OJ and raspberries.
PB Smoothie ($9.00)
Monroe Dragon ($9.00) + PB Smoothie
For a hearty breakfast, the Ruby Scrambled is mixed with sliced chilli and coriander, served atop a choice of multigrain or sourdough toast, with a salsa of crispy shallots and charred corn, finished with a side serving of green nam jim sauce. The green nam jim sauce adds a nice herby sweetness that elevates the other flavours, though the bread on this occasion could have been toasted a lot more to be more enjoyable when eating with the other components. Adding crispy bacon and nicely-salty haloumi were good decisions, particularly because they introduced contrasting flavours and textures to the soft-cooked scrambled eggs.
Ruby Scrambled ($17.50)
+ added Bacon ($3.00), Haloumi ($4.00)
At most cafe’s, you usually have to choose between bacon or salmon to top your eggs benedict. At Monroe, no decision is needed, as their Eggs Benny Benny is done both ways! Served on the same plate, you will receive one English muffin topped with bacon, spinach, a poached egg and hollandaise, whilst the other English muffin is topped with smoked salmon, a poached egg and hollandaise. Literally showcasing the best of both worlds, this is a cleverly convenient (and tasty) dish to order.
Eggs Benny Benny ($18.50)
+ added Mushrooms ($3.00)
A vegetarian’s delight, the Cauliflower Corn fritters are very generously served, arriving as 3 round discs of fritters. The texture of the fritters are a touch on the sloppy side, though the complementing ingredients of goat’s cheese, avocado and house made relish further excite the taste buds, whilst adding a poached egg and smoked salmon completes this filling dish.
Cauliflower Corn Fritters ($17.50)
+ added Poached Egg ($2.00), Smoked Salmon ($5.50)
For a sweet ending, the Crispy Banana Roti gets points for individuality, featuring a crisp-fried roti that retains a fluffy interior, filled with sliced bananas, and topped with mascarpone, biscuit crumbs and strawberries. A welcome change to the usual waffle and pancake options, this is definitely one for the sweet tooths, though the potential idea for a house-made biscuit crumble may be more impressive than the crushed store-bought biscuits sprinkled around the plate.
Crispy Banana Roti ($18.00)
Showing signs of a tried-and-tested cafe model, Monroe avoids becoming just another cafe through their intriguingly contemporary venue design, and through their subtly varied items on the menu. Staff are fresh-faced and extremely friendly, and customers are guaranteed to leave feeling full, although the desire for a memorable ‘wow’ factor will hopefully come from the continuing improvements they are planning to make to their menu.
Note: I dined as a guest of Monroes. Thank you to the staff for their generous hospitality throughout our experience.
Shop 3, 189 Bridge Road
Richmond, VIC 3121