Friday, July 6, 2012

Monga Sweet Cafe

In all honesty, I'm not longer as enamored with dessert cafes as I once was. There's been a rash of new Asian dessert places opening up in the CBD recently however (Monga, Dessert Story and now another on Swanston St that I forget the name of), that it was inevitable that I'd end up at one again.

After a rich dinner at Spicy Fish, we ended up at Monga Sweet Cafe, with a promise of interesting desserts hanging in the air.

A quick glance at their savoury food menu told me me that I should stay away from it. It all looked so uninspired, and the dishes that came out for other diners didn't look particularly appetizing. Most of us were there for the desserts though, so desserts are what we ordered.

They have a large range of hot and cold sweet soups, milkshakes and sweet bread combinations. After flicking through the specials menu for a while, A found what he was looking for: Hashima and Mango Coconut with Aloe Vera Jelly.

Hashima and Mango Coconut with Aloe Vera Jelly
Not to give too much away, but Hashima (also known as Hasma) is, according to Wikipedia, "a Chinese and widely Central Asian dessert ingredient made from the dried fatty tissue found near the fallopian tubes of true frogs". What? Produced primarily in the former Manchurian provinces of China, I had little choice but to taste it.

While it sounds, and lets be honest here, quite bad, in reality it's all texture, adding a soft and pillowy feel to the drink without changing the flavour at all. I didn't feel the need to try and more than the mouthful I had, but I certainly didn't regret it. A word of warning, supposedly the high contents of hormones might cause puberty to begin early so it's not recommended for young children. Right.

I ordered the much more normal sounding, but no less interesting. dessert of three types of mixed puddings (for a bargain price of $6.50).

Osmanthus Flowers and Wolfberry, Coconut and Red Bean Puddings

What arrived was a massive, and as good as they were, I found the dish hard to finish. The osmanthus and wolfberry puddings were my favourite by far, with the smoothest texture (and were the prettiest to look at).  The coconut and red bean puddings tasted as expected and weren't overly complicated, which I like. None of the flavours were overwhelmingly sweet either, although that was a conscious decision on my part as the other flavours on offer were Mocha and Black Seasame. 

I neglected to mention the other reason we ended up at Monga was that E was craving durian.  Unsurprisingly, this is what he ordered:

'Musang King' Durian Fritters with Ice Cream
Durian fritters with more durian ice cream. As many of you would know, durians are incredibly pungent, so there was a distinct smell wafting from the kitchen as they were making this dish. I'm not the biggest fan of durian (not so much because of the smell, but because it disagrees with my stomach), so I didn't try any of this dish, but by all accounts, this was exactly what was expected. Durian segments, deep fried in sweet batter to form a rich and heavy fritter, offset by light and creamy durian ice cream. A roaring success it would seem.

While my visit to Monga didn't inspire me to return anytime soon, it also didn't disappoint me. The desserts where interesting and the serves were generous. I didn't try the savoury menu, but my decision to stay away from it seems justified after belatedly reading reviews online. Come here for the desserts, not the food.

Monga Sweet Cafe
Level 1, 217 Russell Street, Melbourne
Mon-Sun 1130am-Late

Monga Sweet Cafe on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

  1. OMG! Haha thanks for the education on Hashima! Why would anyone want to order that?! Maybe those kids that are experiencing late puberty? LOL :)

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    1. I know right! I suppose it's something different to try? Like I said, a mouthful was definitely enough for me :P

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  2. I've noticed heaps of Asian dessert places opening as well - must be the new trend - maybe we have moved on from Mexican to Asian dessert in Melbourne!

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    1. Perhaps we can indulge in Mexican dinners, and then move on to Asian desserts. I have a feeling those two won't do too well together. I won't know unless I try it though :D

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  3. I still haven't been here! Those durian fritters are something that my parents would order - I'm not a fan of the fruit myself but they (the fritters) do look awfully good. And hey, I'd try hashima once :)

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    1. You should go with your parents then so they can order the durian fritters, and then have the hashima. It's strangely good now I think about it, it's just the concept that's odd. I'm Chinese though, so really, I shouldn't have an issue :P

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