Monga Izakaya (Monga Sweet Lounge) in Glen Waverley serves primarily light meals or snacks. They offer a selection of grilled/skewers, sushi, deep fried options, raw and cooked seafood, noodles and rice dishes as well as Shabu Shabu (Hot Pot) and Bento boxes (Lunch only), and a Sake and Dessert menu to boot.
One thing of note here is their servings are probably disproportionate to their pricing as you might find elsewhere on Kingsway, similar to tapas I would think. Although their Bento boxes/Lunch menus items do look more value for money.
I ordered the Ochazuke with salmon, which is something I haven’t actually come across in many Japanese restaurants before. Ochazuke is basically a rice dish in which green tea, dashi and hot water is poured onto the cooked rice and mixed with several other ingredients. It’s almost like the Cambodian Porridge which is also cooked rice with a seasoned stock added to it. Monga’s Ochazuke comes out steaming hot, and I found it quite pleasant although a tad salty but at least it was seasoned well.
Even though, we didn’t get a chance to try their dessert menu, their Dinner menu isn’t too shabby. Price conscious folks may stay clear of Monga Izakaya but for those wanting some light meals with drinks on the side too, and dessert to top of the meal I think this is a good place to start.
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Ho Chak opened last year in Glen Waverley, where the Hakka Tea House restaurant was located. Ho Chak serves Malaysian cuisine and apparently have a seafood specialty. We have visited there a couple of times and more often than not, the food served is more than satisfying. It’s also not as crowded along Railway Parade as it is on Kingsway so that’s always a plus during peak lunch and dinner periods.
One of their interesting dishes is the Marmite Pork with Fried Egg on Rice (pictured above), I recall eating something very similar in Ipoh, Malaysian a couple years back and might I say that was a delicious mix of ingredients. The dish here isn’t quite the same but the slight saltiness of marmite added with the sweetness really does make for a wonderful treat. It’s not often you find these dishes that seem out of the ordinary that pleasantly charm you.
Their Vermicelli and Rice Noodle with Egg Sauce as it’s called on their menu (aka Seafood Char Hor Fun) is also another tasty dish. I believe when we last visited there, they used both the flat rice noodles and the vermicelli which is commonly used for Mee Hoon. It’s also quite rare that you see these two noodles mixed together in a Hor Fun dish in Melbourne. This, and Straits of Malacca do indeed have both noodles which is delightful.
Ho Chak’s Curry Laksa isn’t one of my favourites, unfortunately. I found the curry sauce to have too many spices added to it, it was way too overpowering. It was a bit off putting to be honest. I like my curry laksa’s to be more on the creamier side but not too creamy that it makes it hard to stomach the richness of the cream. The plus side is that it’s a very large serve, it can feed two people quite easily. Some people may like it, but I’m not too fond of this variation to be honest.
Their Curry Chicken on Rice is nearing towards small for its price, but the curry sauce here is actually quite pleasant. It has a aromatic spiciness to it, and the chicken was well cooked but I’m really not fond of fried chicken. A lot of the dishes that Ho Chak serves is mostly fried so it’s just a caution for those that are like me and don’t like deep fried meat all that much.
Their Fish Fillet Congee can serve a few people too, or one if you’re particularly famished. The congee was on the plain side, you do need some fresh chillies or soy sauce to add the saltiness and kick to the dish. I guess it’s a good thing for those that want to add enough flavour to their liking but if you’re paying for food, you kinda want it to have some taste.
Ho Chak impresses with its different dishes that departs from the norm, but also retains the common Malaysian cuisines to cater to the majority. I have slightly mixed feelings about Ho Chak, but overall I think it’s earned its place in Glen Waverley. They also have fried durian, for those wanting their durian fix. Ha!
25-27 Railway Parade North
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Straits of Malacca is a Malaysian eatery on the popular Kingsway, Glen Waverley. I know what you’re thinking. Another Malaysian restaurant? What’s slightly different about Straits of Malacca, if you couldn’t guess from its name is that it offers a variation of Malaysian cuisine from Malacca.
There are your standard affair Malaysian dishes like Char Kway Teoh or Curry Laksa but Straits of Malacca offers their own take on these dishes, but some dishes are what you may see in any other Malaysian restaurant.
I ordered the Nasi Pattaya with Thai Sauce Fish Fillet and Spring Rolls. If you’ve eaten Petaling Street’s Nasi Pattaya you’ll notice the similarities. Nasi Pattaya is Seafood Fried Rice wrapped in a paper thin egg crepe and topped off with sweet chilli sauce.
Compared with Petaling Street, I found it lacking in flavour. It just didn’t have enough seasoning in the Fried Rice, but I’d still say it’s a pleasant Nasi Pattaya. The real winner of this dish is the Thai Sauce Fish Fillet. If you have tasted Assam Laksa, you’ll instantly be reminded of this taste. It has that superb sweet, sour, salty and spicy combination found in Assam Laksa. The sauce works so well with the salad and fish fillet. My only negative is that the fish is deep fried. I can see why they deep fry dish as it will most likely last longer but I just dislike deep fried fish.
The little spring rolls that accompany this dish are quite unique as it isn’t your commonly found spring roll. They have this very light crispy outside and the usual ingredients inside. I’ve actually never had spring rolls like this before, and it was mostly good!
Their Kuala Lumpur style Hokkien Mee reminds me of how delicious my mother’s Hokkien Mee is. I found that the sauce was strong but not too overpowering. I’m not a big fan of fishcake as I find it very artificial, but it is a standard in Hokkien Mee’s I’ve tasted so I can’t really knock it. As you can see, the dish is quite shiny, this is the oil that makes the noodles so glossy.
Again, another pleasant dish from Straits of Malacca.
On their Menu they have a selection of “Fish Banquet’ dishes, I believe this was the Malacca Style Curry Fish with Rice. Again, Straits of Malacca opts for deep fried fish which probably most will like but I find it takes away from the natural fish taste.
The curry was interesting as it was a bit sweet and not spicy but I found it tasty nonetheless.
You can’t go to Malaysian restaurant and not try their Ice Cendol. I always look out to see if the Cendol (the green jelly) is fresh or not. More often than not, the Cendol is hard, indicating the jelly has been left in the fridge for a couple of days or so.
I liked the flavour from the Ice Cendol, the brown sugar syrup and coconut milk were in a perfect mix. Not too sweet, but could have dialled down the sugar just a tad. My only con is that it was served in a glass! I like my Ice Cendol in a bowl so I can share it around.
I know many have already decided whether or not they like Straits of Malacca but I really do like that it offers quite a different mix of dishes that you probably are unable to find elsewhere.
Some of their dishes are your standard affair but some dishes like their Nasi Pattaya are winners in my book. Straits of Malacca continues to be popular with locals as it constantly fills up during lunch time, and I do have to mention, they do have a number of tables. Basically they bought over the restaurant next to it months ago so its definitely one of the bigger restaurants on Kingsway.
I’ve seen they have also have stores in Prahran, Hawthorn and in the CBD but I’m unaware if the food quality is consistent among all locations.
Check them out if you’re interested!
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
T: 03 9561 3880
The Black Toro on Kingsway, Glen Waverley opened its doors in July 2012, replacing the Urban Burger before it. Their menu is Hispanic influenced and is one of the few higher priced eateries in the area but it’s fine dining and it has good reason to be, the quality of food served here will speak for itself.
Their interior is mostly dark, with black tables and chairs. Aesthetically, it’s pleasant with a huge Toro artwork on the walls providing a hint of Mexico to Melbourne and adding to that Spanish music playing in the background. It’s a nice touch that creates a different atmosphere.
My two companions and I were a bit overwhelmed with the menu at first, undecided on what to eat. There is a nice selection of starters/entres, mains and desserts, not too many options but enough to ponder on. We wanted to try the Lamb barbacoa as our main but to our slight disappointment we were told it’s unavailable for lunch due to the lamb needing to be slow cooked.
Instead of choosing a couple of dishes, we opted for the $45 Set Menu, helping us decided instead. The waitress mentioned these Set Menu’s are the Chef’s choice, but as we wanted the Sher Wagyu rump as our main, she mentioned that it could be our main if we wanted to.
To start us of we were served Guacamole with tortilla chips, as shown above, and marinated olives (Not pictured). It’s pretty much your standard tortilla corn chips, but the guacamole didn’t appear to have enough avocado flavour to it but was creamy and tasty nonetheless.
Our second dish was the Grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayonnaise and toasted masa. As suggested by the waiter, we squeezed the cut lime on top . The corn was nice and juicy, and the mayonnaise not too rich but complementing the corn well. The toasted masa, gave it a hint of saltiness to the corn and mayo. The mayonnaise was delicious as it had a nice spiciness kick to it. A wonderful start to our lunch.
We were then served each a piece of Potato and Chorizo croquette with manchengo foam. The croquette itself was nice and crunchy. The fried layer wasn’t too thick and the perfect ratio to the potato and chorizo inside. The foam was quite mild in taste, I couldn’t really describe the taste to be honest. It was slightly plain and a tad salty but it worked well with the crispiness of the croquette and potato and chorizo pieces inside. Overall, it’s very filling but very tasty.
Our next dish was something I’d probably have never ordered but was glad to try. Pickled baby beetroot, goats cheese, quinoa and caperberries, it was an interesting combination of flavours. There was this jelly like diced pieces in this dish that I don’t think is mentioned in the menu, but it’s plentiful so I’m unsure why it’s not included in the dishes name. I found this dish to be overly salty. I’m unsure what it was that made it so salty. I think it might have been the goats cheese but because of the saltiness of the dish it was a bit off putting. I’d say it’s an interesting dish, but I’d probably not order that again.
Pardon me for the awful picture above. We dug into this one too quickly before I remembered to take a snap. Oops. This was the Mezcal cured salmon, avocado puree, smashed coriander meringue. The cured salmon was salty but still had a very nice salmon flavour to it. The avocado puree was smooth and I believe it had a hint of citrus juice that made it slightly sour. The smashed coriander meringue was slightly salty too but had an interesting coriander flavour. Quite something different to what I’ve eaten, to be honest. There was caviar on the dish too that wasn’t mentioned on the menu. Overall, it’s a pleasant, more refreshing dish to the two rich dishes before it.
We had seen many patrons order the Wagyu beef sliders with onion, tomatillo relish & jack cheese before us. Before this we were full already from the croquettes but these little burgers were too appetising. The wagyu beef was so juicy, it was just delicious. Perfect. The cheese and tomato relish complemented the beef well, and really you couldn’t as for a better dish.
At this point, we were wondering when would the food stop! This dish was the last one before the main. We were served, Pulled pork taco, shredded cabbage & sour cream. I loved this dish because of the surprising spiciness to the sauce. The pork was well cooked and really you couldn’t fault it. A winner in my books.
Ah the main, the Sher Wagyu rump, chimichurri, parsley & shallot salad. It’s only one shared between the three of us so I’m uncertain how it may go for less or more people. The wagyu beef here was tender, still a bit tough due to the cut but that’s expected. I don’t know how it’s marinated but the juices from the beef were absolutely delicious and with the chimichurri sauce it was just perfect. With this you are served with a shallot salad (Unfortuntely, not pictured) but it reminds me of a coleslaw but without the rich mayonnaise. The bitterness of the salad worked well with the wagyu. A good match.
We were also served a side of Triple cooked potatoes, paprika salt, garlic aioli, and my golly were these chips good. Boiled, and then deep fried twice, I think slightly different to how Heston Blumenthal does it but works just the same to obtain crispy chips but not overcooked inside. The chips are so crunchy and crispy but inside the potato it was still nice and soft. Delightful. I could certainly do without the garlic aioli and paprika salt as if I didn’t have a couple of salty dishes beforehand, this would have been perfectly fine though. The aioli was creamy but not rich enough like a mayonnaise would be so it went well with the crispy chips.
Although we didn’t get the set menu with desserts, after seeing a couple of these desserts go out we thought let’s having something to finish our meal off. This was called Peanut butter cheesecake, honeycomb, chocolate sorbet, and as you can see the peanut butter cheesecake is slightly deconstructed. The crumbs of biscuit is what you’d normally find at the base of a cheesecake, and we have a quenelle of the peanut butter cheesecake. I have to say the cheesecake was so flavourful, and intense, delicious to boot. As you’d normally find in peanut butter, it’s a tad salty. My palette was overly salted but again, on its own, adequately salted. The chocolate biscuit crumb gave it that added texture to the dessert and was just as if you were eating a cheesecake.
The honeycomb was crunchy and sweet, but in the mouth it gets stuck to the teeth easily. I actually liked the chocolate sorbet, it had a beautiful chocolate flavour to it unlike most chocolate sorbet or ice-creams around where the chocolate is almost artificial in taste. The sorbet was so light, and melt in your mouth, I couldn’t have asked for something better. A fantastic dessert overall.
The Black Toro goes high above what you’d find in Glen Waverley in terms of service and food quality but of course for a price. Their menu encapsulates the Hispanic flavours but makes it their own. My one main complaint would be the over use of salt in their dishes. If you have an aversion for salt, their dishes may not be too your liking. Although if you only order a few dishes, the salt probably won’t be as noticeable.
The Black Toro’s dishes overall are delicious, there are a few I’d probably not order again but many of them I definitely would. I would like to point out even the water had lemon flavour to it which was a nice touch.
The service here was excellent, the two staff members made our dining experience much more pleasant and fuss free. I tip my digital hat to them.
At first I was a bit hesitant to try The Black Toro, it’s not normally in our price range. For a special occasion though, it’s perfectly reasonable. Full to the brim, a bit less in the pocket but immensely satisfying.
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Thursday – Sunday 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Seven Days 6:00pm to late
T: 03 9561 9696
Suddenly there are a multitude of Dessert Story stores across Victoria. I don’t know what sparked this craze but this Taiwanese Dessert franchise is everywhere. My first thoughts were DESSERTS YES! MORE PLEASE! However, I was hesitant to try it gawking at the prices of their desserts. Alas, it seems like it’s the trend here where desserts are almost as expensive as a main meal. So I might as well give up that fight. We tried the outlet in Glen Waverley were it sadly took over Claypot King, one of my favourite Malaysian eateries on Kingsway.
For some reason we tried two variations of red bean desserts. The red bean soup with palm seeds and coconut is quite interesting. I definitely enjoyed the palm seeds, well I like it in any dessert really. The red bean soup here really is a soup, as it’s quite runny. It still retains the red bean skin which gives it an added texture from the smooth and silky toppings of the coconut and palm seed. The flavour of the red bean soup was good, it wasn’t too sweet which is good in my books .
One thing I would prefer was if our hot dessert was actually hot! It came out luke warm, and to top it off, it was an extremely cold day where a steaming hot dessert was sorely needed. All in all, it was decent, the warm nature of the dessert certainly left a cold taste in my mouth though.
We also tried the Red Bean and Black Sesame dessert, which basically is just one side with red bean soup and the other side with black sesame soup. The soups here are thicker and more akin to those you’d find in Malaysia. The red bean soup was nice, still having the beans in there for taste, but again it was just warm, borderline reaching room temperature. I’m not sure what goes on in the kitchen but warming the dish up to a higher temperature certainly wasn’t on their minds. The red bean soup was pleasant, it had a very comforting flavour, bringing me back to the the tastes of Malaysian desserts.
Strangely enough though, the black sesame soup (almost paste like) was super hot. It was a very odd to taste both the red bean and black sesame together and get this mix of hot and cold. A bit off putting to be honest, luckily the black sesame soup was hot enough to make the red bean warm enough. What I loved about the black sesame soup, yes love, was that it was bitter like it should be. Not overloaded with sugar to butt heads with the bitterness, but enough sugar to complement the black sesame. A real joy to eat.
The range of desserts at Dessert Story is quite extensive. They have a wide variety of combinations of fruit and ice cold desserts. With a smaller, yet varied selection of hot desserts. Their execution on this desserts is what was lacking and that, unfortunately, played a huge part in the overall impressions. Had it been hot enough, I’d be in praise mode but with both dishes coming up almost cold, there is really no excuse for that.
Unfortunate mistakes? Yes, definitely. I just hope that it won’t happen again. Give it a go, I dare you. Haha, seriously though, it should be good for a nice treat all things considered.
Glen Waverley VIC 3150