Mon is a cosy Japanese cafe in Newcastle Street just off the main strip. It always seems busy and we decided to give Mon a try.
The first thing we noticed was that the staff were not particularly welcoming or attentive, probably because they were busy, rushing back and forth between the kitchen constantly. The menu looked good though and there were plenty of specials like chicken and prawn gyoza, mackerel don with ginger and soy flavoured rice, tuna karaage, triple chicken don. It all sounded really good and authentic.
We chose the gyoza to share, I chose the mackerel special and my partner chose the chicken katsu curry. We also opted for some miso soup. After waiting for quite a while, it became clear that all of the food would be arriving as it was cooked. Usually the wait staff ask if you want some of it as a first course, but this didn’t seem to be an option.
Our miso came first, mine was okay, a nice flavour but tasted a bit grainy and had a lot of residue at the bottom of the bowl.
My partner then received his chicken katsu curry, which he quite enjoyed. He did say that it wasn’t amazing, but an okay katsu.
There was a bit of a wait before my mackerel dish arrived and it came up with the gyoza.
The gyoza were nice and succulent with a good dipping sauce. The bowl was a bit small to dip them, but they were good gyoza and we enjoyed them.
The mackerel was little different. When it arrived the waitress said to be careful because the claypot was very hot. It was. It was searingly hot, and a bit unstable on the wooden base, so it kept shifting and despite my best efforts, I did keep burning my hands on the bowl almost every time I dipped the spoon in. The other aspect of the extremely hot dish was that it made the rice incredibly dry and a lot of the rice stuck to the pot. The mackerel was good and succulent, but not very ‘saucy’, so it really was a fairly dry dish, and with the constant awkwardness of trying not to burn my hands, it wasn’t easy to eat.
So will I try Mon again – probably not. It was authentic, but not outstanding food, the service was lacklustre, and my dish was the stuff that health and safety nightmares are made of. I dread to think what might have happened if it was served to a child or somebody with poor coordination. There’s a lot of competition in Leederville and if Mon continue with that level of service, they won’t last.