Monks, a cheerful addition to Kelapa Gading, adds a splash of vibrancy to a region loaded with family-owned eateries. While most establishments in the area greet you with their mandatory Fortune Cat and plastic red chairs, Monks welcomes its patrons with a huge, neon version of the Fortune Cat adorning the wall, comfortable rattan chairs and a striking Mirage espresso machine at the coffee bar. Here’s a look that is a rarity in Kelapa Gading.
Designed by Eko Priharseno, a noted interior designer, Monks with its homey interior and witty details somewhat resembles a student lounge that sprawls across three floors. There’s the swing chair, a favourite among the ladies who are keen to take photos at this spot, and communal tables that often yield to a group of youth, perhaps working on schoolwork, equipped only with coffee and a few treats that accompany them for hours. This laid-back atmosphere typical of a student lounge represents Monks’ one-of-a-kind character, as it immediately brings a sense of familiarity that is evocative of one’s carefree college years.
Of course, there’s no denying that the food is also part of the reason why visitors hanker to go back to Monks. At its core, Monks refers to itself as a coffee establishment, however its menu speaks otherwise: a combination of Japanese and Western favourites, ranging from classic breakfast options to hefty main courses.
As a starter, the Monks Salad is a plate of mixed greens with crunchy gyoza skin and salmon, scattered with sesame seed and orange that teases the palate. Next, although falling into the category of light nibbles, the Gyo-Cos (a hybrid of gyoza and taco) doesn’t skimp on the amount of pork that is rolled within grilled gyoza skin, as opposed to tortilla. And unlike most coffee joints, Monks is also dinner ready, with plenty of hearty options that gravitate towards donburi (Japanese rice bowl), ramen as well as grilled and roasted dishes.
All in all, as a fledgling, Monks is not afraid to boast its youthful personality among the more established F&B premises in Kelapa Gading. With its distinctive nonchalance, Monks makes a pleasurable offset against the oft-traditionally staunch eateries that dotted the neighbourhood.