Monkey Magic

If Sydney’s Japanese restaurants’ menus could be lined up in a row, we might be excused for thinking it is a case of the usual suspects. Salmon avocado rolls, crispy fried soft-shell crab rolls, beef teriyaki.. sigh. But a New York style Japanese fusion restaurant, Monkey Magic, is setting a new agenda. Suzuki jewfish with dashi and lemongrass consomme (below), a salted caramel semifreddo with pineapple chip … New head chef Shea Crawford (above, right) has joined the restaurant having worked at New York’s acclaimed Nice Matin and Oceana Restaurant, where he worked under the tutelage of Andy D’Amico.

Now as head chef at Monkey Magic, Shea has collaborated with Tsuboi and head sushi chef Michiaki Miyazaki to create a new menu flush with European influenced Japanese fusion fare. The so-named Crab Leaves is crab meat bedded on a betel leaf with a touch of ginger, chilli and lime, not a bad thing to go with a tall lemongrass julep (above), a gin and lemongrass cocktail. The slow cooked pork belly is braised and served with apple and ginger puree, salad of fennel, chinese cabbage, orange and chives ($27).

The usual suspects are still here, but the soft shell crab roll ($15) comes with flyingfish roe, tomato, mizuna, fried leek and spicy mayonnaise. And then it can be followed by the wonderfully unusual silken tofu cake (above), with white lemon sorbet and tuille ($13) or the sugar cinnamon beignet, which comes with a chai latte and sweet cream ($13).

Monkey Magic: 3&4, 410 Crown St. Surry Hills (02) 93584444

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