Level 1, 217 Russell Street, Melbourne
Phone: 9654 4885
I came upon this place by accident. I’d just finished dinner with Mr J at Meshiya, and was craving a little dessert. I thought we’d head over to Dessert House, because I was in the mood for some sago loving. Then as we walked along Russell Street, I almost walked into a sandwich-board sign. It doesn’t get more literal than that, right? We took a look at the menu at the door, I giggled a bit about the name of the place, and we headed upstairs.
From the huge bouquets of flowers, you can tell the place had just opened. Walking in, I was impressed with the place – it’s partitioned off into little spaces, but only by frames, not screens, so it still feels quite bright and airy.
From what I can gather, Monga Sweet Cafe is a new branch of two other Mongas, in Box Hill and Glen Waverley. Geographically speaking, a pretty good pedigree for what is basically a Hong Kong style cafe. They serve some light cafe fare, like toasted sandwiches, but the main focus of the place is the array of Hong Kong style dessert. I had high hopes that I’d found a local version of Hui Lau Shan – one of my Hong Kong meccas.
I ordered the mango sago with mango and pomelo. To be frank, it was disappointing. But then, Hui Lau Shan standards are pretty high, and it was the start of Autumn, so good fresh mango is hard to come by in Australia, unlike Hong Kong, where close proximity to tropical countries pretty much ensures a year-round supply of quality mangoes. And well, I think I’ve only seen pomelos once in Melbourne, so it’s not that surprising that was a little lacklustre too. But the main problem was actually that the whole thing was just too sweet.
Mr J had the sago with coconut and mango. I think he was similarly underwhelmed.
I’m curious to see how their toasted sandwiches are. I’m hoping in true Hong Kong style, the bread is thinly sliced and white, and the ham is bordering spam-like processed-ness. It’s a nice spot to hang out, so hopefully there are some redeeming items on the menu.