Monochrome Fusion Bistro: the black and white of things

I do not mince my words, and having just put my food evangelist thinking cap on, please pardon me for any feelings trampled on along the way. Believe me, I do not mean it. And even so, we live, we learn and we grow. 

Newly opened in February, the Chinatown Precinct sees the looming presence of a casual bistro touting its hold on providing an alternative dining experience, its main aim, to attract the inquisitive taste buds with a penchant for creative design as well as good food.

Unfortunately my visit to the establishment proved to be majorly disappointing. On the design front, I loved every inch of detail within the compound, the white washed walls with whimsical table cloths hanging on knobs, decorative shelves with a bunch of eccentric publications greets the wandering eye as you trod through the narrow corridors leading to the bathroom. The intersperse of striped blocks and circles of black and white imprinted boldly on the walls, tending to the fastidious pastry chef-y side of me. Service staff were young and upbeat, sporting mischievous smiles all around. I basked in the therapeutic ambiance of this design studio vibe restaurant, with the air-conditioning on high in stark comparison to the blinding heat outside. 

Life was good.

That was till the torrents of food started flooding our tables.

For starters, the Soup of the Day ($7) happened to be mushroom soup, this was a respectable rendition of the classic. Just a little more seasoning would have given it a bit of edge.

Food generally got churned out at lightning speed, as if to the convenience of the kitchen in contrary to the customer; I had no complaints though, however, I would have preferred a little bit more attention to detail instead. The Monochrome Aglio Olio ($18.80) arrived in fashion at the table, it's relevance to the color theme clearly evident. However, the dish was lacklustre in flavor, the grilled prawns sporting hideous 'poop chutes' that looked distasteful especially under the harsh lighting. 

The sides pushed back at my interior polar vortex a little. The Thai Coated House Wings ($9.80), golden and blanketed by a sticky red glaze are perfect finger food to compliment the array of alcoholic beverages on offer. So should you be thinking of a casual night out with colleagues after work, I would implore you to stick with the wings. 

Under the recommendations of the manager, we were steered towards the Monochome series of Meatballs. A ballsy move that reaped no rewards. The Monochrome B&W Chorizo Meatballs ($9.80) had a queer grayish tinge on the insides (mushrooms maybe?), the thick blackened crust of black and white sesame seeds not doing the tough and dry meat any favours. Similar flaws were revealed in the Bread Crumbed Chicken Meatballs ($9.80), the panko crumb lacked any seasoning of sorts, and the result was a chalky combination which I embarrassingly pushed to the side of my plate after my initial bite.

At this point, with diminishing hope, I prayed that the mains would fare better. The Monochrome Squid Ink Risotto ($24) was yet again another offering that scored full marks on visual basis. The scallops were excellent but I can't say the same about the risotto. Since, my knowledge in this field is somewhat limited, I shall retain silence on the matter.

The Pan Seared Barramundi ($22.80) and Oven Roasted Chicken ($21.80) feeds the illusion. They settle themselves snugly in the grey zone of the taste spectrum, bordering on excellent with the accompanying mashed potatoes, and meandering on passable with the heavy hand of black pepper that left a scorching impression on the tongue. Those who are not familiar with the texture of barramundi will gripe about this fish not being flaky enough, but its unique firm texture, cooked to perfection was a real stamp of technical assurance from the chef. 

The Monochrome Seafood Platter ($25) is truly a belly buster dish. But in relevance to the other fried items that we sampled, I suspect fryer issues and the ability to control the heat have conjured up underwhelming results. The various shades of brown and black, a tell tale sign of consistency issues. Avoid this dish, unless you enjoy biting into a helmet hide of batter encasing a meager piece of shrimp.

For desserts, sink your teeth into the Sticky Date pudding w ice cream ($9). Until Monochrome Bistro gets the rest of its lineup in shape, this dessert is your best hope.

Monochrome Bistro
291 South Bridge Road 
t: 6221 1798

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thurs: 11am - 10pm
Fri- Sat: 10am - 12am
Sun: 10am - 5pm


Cheryl said...

Hi Sihan, you have an amazing Instagram feed and I love the lighting and amazing colour balance of your photos! May I ask what camera are you using and do you usually add in filters/edit to achieve the final product? Thanks so much!

SiHaN said...

Hi Cheryl,

thanks so much for your kind comments. With regards to your queries, my current setup is a canon 5dmkII with a 28/1.8 lens. I usually use VSCO CAM to get my shots the way i want them to with filters and minor adjustments to color and brightness. Glad that you appreciate the photos!