17/309 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 0899
Causeway Lane, Melbourne. Definitely not the coolest section in the CBD if the rows of tacky cafes are anything to go by (with the exception of Laurent, perhaps), yet it features arguably one of the better-value sushi cafes in the city: Sushi Monger.
Apparently this place is so popular that a queue forms out the door before its opening time of 12pm. It’s a cozy cafe, with staff who are never seen without a smile. Heck, this place would melt even the the hardest of hard arses such as Obadiah Stane. Here, punters come in for sushi hand rolls to take away (the tofu hand rolls are $1.80 while most of the prawn/raw fish ones peak at $2.50) or sit inside the minuscule cafe for a hot donburi of some sort. What most people come here for, however, are the cheap sushi rolls + miso soup lunch specials: $5 gets you two sushi rolls plus a bowl of miso soup, while $6.80 will get you three rolls and a soup. Pretty good value, particularly if you go for the $2.50 rolls.
I rocked up at 2:30pm which meant that some of the more popular sushi rolls such as the spicy tuna were all gone. Instead, I opted for the salmon and avocado, the ebi (prawn) tempura and the beef teriyaki rolls which arrived with a steaming, hot bowl of miso soup on my table almost immediately.
I was surprised to find that the miso soup had no tofu cubes nor seaweed in it, yet it had a lovely gritty texture which I liked. Plus, it wasn’t overly salty either. The sushi rolls themselves, cut up into four pieces, were definitely better than the ones served by most sushi outlets in the city. They were very similar to that of Sushi Ten on Flinders Lane, but with a lovelier and creamier mayonnaise (a +1 for me). I loved that the prawn tempura was not overly oily and still retained its crunch while the salmon chunks were deliciously supple and fresh. Not so good were the beef teriyaki pieces which were way too dry and too sweet for me though.
I will definitely come back again if I happen to be in the Bourke St area for lunch on a weekday to give some of the other sushi rolls a go. Or perhaps tuck into a bowl of don buri (similar offerings to Don Don’s but slightly more expensive). Oh, I should also add here that even though it may look like I didn’t eat much, I definitely full. Like, really full.