Monkey Tree Restaurant and Bar, 106 Long Rd, Mt Tamborine Qld
The Gallery Walk in Mt Tamborine in a sad site by night, for the day trippers who line it during the hours of light have all disappeared and the absence of street lighting gives the strip a sombre, if not dangerous air. But if you can find your way safely into this restaurant without crashing into too many things your endeavour will be well rewarded, for among the items on its menu is an unusual gado gado. Forget about rice, potatoes and boiled eggs, for here the dish takes the form of a series of layers, the topmost among them a nicely dressed mixture of raw cashews, coriander, basil, sprouts, grated carrot, snow peas and thin slices of red chili. Below lies a stratum of cauliflower, green beans, zucchini, broccoli and aubergine, barely warm and with the exception of the last lightly cooked so as to be satisfyingly crunchy, while at the bottom lurk pieces of cubed tofu in peanut sauce. Served in bowls the depth of which conceals the volume of food, the dish is a wonderful contrast in tastes, textures, and colours.
A bowl of this gado gado would make a good meal in itself, but the menu suggested interesting deserts. The vegan chocolate mousse that comes with coconut ice cream and strawberries is the sweetest thing I’ve eaten in quite a while, but after the savoury main course it worked. Also on the table was a bowl of Eton Mess, a concoction of strawberries, meringue, cream and three scoops of ice cream that would have defeated the appetite of Billy Bunter, but was well received. The Monkey Tree offers an interesting wine list, weighted towards Europe. Perhaps this is a pity, as there is a seriously good local winery, Witches Falls, just down the road. But in the wilderness of Gallery Walk on a dark night, it shines.