monsoon cafe in western tokyo
tired of japanese food already, we went in search of thai tonight. my dk eyewitness guide recommended a nice place in western tokyo that served royal thai cuisine which was supposed to be quite spicy. unfortunately, rice terrace was closed when we got there. i'm not sure if it has gone out of business or it was just shut today for some reason. we wandered around the neighbourhood which seemed a bit touristy (given the several "italian" and "english pub" restaurants) and finally settled on a casual place called monsoon cafe.
the decor at monsoon cafe felt very indonesian. there was a lot of dark wood and animal carvings. i got a somewhat tropical feel from the jungle themed wallpaper in which elephants and monkeys happily co-existed! i ordered a mango mojito which was quite delicious though i was a little afraid of the quality of cocktails at this place.
my colleague ordered a few appetizers which we shared. the first was a green papaya salad which i enjoyed mucho because of the simple but super fresh ingredients. i'm a big sucker for the lime, cilantro, bean sprout and raw carrot combo with crumbled peanuts in a spicy dressing.
the other appetizer we ordered was an indonesian dish called gado gado. it was my first time eating gado gado and i totally loved it. assorted steamed vegetables (cauliflower, green beans, lady's finger, mushroom etc) are lightly blanched and placed in a medium sized bowl. peanut sauce, garlic and a poached egg are then poured over the vegetables to dress them up. whether you like gado gado or not depends entirely on the peanut sauce. monsoon cafe makes a really wicked peanut sauce from freshly ground roasted peanuts, chilli sauce and soy sauce.
main course was green curry with vegetables and brown rice. i was eating my curry and rice with chopsticks when my colleague pointed out that they never use chopsticks in thailand. i wonder if that is indeed true. geez, i feel like quite an idiot. i've been eating thai food with chopsticks ever since i discovered this cuisine in college and no one ever pointed this out until today!
dessert was tapioca in coconut milk with aduki beans. the sweet red bean paste is a bit of an acquired taste but it added some excitement to a potentially dull dessert.
overall, dinner at monsoon cafe was very satisfying. i highly recommend it if you find yourself in western tokyo and not particularly in the mood for japanese.