Saturday, 11 October 2014

Breakfast Series - The Funky Monkey Cafe

Sometimes it feels as if there is a bit of a 'merry-go-round' of cafes and breakfast spots in the Brisbane inner city suburb of Paddington. There are some mainstay cafes that seem to be able to weather the storm, such as the Java Lounge (see post here) and Sassafrass (see post here), and stay around for generations.  Others though seem to just disappear overnight, Eurovida (see post here) and Cockadoodle Cafe (see post here).  While it's always sad to see a cafe shut up shop, it does provide an almost never ending supply of new cafes to check out.

The Funky Monkey is one of the newer cafes that has moved into a recycled business, right where a little chocolate cafe used to be.  Located right across the street from Paddington Central, the little cafe with the cool name occupies the style of Queenslander that dominates Latrobe Terrace, most of which used to be residences.  The Funky Monkey has a name that really appealed to me, who doesn't like a monkey, right?  And a funky monkey?  Well, that was always going to draw me in.

We had no trouble at all finding the Funky Monkey, it's pretty much front and centre in Paddington Central and we were early enough to be able to score a street park.  It was pretty quiet when we arrived and I was beginning to think that our strategy getting to cafes early was robbing us of much needed sleep in the mornings.  With the proliferation of cafes and restaurants across Brisbane, it had been a while since we'd come across a cafe where we'd had to wait, with Shouk being the last (see post here).  Perhaps we needed to be less concerned with not getting a seat for breakfast without a wait...

With practically every seat available, I dithered about looking for the right table to sit at, it seemed as if I was having a 'Sheldon Cooper' moment, but eventually we settled down at a table that had the right ambiance.  It was a beautiful morning, so I wanted to be out of the sun but still have that feeling of openness.  With a name like the Funky Monkey, I was expecting a little more of an eclectic feel but the closest we got was the brightly coloured tables in the cafe, each a different colour and each brighter than the last!  Our table was a bright green...

The Funky Monkey has an aim to nourish customers with honest, wholesome and healthy food, with a distinct paleo and gluten free feel, but also caters to vegetarians and vegans.  Sustainability and environmental responsibility are also really important to the team and where possible, free range and organic produce is used and they always attempt to use local farmers and producers.  This philosophy also translates to their use of fair trade coffee from Botanica.  

As we looked over the menu, it was clear that the Funky Monkey was aiming at a broad range of customers.  There was a good mix of contemporary and traditional breakfast items available but the most notable feature was the very reasonable prices.  While we were looking over the menu, it was drinks order time and while SC was able to get a Botanica latte, my preference of a smoothie was nowhere to be seen on the menu.  After being told that smoothies might make their way onto the menu in the summer months, I decided that I would settle for an iced chocolate, which came in an old style milk bottle and was more like a chocolate milk.  It was nice, but I was kind of expecting some ice cream or ice to be included.

We're not sure why this has not been done before (that we've seen) but the Funky Monkey has what is called a Baby Benny on the menu.  It's essentially one poached egg topped with homemade hollandaise on sourdough toast with the choice of ham, bacon or smoked salmon.  SC went with the baby benne with bacon and it turned out to be the perfect sized breakfast.  The eggs were nicely cooked with sweet yolk that was nice and runny and the bacon was on the money too.  The issue with the dish was the homemade hollandaise sauce, which was barely there and once the egg was cracked open, disappeared altogether.  We couldn't tell if it was good or not, there just wasn't enough!

Slipping back into a more traditional breakfast after my experiment with baked eggs for my last breakfast (see post here), I went for the scrambled eggs on toast with a few extras.  There wasn't any chorizo but I made do with some bacon, oven roasted tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms. The real standout on the dish was the supremely roasted tomatoes, which were just about as good as they get as well as the tasty bacon.  The mushrooms could have used just a little more seasoning to make the earthy flavour pop just a little bit more.  My scrambled eggs were probably over cooked and were more like a scrambled omelet, which was a shame because they actually tasted quite nice.

It was a quick breakfast with our food coming along shortly after ordering, which I guess was a reflection of how many people were there for breakfast, not a heap.  We found the staff on hand to be friendly and the service was nice.

As far as breakfasts go, the Funky Monkey was OK.  It wasn't the best breakfast around and it was by no means the worst.  Probably the best thing about our breakfast was the amazing value, we spent less than $35 dollars on breakfast, which is a pretty special feat in Brisbane these days.  We were able to reflect and came to the conclusion if you'd paid fifty dollars for the same breakfast, you would be bitterly disappointed but for thirty five bucks, it was a super breakfast, tasty and great value. 

In a suburb that has probably seen a few cafes come and go, you'd hope that the Funky Monkey can find its niche.  There is a formal Paleo Cafe just down the road and there are lots of other cafes nearby, but none are doing a breakfast that hits the same notes of reasonable quality at the same price point.  I really hope that the cool name and great prices will do the trick, it would be good to be looking back in ten years and saying, yeah, it was a classic.

Great coffee but my iced chocolate needed something icy in it - ice or ice cream!
The baby benne was a great idea, there just needed to be more hollandaise sauce and it needed to be a little thicker
My fry up was pretty decent, but the roasted tomatoes were the bomb
Old Queenslanders have lots of rooms so there are a few different dining areas in the Funky Monkey
Each of the tables was a different colour - with a few repeats
With a fun name, great location and a sustainable theme that is good value, I hope the Funky Monkey sticks around

Funky Monkey on Urbanspoon

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