In Southeast Asia, the monsoon season brings fond nostalgia and memories of watching the rain while slurping soup noodles or digging into a hearty comfort meal at a street-side hawker stall. It is an excuse to take a mid-day break while we wait for the rain to stop, rain that also brings bountiful harvests, flowing rivers and a sense of optimism. The monsoon crosses cultural and national borders; it binds the people of Southeast Asia together and brings life and vitality to the entire region.
Inspired by Authenticity
Located at ELEMENTS and dedicated to a modern expression of Southeast Asia’s best street-food dishes, the newly-opened Monsoon showcases the very best flavours, textures and traditions of this vibrant region with a menu laced with the culinary musings of award-winning Chef Will Meyrick.
Chef Will Meyrick is well-known for his devotion and creative take on Asian cuisine. His stellar career path has led him from London to Sydney and extensively through Southeast Asia, where he fell in love with the exotic spices, flavours and textures that make the indigenous cuisines of the region so intriguing. He’s now the driving force behind some of Bali’s most coveted restaurants, including flagship fine-dining restaurant Sarong; Mama San, a chic and popular eatery; Hujan Locale which offers regional Indonesian cuisine with a contemporary twist; and Billy Ho, a popular Izakaya-concept. Chef Meyrick’s passion for the culinary culture and rich heritage of Southeast Asia is what really drives his creativity and sets him apart as a chef and restaurateur.
Where Tradition Meets Modernity
Catering to 100 guests, Monsoon combines inventive and inspiring takes on classic Southeast Asian fare, which is served in exotic and vibrant interiors reminiscent of the colonial architecture still lovingly preserved across the region. Dressed in forest green and honey-hued wood, Monsoon is bathed in golden light from banks of suspended pendant lamps, accentuated with decorative rattan umbrellas set across the ceiling.
Comfortable banquette seating with rattan detailing is matched with forest green and vibrant floral textiles, with elegant vintage-esque floor tiles, captivating floral wall tiles and timber panels gracing the walls. The main dining room is complemented by a private dining room, which caters to eight diners, and an elegant bar area accentuated by touches of bronze and brass, where guests can sample from the restaurant’s tropical-led cocktail menu and extensive wine list.
The Flavours & Textures of the Monsoon Belt
These vibrant interiors serve as the perfect canvas on which the culinary team presents its modern take on traditional Southeast Asian fare. Examples of Meyrick’s authentic yet bold approach to Southeast Asian street food dishes at Monsoon include Cambodian steamed Salmon Amok, a blend of salmon, Thai basil, lemongrass, red curry, betel leaf, and silky coconut cream, dressed with nahm pla prik and served in banana leaf; a royal beef salad of brisket simmered in coconut, shredded bamboo, lemongrass and roasted chilli sauce; grilled king prawns marinated in garlic-soy and spices, and served with tangy seafood nahm jim sauce; and grilled Barramundi marinated with “jungle curry” and wrapped in banana leaf.
Monsoon also features a great selection of curries and slow-braised dishes, including tender and fragrant Massaman beef curry with potatoes and shallots; creamy chicken green curry, which boasts the perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavours; and succulent Indonesian Wagyu beef rendang, slow-braised beef short ribs in coconut milk with traditional spices.
Noodle and soup lovers shouldn’t miss the comforting seafood Tom Yum soup with prawns, squid, galangal, shallots, chilli, coriander and tamarind; Indonesian “Soto Rawon”, a slow-cooked beef short ribs with soft egg, potato, tomato, Asian celery, green shallots and fresh lime; and chicken with crispy noodles “Kho Soi” served with pickled mustard greens and chilli relish.
Diners with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss out on the decadent desserts, including Vietnamese creme caramel with coffee granita; “Kampung Snicker”, made with peanut butter parfait with butterscotch and chocolate-coated peanut; lemongrass panna cotta with cucumber lime jelly served with lemon and basil sorbet; and the classic black sticky rice with fresh mango, topped with coconut milk and mango ice cream.
Monsoon also offers an eclectic selection of tropical-inspired cocktails and mocktails. These include Monsoon, the perfect summer refresher, with vodka, fresh passion fruit juice, lemon, chilli, kaffir lime leaf, and topped with a fizzy cold beer; and Muse of Asia, with fresh lemon juice and blended Scotch whiskey.
Guests will love Monsoon’s range of vibrant and refreshing mocktails, include Lemon Berries Colada with grenadine, coconut milk, fresh lemonade and blueberries; and the earthy Orient Seas, with Indonesian apple infused black tea, fresh orange and apple juice.
The New Hospitality Norm
Embracing technology while also acknowledging the world situation, Chef Meyrick has set up Monsoon remotely, in what the chef predicts will become the new norm in hospitality. From his base in Perth, Meyrick has regularly liaised with the Monsoon culinary team, which is headed by his trusted head chef from Bali, Gede Budiana, via videoconferencing, and has created an archive of videos that detail the various preparations for each dish, to maintain quality and authenticity while ensuring Meyrick’s signature style is reflected in the new Hong Kong restaurant.
“This is going to be the new ‘normal’ for the restaurant business,” says Chef Meyrick. “We have to be willing to adopt new technology and be flexible when it’s just not practical to travel to Hong Kong to train the team in person. If anything, this is a return to the basics as we slow down the process, document all the recipes, and create an archive that the culinary team will always be able to refer to, to ensure consistency and authenticity.
The chefs’ new tech-driven approach will also benefit foodies around the world as Chef Meyrick prepares to launch Monsoon at Home, a series of insightful online cooking demonstrations that will be distributed via the restaurant’s social media channels, so that avid fans will be able to create their favourite Monsoon dishes at home.
Chef Gede Budiana has a rich career, much of it working at Chef Meyrick’s side. Budiana was part of the opening team at Sarong, which went on to be named in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Born and raised in Bali, Chef Gede Budiana went to culinary school for job security at the age of 18 but quickly discovered his passion for cooking and hospitality. He met Will Meyrick while working at a beach resort in Bali and was inspired by the young Australian to be creative with Southeast Asia cuisine. When Chef Meyrick decided to open his first restaurant, Budiana quit his hotel chef role to help Meyrick establish his restaurant empire.
Monsoon is located at Shop 1045,1/F ELEMENTS, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. For reservation, please visit www.monsoonoriental.com.hk or please call (852) 2511 0100.
Guests will be able to delight in the hearty Southeast Asian comfort food of Monsoon with the launch of the eatery’s wallet-friendly set-lunch menu. The lunch set is available from Monday to Friday from 11 am to 2:30 pm, and is priced from HK$148. Guests are able to add HK$18 per person to enjoy a free-flow option of Thai-style Chai Tea. All prices are subject to 10% service charge.
Highlights of the seasonal lunch menu include Penang short ribs beef curry with peanut and fresh basil with Jasmine rice and a Thai-style pomelo salad with chicken and Nam Yam sauce on the side; stir-fried minced chicken with chilli, long beans, baby corn, and basil, served with Jasmine rice, topped with a fried egg, green mango and carrot salad with Nahm Jihm dressing on the side, and paired with a bowl of chicken broth with daikon; and as a vegetarian option, stir-fried eggplant with green vegetable and yellow chilli bean sauce served with Jasmine rice and beetroot salad with cucumber.