Residents in the north part of Hangzhou are getting luckier with the addition of Mona Vale, an Aussie style café serving all day brunch, weekend roasts, expertly brewed coffees, burgers, sandwiches, salads and pastas.
Mona Vale began as a meal delivery service started by Louis and Luke to provide a healthy and tasty diet to customers. After 3 years, their meal service has become very popular with 30,000 members and the pair decided to open a bricks and mortar restaurant. Brought in to lead the kitchen and expand their menu is the former head-chef of Shanghai’s Green and Safe, an organic grocery and deli café.
As Luke is a native of Mona Vale, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, the partners wanted to re-create a part of that dining culture here with a laid back, casual restaurant that has delicious, healthy food, made simply with organic ingredients. And thus Mona Vale restaurant was born.
Starting from Friday night through Saturday and Sunday, the roast menu of French-Style Roasted Chicken (98RMB), New York BBQ Pork Ribs (98RMB) and Australian Roast Beef (128RMB) is available. We really enjoyed the roasted chicken, it was much fatter and meatier than what we normally see in China and the skin was roasted to a lovely crisp. All roasts are accompanied by roasted vegetables with a small amount of new potatoes, making for a low-carb meal. To make your weekend even more special, there’s happy hour from 2-5pm for buy-1 get-1-free on all beers and wines. Check out the ad below for more weekend deals.
The all-day brunch menu is offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Of course the Classic Australian Breakfast (58RMB) is a solid choice - a huge plate of bacon, sausage, freshly baked bread and organic eggs from Japan which you’ll notice for their bright orange-coloured yolks. These eggs were raised in the strictest Japanese standards so they’re completely safe to eat runny and you can dig in without fear.
There are 3 types of eggs benedicts, ranging in price from 65-68RMB. I first gravitated to the Avocado & Salmon Benedict (68RMB) but since we often have that combination we instead chose the Mushroom & Bacon Benedict (65RMB) with finely sliced and sautéed mushrooms over a thick slice of bacon. This was a more savoury benedict and was a nice change. Aside from their weekend roasts and brunch items, Mona Vale’s regular menu features some excellent burgers, sandwiches, pastas and salads.
The Beef Burger (48RMB) is one of the best we’ve had in recent memory, well-constructed with layers of pickles, sautéed mushrooms and crispy lettuce. There are both fresh sliced tomatoes and oven-roasted tomatoes that pack a wonderfully concentrated sweetness. The beef patty is juicy and flavourful, resembling a slice of meat-loaf. All this goodness is held together in a sturdy bun, slathered with their house special sauce.
Pulled Pork Bagel (39RMB) was also a treat highlighted by the pile of tart, sweet and creamy coleslaw over the tender, pulled pork.
Wild Mushroom and Carrot Salad (35RMB) will delight vegans, vegetarians and health-conscious eaters alike. Mushrooms and edamame beans are tossed in a light vinegary dressing, then mixed with sweet, roasted carrots over a bed of quinoa and barley. The vibrant mix of colours is a feast for the eyes while the nutritious ingredients energize the body.
For drinks, be sure to try Mona Vale’s hand poured coffees and espresso drinks made on their La Marzocco machine, such as the Dirty Coffee (25RMB), a creation with espresso, milk and cocoa powder.
Besides coffee drinks, there’s also Red Tea Latte (28RMB), Matcha Latte (28RMB), fresh juices (18RMB for a kids cup), wine (42RMB) and beer (25-40RMB).
Reviewed at June 21st
Mona Vale is one of our favourite restaurants to open this year and we know it’s been popular with our readers too. The combination of fresh, wholesome food in delicious recipes plus reasonable prices has won them many repeat customers. We returned this week to try a few new dishes plus a couple that we didn’t get to eat last time – soft shell crab bagel, club sandwich, Mona Vale brekkie, Thai beef salad and smoked salmon salad.
The Soft Shell Crab Bagel (58RMB) is a new item on the menu and we’re pretty excited about it. A whole soft-shell crab is breaded and deep-fried then dressed in a Thai style lemongrass chili sauce and placed on a soft, chewy bagel with thinly sliced green apples. The lemongrass is very fragrant and makes you instantly think of Thailand. The crab is meaty with a crisp coating and the green apples add a fresh, sweet crunch. We are amazed that you can get such a great sandwich at this price.
For their Club Sandwich (46RMB), Mona Vale took a classic sandwich and jazzed it up with avocado and pickled beets. At first we were skeptical about the beets but they also had gotten a special treatment and were pickled with a mix of spices. The thin slices of beets were layered throughout the club sandwich and they added so much taste! The combination of savoury bacon and chicken with the sweet, spiced beets and creamy avocado was just yummy.
We’ve had their very good eggs benedicts previously, so this time we tried the Mona Vale Brekkie (68RMB). It’s a good choice when you want a brunch type food but don’t want the calories of the hollandaise sauce. The default option comes with firm, grilled Halloumi Cheese but you can also choose to add bacon or chicken (10RMB extra each). The sour dough bread is spread with a tasty guacamole flavoured with lemon juice and onion.
Thai Beef Salad (46RMB) is another one with authentic Thai flavours. Slices of beef tossed in cilantro, mint and shallots then doused in a fish sauce dressing with chilies. Pungent, bold and fresh, it’s great for hot summer days.
Next was a Smoked Salmon Salad (46RMB) with shallot vinaigrette and crisp salad leaves. The ingredients are familiar but the salad dressing brings it to the next level with bright acidity from capers and herbs.
Some new drinks we had were the refreshing Passion Fruit Soda Water (35RMB), Raspberry Soda Water (35RMB) and a dessert coffee - Affogato (28RMB) – a shot of espresso with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Mona Vale’s sandwiches continue to impress. They are well constructed with thin slices of multiple ingredients to give you a taste explosion in one bite. Salads also shine with their flavorful dressings. If you haven’t been to Mona Vale yet, start planning a visit now.
Reviewed at December 6th
When I take on the heavy burden of going to restaurants and wining and dining on the company’s tab I try to limit myself to places relatively near where I live in the center of town; the exceptions are typically extremely new or expensive places I can brag about later to burnish my personal brand.
I didn’t shoulder this responsibility for that reason. Mona Vale isn’t expensive, it’s been around since sometime around the beginning of the year, and most of the people in the circles I travel have already been there. I’m the exception because it’s relatively far in the northwest relative to me, in the Matrix complex on the Yuhangtang Road and Fengtan Road intersection.
I took the opportunity to go to Mona Vale because everyone has been telling me how great their food is, particularly in regards to American, Australian, and British-style breakfast offerings. I’ve been meaning to go there forever, I’m just really lazy and I’m so glad someone had the gumption to pay me to taste a cross-section of their menu.
When I arrived, I desperately needed some coffee. Normally I take mine black and as bitter as possible, but I had a job to do. I sampled their Dirty Coffee 脏脏咖 (28RMB), a short coffee with a dollop of cream and a sprinkling of chocolate on top; it was just sweet enough to make it interesting, and a good way to start my day. I’d be washing the rest of the meal down with Iced Americanos all the same though (18RMB).
The first of the food items was the Dirty Beef Burger 脏脏牛肉汉堡 (48RMB), a really delicious hamburger with a blackened bun and some fantastically earthy and savory mushrooms. The handmade patty was particularly good, and it somewhat defies description, as it was loose but not crumbly in a way that I really enjoyed. The adjective that springs to mind is “rustic” but that still doesn’t do it justice. It’s definitely worth a try, particularly at that price.
Next was the Tuna Salad with Poached Egg 金枪鱼水波蛋 (65RMB) a really delicious salad with seared tuna, and a great introduction with how perfectly Mona Vale deals with eggs—creamy, thick but still liquid yolks—and it came with some deliciously crusty bread. For my money I get the strong impression that they’re eschewing the normal Chinese preference for soft and sweet bread and leaning hard into authenticity.
At the same time, they brought out the Smoked Salmon Beetroot Breakfast Plate 烟熏三文鱼粉红班尼蛋 (58RMB), a really fantastic dish, where they take some of that grainy bread, toast it, slather on an excellent sweet beetroot and cream cheese sauce—this is sweet and you’ll swear it’s made with raspberry preserves or something of that ilk—and use that to adhere strips of smoked salmon. Top that with some arugula and a poached egg and I think this was my favorite dish of the day. Everything sticks together because of the layering of sauces and ingredients, so you get these great mouthfuls of every ingredient at the same time.
They followed this with the Parma Ham Croissant 帕马香酥可颂早午餐 (58RMB), a warm and salty dish of buffalo cheese, shaved parma ham, and asparagus. This was excellent, and I’m appreciating China in general more and more for the fact that you can generally expect pastries of increasingly excellent quality. The croissant was light and flaky, gently toasted, with a salad on the side.
Finally, they brought out the last two items. The first was a dish from northern Africa called Shakshuka 北非炖蛋 (58RMB), a kind of tomato-based veggie and sausage casserole topped with a fried egg. It’s sweet and savory, and served with slices of toast made from that excellent bread which you can dip into the sauce or pile up with sausage and egg.
The other dish was their new French-Style Roast Chicken 法式小香鸡 (98RMB), which was a real turn-on for me, with crispy skin, an excellent lemon pepper dipping sauce, and an incredibly satisfying pile of roasted veggies on the side. This is a perfect complement for these cold winter months and is a great combination of comfort food with a little spice for the holidays.
I'm glad I finally took the plunge and indulged in Mona Vale, and I envy all my friends on the west side of town for their relative convenience in going there. If you have access to Line 2, it’s about a 15-minute walk from the Wenxin stop on Gudun Road. 100% worth the ride.
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