Another double date with Chris and Andy led us to Street Monkeys, which specializes in Cambodian street food. This restaurant just opened this summer in Verdun and quickly gained popularity among Montrealers. We were excited to finally get a reservation! A visit to this restaurant is hardly reminiscent of street vendors, with its sophisticated window display of bottles over bottles of wine.
Our upbeat waiter greeted us with lots of positive energy. He explained the majority of dishes in detail. We ordered medium spicy papaya salads and the Mee Siam to begin.
Medium-hot was an understatement. This dish was so hot I could feel steam whistling out of my ears. While it was difficult to pin down the flavors because of the hotness level, I can say that the dressing was delicious. I think I’ll go for mild next time. Beer Guy said he enjoyed the medium, I guess he’s surpassed me in chili tolerance.
The Mee Siam is a must. Deep-fried vermicelli noodles are coated in a soy paste/chili oil sauce. It reminded me of bhel puri, one of my favourite indian snacks. Two thumbs up on this dish. The flavours are complex and unique and left us wanting more. I was so excited I forgot to take a picture.
Next, grilled calamari with a garlic, ginger, lime and fish juice dipping sauce. I would recommend skipping this one. The char on the squid was good and the pieces smelled like the charcoal fire but there was nothing extraordinary about the dish.
Finally, our fish dishes arrived. The Amok fish was well executed. The plating was beautiful. Morsels of breaded white fish were intertwined with a coconut curry sauce and strips of taro and red pepper. The only problem was that the portion was too small, even for two people.
We also sampled the other fish dish, pan fried trout on a tomato salsa. While cooked to perfection, it lacked the flavours and uniqueness of the other dishes.
Street Monkeys boasts a lengthy cocktail menu, however we decided that our street food experience wouldn’t be the same without beer. I had a Belgian Moon on tap. It cut well through the spiciness of the papaya salad. Beer Guy had an Infamous IPA on tap. It’s a light IPA with an understated aroma of caramel malt with earthy hops. There was a light citrus taste and mild bitter finish that did not overpower the dishes. He recommends pairing this beer with flavourful foods.
While I would recommend this restaurant because it offers some excellent dishes, I would suggest to stop in if you are in need of a snack, not a meal. Each dish is perfect for one person. Nevertheless, the service is friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere is welcoming.