Just opened in September 2015, 4 Monks Cafe - 116A Bridge Road, Richmond is owned and run by Aakash and his partner Hena. One a consultant project manager and the other a web designer, they decided to throw the towel in on their full-time jobs to follow their passion and their dreams.
Looking for that niche in the market, they felt there weren't really many vegetarian/vegan only cafes and decided that was going to be their market. The plan like all business owners, is for their restaurant to eventually grow many branches.
Aakash having worked in the food industry for a couple of years and managing a cafe in the past, felt it was time to branch out on his own.
You'll find the usual beverages like coffee, hot chocolate, soft drinks and milkshakes, along with homemade muffins, the chocolate expresso being their own recipe.
They've also come up with what they call a cookie glass. It's basically a cookie recipe baked in the shape of a cup and lined on the inside with chocolate to seal it. Why you may ask; so that the cold coffee (can't put hot coffee in or it'll melt the chocolate and you'd have coffee seeping through) can be served in the cookie glass, and the idea is that you eat the cookie after.
The cafe itself is no frills and no fuss with bean bag seats on one side of small tables and a bench seat on the other. I didn't try the bean bag seat, but I would imagine one would not be at eye level to one's cafe companion sitting on the bench, and for some, not the easiest way to get in and out of the seat.
My friend and I ordered the Tofu Scramble Wrap, the Cheese Omelette, the Herb Crusted Tofu sandwich, a latte and the Cookie Glass.
I found the hot latte to be mediocre, and the cold coffee in the cookie glass turned out to be warm, melted the chocolate and seeped out through the cookie onto the plate. The coffee was also overly strong in taste.
The concept of having something different was good, but I'm not too sure the cookie glass worked in terms of it feeling fragile to hold with a coffee in it. The uneven rim was also not the best way to sip the coffee. On the plus side, the cookie itself was delicious.
My friend loved her cheese omelette, which was pretty basic with just cheese and eggs and we both found the tofu scramble wrap tasty and moist. The toasted sandwich on the other hand was a bit dry and nothing to write home about.
These young business owners are full of enthusiasm and the desire to please. They welcome honest opinions as they only want to keep on improving to make your experience a good one. They're in a good location in Richmond with potential to be a success, and every little feedback helps.
You'll find them on Facebook and they have a website, which they're still working on.