My vote, hands down, is Sushi Monger! This lunch-only cafe is the best affordable find for lovers of fresh and delicious Japanese food.
Hidden in Causeway Lane, and only open for lunch on weekdays from 10.30am-3:30pm, Sushi Monger has a long line of patrons daily, but the service is fast. Be sure you know what you are going to order before you reach the counter. There are menus displayed on the windows, and a large version displayed on the interior wall.
There is plenty of choice on the menu – from hand rolls and sashimi to bento boxes, curries, donburi, and udon – so it's easy to keep returning and try a new item each time. Incredibly, the food is all prepared with ease and efficiency in this tiny space. The service is fast and friendly, and the food tasty, fresh, and great value for money.
I chose the salmon and tuna mix chirashizushi, This delicious and healthy bowl is a generous serve of sushi rice, topped with salmon and tuna sashimi, fried tofu, tamagoyaki, shitake mushrooms, and both leafy greens and wakame salads. I was satisfied with my choice, barely able to finish the serve.
Sushi Monger seats a mere 15 people. The tables are small and close together so you may be running shoulders with the person next to you! I was lucky to get a window seat, where along the tables are ginger, wasabi, soy that you can add to your liking. It's a bustling atmosphere, so you may prefer to order takeaway (as most people do) and eat your lunch in a nearby park. There are 4 two-seater tables outside, but you may have to stake these out early.
Sushi Monger gets my vote for the best Japanese takeaway in Melbourne given it's fast and friendly service, fresh and generous serves, and affordable price. The only thing I would change is to extend the opening hours to the weekends! PLEASE!
Do you know of any amazing Japanese restaurants in the CBD? Or do you have a favourite dish at Sushi Monger? Please share by leaving a comment.