MELBOURNE | When Mono XO opened in 2019, it was a different proposition than it is today. It was loud, there was neon, and the focus was on highballs and Japanese style skewers.
These days, the space is a lot more chill, and the food and drink menu of chef and co-owner Sam Stafford has evolved. It’s still a broadly Japanese influenced menu, but there’s more diversity. The same goes for the drinks – there’s still highballs, but they’re joined by other cocktails and some delicious biodynamic wines.
The skewer option when I visited, Kurobuta pork jowl with a sweet and sour ume sauce, was my highlight of the night. All of the textures and flavours, bang on. A close second was the tuna tartare with kohlrabi, and ginger shallot relish.
Other dishes I enjoyed were Sydney rock oysters with aged rice wine emulsion, raw kingfish with pomelo ponzu, and yuzu koshu cream, curried spanner crab and darphin potato, asparagus with brown butter soy and chicken skin, fragrant fried eggplant with green goddess. All great.
Highly recommended and also FYI, if you’re at nearby wine bar Glou, you can order and pay for a limited version of the Mono XO menu at the bar.
Rear, 191A Smith Street (Enter via Charles Street)
Tue – Sat: 4:00pm to 11:00pm