When Ilia Cladakis came across the little Post War Terrace in Darlinghurst, he knew that this was the perfect place to bring his childhood dream alive. Enlisting the help of long time mentor Yong Ong and best mate Alex Giuttari, they set about transforming the space into Monkey Magic- an Asian Street food and drink themed venue, drawing inspiration from the hit 1970’s TV Show of the same name.
The venue itself paints a quirky picture; natural brick walls, marble floors and ornate timber windows which pay homage to the venues previous incarnations of its past lives as bars, restaurants and cabaret houses dating back to the early 1960’s. This all in sharp contrast to the blues, blacks and red’s of the Shanghai Tang fashion movement which the current owners have drawn their design on.
Punctuated with comfy lounges, loud chairs and low sitting tables, the front room- titled Mr. Ong’s Room- draws inspiration from the Co-Owner and Head Chef- Yong Ong’s time running and owning Chinese fusion restaurants in China. The small bar at the front has a wonderful collection of wines and local craft beers and even has it’s own Monkey Magic Lager. A brainchild of the three boys.
A pastiche of new meets old, East meets West.
Walk down the long corridor of black walls and more marble flooring, you are summoned by the Asian flavours wafting out of the kitchen. Here Yong is slaving away, serving up an eclectic and ever changing menu. Revolving around staples of food that he calls Chinese street food- think Chinese chicken satay, crispy steamed dumplings and his signature Monkey Magic Fries- Crispy French fries covered in lashing of Yong’s homemade satay sauce, crispy shallots and super-hot danger sauce (only if you dare!). Other specialities include BBQ Pork Buns, Asian Fried Prawns and Salt and Pepper Squid. The majority of which caters to both Gluten intolerances and vegans.
Walk past this and you have entered The Chairmen’s Room. Think Golds and blacks, opaque mirrors and a wonderful bar, serving up a collection of Asian Inspired Cocktails. Its here you will most likely find Alex and Ilia, sipping on their signature Magic Margarita.
Grab a seat, sit along the bar and grab yourself a cocktail, order some food or jump onto the dancefloor, where the DJ’s are playing Disco, House, Hip Hop and RnB.
All in all this place is the perfect place for after-work drinks, (even hospitality and shift staff as the venue trades till 3am with food available the whole time), dates, catch up with friends, or just somewhere to grab a tasty snack late at night.