food, Food News

A peek inside Three Wise Monkeys

Claire Gunn


Take two of the trendiest foods right now, put them on a menu, open the doors to your chicly designed Cape Town restaurant and it's likely you'll have a hit on your hands. At least that's the case at Three Wise Monkeys, an achingly hip ramen and izakaya eatery in buzzing Sea Point. You can thank young restaurateur Ash Mair, who got some help from Seelan Sundoo, the renowned restaurateur behind the equally cool Sundoo, for this Atlantic Seaboard gem. We took a closer look inside to bring you everything you need to know about this cool little spot...

Ash Muir at the bar

The menu is refreshingly simple

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It's not that there isn't a lot of choice - there's more than enough - but if you're looking for an extensive menu, you won't find it here. Three Wise Monkeys plays to its strengths with Ramen (denoted on the menu with this wise monkey ?), Kushiyaki (?), and Poke and Sushi Bowls (?) –we'll talk about the poke later.

With the ramen you've got three options, including chicken, beef shortrib and a veggie one – with optional egg included – but based on the image above, we're opting for the chicken.  Then there's the daily Kushiyaki, which is a Japanese skewered grill featuring meat and/or veg. The sushi options are great (platters come in 12 pieces, leaving you perfectly satiated) but it's the poke we're eying (even after a bowl of ramen!).

OK, about that poke

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Salmon! Edamame! Nori! Ginger! All on a bed of rice! This is deconstructed sushi at its finest. If you haven't heard of poke yet, let Ash teach you the way forward. These trendy bowls originate in Hawaii, the word means to 'cut' or 'slice' and it's pronounced (po-kay). The poke bowls here are fresh and delicious, with that tang of umami that we love about this food category.

The interiors are just as good looking as the food

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Just because it's a poke bar doesn't mean the interiors have to be poky too. It's small in here but airy and spacious, with exposed brick, cool blue seating, slate black touches and a minimalist bent. Of course we're all about the actual crockery too, which was designed by Mervyn Gers.

Why's it called Three Wise Monkeys anyway?

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Says Ash, 'We (Richard [Charlton], Seelan and I) wanted more than just a "name"; we wanted to have a theme, a story and create a place where everyone feels welcome and comfortable. I call our shop "dark and unassuming". Everyone knows the three wise monkeys (they're even in our emoticons on our phones), but if you look deeper into the origin of the fable you find out that they are the "three wise monkeys of Nippon"(Japan). The name that's relevant to our food choice (Japanese) and the sneaky connotation of the good values that the story portrays fit perfectly with what we are trying to achieve. Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.' 

There you have it...

Oh, we almost forgot about the s'mores...

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How... how could we forget about this decadently rich, chocolatey, marshmallowy dream of a dessert, a DIY sandwich that you'll never want to stop eating. There's no point in trying to describe the gooey deliciousness; rather get yourself to Three Wise Monkeys (on cheat day) to give it a try.

You can't make reservations

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The no-reservation policy is bang on trend so the general rule to follow here is: come early (it opens at 6pm) and come hungry!

Three Wise Monkeys, Shop 1, 77 Regent Road, Sea Point, 021-433-1837

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