Sydney is a city of many fine restaurants. But the most sought-after seat at the table on a Monday night isn’t at one of those – it’s at Angie Hong’s place.
“It all started with a hashtag, actually,” explains Dan Hong, son of Angie and Executive Chef at Mr Wong, El Loco and Ms. G’s in Sydney. “My family all ended up at Mum’s place on Monday nights, where she’d cook a Vietnamese feast. There would always be a special guest. Usually, it would be one of Mum’s friends, and usually they’d be from [Campos Coffee] because she goes there, like, every day.”
“But then I started wanting to invite some of my chef friends over. They would always post the dinner to Instagram using the hashtag #MondayHongDinners. It kind of snowballed, and people started talking about how it was the hardest invite to get in Sydney. People were like, ‘Ugh! It’s harder to get into than Noma!’” he says, referring to the now-closed Rene Redzepi pop-up.
Now, Dan and Angie Hong are bringing their Monday Night Dinner to Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. The one-off event will take place on Monday April 3, and includes more special guests than ever.
Some of the country’s finest hospitality families will be joining Dan and Angie to share their own family cooking traditions. Special guest chefs for the night include Adelaide’s Ayubi family (Parwana), Tasmania’s Alistair and Sally Wise (A Year in a Bottle, Slow Cooker), Matt Stone and Jo Barrett (Oakridge), Sydney’s Amy and Palisa Chanta (Chat Thai, Boon Cafe) and Melbourne’s own Kate and Cameron Reid, the brother-and-sister duo behind Lune Croissanterie.
While no-one would say no to one of the city’s best croissants, no matter the time of day, the pastry is not something you’d immediately associate with dinner. “The Reid family tradition is croissants with jam and cream,” says Kate. “On special occasions, that’s what we’d have. But since someone else is doing dessert [for Monday Night Dinner], we’ve decided to put up a canapé or entrée.
“Our head baker has been playing around with a new flavour: mortadella and pickled fennel with a green-olive tapenade, so we’re thinking that could work.”
Kate and Cameron cook together at Lune every day, and the sibling connection is palpable.
“He makes me a coffee every morning,” says Kate.
“Sometimes I’ll boil her an egg,” Cameron says.
“Sometimes he makes me my lunch.”
“Yeah, sometimes I’ll buy her lunch, and sometimes she’ll buy me my lunch,” they cackle, quipping back-and-forth.
It’s this kind of familial intimacy that contributed to the success of Angie’s Monday night dinners to begin with. And with so many families coming together for this one-off Melbourne version, guests will be given a rare opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a guest at the family dinner table of some of the country’s best chefs.
As for how the vibe of a home-cooked meal will be translated to a location that’s not a family home, Dan Hong assures us the food will more than make up for it.
“I mean, my Mum’s making the dressing,” he says. “That’s huge.”
Monday Night Dinner at Melbourne Food & Wine Festival will take place on Monday April 3 from 6.30pm to 10.30pm at The House of Food & Wine (361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne). Tickets cost $125 and include six dishes and six drinks. More info and bookings here.