The Poernomo brothers (Reynold, Ronald and Arnold) are branching out. After opening two of Sydney’s most anticipated and successful dessert bars – Koi and Koi Dessert Kitchen Ryde – they’re looking to break into the small bar scene with Monkey’s Corner. “We've talked about this idea since we opened Koi, then we got this offer right next to Koi and it was a good, small space,” says Arnold, who’s heading the new project.
Although right next to Koi and sharing the same outside space, Arnold says the new bar will operate independently. “We only have a small kitchen but [it] will be entirely different from the desserts [at Koi].”
No chefs have been announced yet (they’re still looking) but the brothers have already started planning a menu based on steaming, wok-frying and seafood. “I would say it’s broadly Asian. No mains, all small stuff.” All Arnold will tease at this stage is a sweetcorn dish with gochujang and butter, and a beef dish with aged soy sauce.
We’re told the bar will be cocktail-focused with a varied sake selection and a few Japanese beers. “We’re collaborating with Quynh [Van Nguyen], who’s currently at Fred’s on the cocktails. We’ll have eight; they’ll be simple, like the food. I want it to be fun but not childish,” says Arnold, referring to his distaste for gimmicky cocktails with elaborate garnishes. One idea they have set in stone is a boozy teh tarik (a Malaysian frothed milk tea). “We’ll be using a lot of Asian flavours.”
Loop Creative will do the design (it also did the brothers’ other two venues). Arnold describes the space, within a heritage Chippendale terrace, as clean, bright and dominated by natural materials; more cafe-like than the dark, moody settings of most Sydney cocktail bars. “It's really small, only 20 seats – 10 inside and 10 outside.”
Monkey’s Corner is slated to open in late August on Kensington Street, Chippendale.