Eat wisely and well

Private Property South Africa
Kit Heathcock

Ramen and poké bowls are on trend at buzzing new Sea Point eatery, Three Wise Monkeys.

Food entrepreneur Ash Mair fell in love with the idea of a ramen bar several years ago when he visited Amsterdam. Back in Cape Town he left his day job and started growing chillies for a range of artisan chilli sauces, Bönder. The ramen bar idea stayed on the back burner until he met restaurateur, Seelan Sundoo, who showcased the chilli product range at his V&A Waterfront restaurant. Seelan has now partnered with Ash on this new venture. So the stretch of Regent Road in Sea Point that is home to Sundoo, La Mouette and My Sugar has another trendy eatery, which opened in August and is already busy every night.

Three Wise Monkeys is small but comfortable, the no-bookings policy means that locals arrive early to secure a table, and the fast service allows for several sittings each evening. With head chef Mikey Nathan at the helm, it offers a short menu of ramen and poké bowls that are inexpensive, filling and healthy – perfect for one-dish comfort eating after work or at the start of a night out. With no liquor licence yet, it’s bring your own, making it even more affordable.

“It’s all fresh ingredients, all clean, I don’t use MSG or preservatives, and there’s no pork,” says Ash. With Jesse Gillis, his right-hand man at Bönder, he already grows some vegetables and plans to become as self-sustainable as he can using natural farming methods. “I have a big passion for food and a bigger passion to create some value and invest in people and goodness. So Three Wise Monkeys is a stepping stone to something greater.”

Ramen and poké bowls, healthy eating food available at the Three Wise Monkey restaurantRamen and poké bowls available at the Three Wise Monkey restaurant

For now there is a choice of three ramen bowls: chicken, beef short rib and vegetarian. We shared a generously sized chicken bowl, slurping noodles, fishing out succulent chicken shreds, miso yaki corn and crunchy mushroom pickles with chopsticks, and supping the delicate umami broth. The freshness of the poké bowl is a zesty contrast, essentially deconstructed sushi: sticky rice topped with a rainbow salad of tuna slices, edamame, spring onion, avo and pickled cabbage with a lightly spicy chilli mayo, and there’s a hot version for chilli addicts.

Taste for yourself:

Three Wise Monkeys | 021 433 1837 |

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

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