When was the last time someone called you sexy? Can't remember? Yeah, me neither. But I can remember the last time I called someone sexy. Okay, it might not have been a living breathing person, more a restaurant, but, you know - potato, potato. Monmouth Kitchen is a fusion restaurant in the heart of Seven Dials, and here’s a beautiful love story of how I, a small town girl from Ireland, fell in love with its interiors and mini tacos.
Not to be dramatic or anything, but I was almost run over by a mini cooper on my way to Monmouth Kitchen. A very standard day in the life of Leighanne, yes, but for the love of fusion food, make sure you have your wits about you when crossing the roundabout to 20 Mercer Street. Why? Because 1) it definitely doesn’t look like a roundabout and 2) drivers around this area seem to be proper lunatics. With that out of the way, let me clear my airways to tell you all about my new, favourite restaurant. Admittedly, Monmouth Kitchen is a little on the narrow side, but large scale windows line the breath of the restaurant, resulting in not only a beautifully bright space (and a feeling that you’re outdoors), but picturesque views of Seven Dials. Talking interiors, it’s minimalist with its look; brandishing whitewashed walls, blackened exposed brickwork and pearl-coloured, marble-topped tables throughout. Sexy and stylish, it knows how to make a first impression.
According to research by Zizzi, millenials spend up to five days a year scrolling through and researching food images on Instagram. Bizzare? Perhaps, but Monmouth Kitchen are catering for such social media-minded audiences with their flawless lighting, bright backdrops and picture-perfect dishes. With a sharing concept at the heart of the Peruvian meets Italian menu, we opted for a mix match from both sides. Continuing with excellent first impressions, the first thing to arrive at our table were the tacos. Previously warned about the portion size, for what they lacked in size, they certainly made up in flavour. Costing £5 for a pair, we ordered two of the salmon with jalapeño sauce. The crispy tacos were heavenly, straddled with fresh fish, and drizzled in a fierce and fiery sauce. The burrata pugliese (£8) was the second dish to arrive to our table. Garnished with baby basil and San Marzano tomatoes, this blob of Italian cheese was wonderfully soft and creamy, cranking up to a solid 10 on the comfort scale. Hoovering everything in sight, our plates were soon cleared to make room for the wild mushroom and ricotta ravioli with sage butter (£7). But the next dish to wow our taste buds was the sea bass ceviche (£11). Silky discs of sea bass were hidden underneath a duvet of sweet corn, red onion and creamy avocado. Zesty and light, the punchy flavours are now scored on my taste buds. The spicy ‘nduja salami pizza with soft cream cheese (£9) could have done with more cheese, and the base was on the chewy side, but the calamari with ají panca mayo (£9) was spot on, enveloped in a crisp, golden batter.
Dessert? How could we not. Going against the waiter’s recommendation, I ordered the pera sensación (£6). Composed of white chocolate and vanilla mousse, pistachio sponge, honey ice cream and pear compota, there’s no way you could eat it and not reenact a Müllerlight advert. The chocolate caliente (£6) was a cuttingly sweet dessert, mimicking spring rolls, but instead of vegetables, they were stuffed with Peruvian chocolate, served with fresh passion fruit and coconut sorbet. The cocktails that helped us wash down the above were pretty great too. The Smokey Tommy’s (£9) was made with Ilegal mezcal, Tapatio Blanco tequila, Ancho Reyes chilli liqueur, smoked jalapeño agave syrup and lime. Served with a spiced salt rim, it was a great match to the food ordered. Keen for a classic, my company went for a Pisco Sour (£9). Made with BarSol Quebranta pisco, lime, egg white, sugar and bitters, it was smooth and sharp in all the right places.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Was it worth almost being run over to get to Monmouth Kitchen? Absolutely. Removing you from the everyday rat race with glossy interiors and calming tones, it’s the kind of place that would make the worst of days seem better (and that’s without even mentioning the food). From the flawless presentation to the bursts of flavour from both sides of the menu, it’s about time you went and created your own love story with this sexy spot.