15 February 2017

CAFE MONICO

Last week I went for dinner at Cafe Monico, the cosy all-day brasserie on Shaftesbury Avenue from the Soho House team.

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

The original Cafe Monico was established nearby in 1877 by two Italian brothers and thrived until the expansion of Piccadilly Circus in the 1950s.  Inspired by its namesake, Cafe Monico has been recreated round the corner with vintage decor (think green leather banquettes, brass chandeliers and oak panelled walls) spread over two floors with a cocktail bar and open-plan kitchen, an atmospheric vibe and a classic European menu by chef Rowley Leigh.

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Serving traditional French and Italian dishes from pasta to seafood and grilled meats, there are excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner options and good value formule set menus, seven days a week.  When we arrived we sat down at the central bar for an aperitif, ordering our favourite cocktails - a French 75 for me and a negroni for him - created by one of the smart barmen in dinner dress.

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

We went upstairs and sat at our table by the window, overlooking the busy street, theatre crowds and London buses below.  We were served a basket of crusty bread with warm butter with the menus and ordered half a dozen Fine de Claire oysters and cured salmon with cucumber and dill as starters, along with a bottle of the Whispering Angel cotes de provence rosé.  It may have been a cold, drizzly night outside, but we could at least pretend it was a balmy summer evening...

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

For our mains, we ordered the flavoursome rabbit ragu tagliatelle - which managed to dance the fine line between rich and not too rich perfectly - and the rare rib eye steak with chunky chips and a green salad as a side.  The dishes are all familiar brasserie classics, it's dimly-lit and atmospheric, and there's a charming old school vibe which makes you want to stay for hours - I'll be heading back again soon and you should too.

Cafe Monico, 39-45 Shaftesbury Ave W1D 6LA
See more restaurant reviews & London features

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog
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