Cafe Monico is one of the latest Soho openings and I fell in love with it as soon as I walked in the door. A large central bar beckons you in and sparkling chandeliers and mirrors, polished floors and large comfy chairs all add their welcome. The restaurant is upstairs set around the edges with tables at the front overlooking the buzzing activity of Shaftesbury Avenue.
The food is kind of a French brasserie/Italian mix including many classic favourites like oysters, prawns, steak tartare, ride eye bearnaise, chicken pillared, cheeseburgers, Dover sole and lobster mayo. So many delights to chose from. The starter decisions were made easy by the inclusion of two delightful dishes. First up this amazing Parmesan custard with anchovy toast.
The anchovy was cleverly encased between two of the thinnest slivers of toast and the parmesan custard was so beautifully rich and creamy and ready for dipping. A delectable mix of flavours and textures, my mouth’s watering even now! A simple, perfectly executed dish that’s a must-have for any anchovy lovers, like me.
And then there was the devilled lamb’s kidneys on toast. I love devilled kidneys and I haven’t spotted them on many menus.. Rare, soft and tender in a beautifully rich, silken sauce and served on thinly sliced toast. Yep, certainly one of my top dishes, I wish they were more widely available.
There’s also a nice salad selection, including this classic mix of tuna, white bean and red onion.
I’m loving the white asparagus that’s around this year, so much so that I went for a vegetarian main course today. It’s a really indulgent plate of white asparagus and spinach smothered in hollandaise sauce and sprinkled with parmesan. The crisp texture of the large white asparagus spears goes perfectly with the earthy spinach flavours and creamiest of hollandaise – the ultimate in sauces.
Another for the list of perfect places to wile away those Soho hours, especially with the lovely bar. A wonderful addition to touristy Shaftesbury Avenue.
Today’s price point
We paid £41 for our food (not including a tip).
Mains are between £14 and £29 (for the Dover sole)
Cafe Monico is at 39-45 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho.