A couple of weeks ago on a typically cold, grey, windy and drizzly Saturday eve, I walked up from Picc Circ to Balans, Soho (after takin that pic) for a surprise invite to a new opening. I was pre-occupied with panic of going veggie for the month- my only hope, I thought, was a Thai or Indian restaurant for that lickle somethin’ somethin’.
Balans was a decoy! The venue was elsewhere so as I walked away I paid my respects to the empty, closed down SBK- one of my fave joints on Old Compton- the only place that do cocktails on tap. Cafe Boheme was also shut down and rumour has it Soho House next door is too.. the neighbourhood may never be the same again…
And then I thought WTF are we going? Hoppers? I ain’t queuing for no-one fam!
Nope! Soho House’s latest joint, two floors of chic and stunning Cafe Monico! Miss Brown got around and got gassed by the decor and atmosphere inside. Two floors each with a bar area. Oh how the other half still lives! Lush!
When it came to the food I was still in a panic though- why have I come to a beautiful place with Italian/ French/ British food to only have veggie options I prob won’t like? I sighed like a stroppy child and looked woefully at the menu- I didn’t hide the disdain. I was THAT annoyed. It wasn’t until I tasted my ‘game-changing’ bespoke Misss Brown mocktail (fresh strawberry, orange, agave, lime and mint) I knew I was in good company- it followed with flawless mains I was relieved to have tried!
Some people say I am a fat person trapped in a skinny body. I can be a beast with food. I went for the vegetable lasagne and OMW!!!! It was heavenly- well cooked, creamy, silky and indulgeant in the best possible way…hot damn I was grinnin’ teeth after the first bite!
I also had the Burrata Salad with cherry tomatoes- the tomatoes were sweet like juicy cherries- I didnt think I would like it as much as the one they served at Rex and Mariano before it closed (R.I.P) but I did- I really liked this dish- tasty, nicely balanced and light. Joy! The chef’s special Ravioli was nice and the Parmesan Custard (everyone’s gonna rave about it) was nicely naughty but the Lasagne was my fave.
It’s all thanks to the talent of the team from bar to kitcen- the main man runnin’ tings in the kitchen, the renown Rowley Leigh now putting the midas touch to this Soho House joint. Simplicity, style and art.
There’s still no menu on the website.
For a non veggie who likes flavour, interesting and creative dishes, the fact I left that place with a big grin says alot. I got skooled! If your usual joints are decent with people who know their sh!t, they’ll have decent vegetarian options and mocktails too!
Cafe Monico is swanky in an un-pretentious way with affordable dishes and nice bar space. Staff were friendly with a smart/oldskool vibe and they made us feel at home. When news gets out (it’s in The Standard today) I’m sure it’ll be hard to get in- Les Miserables is next door, but aint nuttin’ miserable here.
It’s going to be a celeb hang-out for sure!
Miss Brown says…Get Down! ;D