As you may or may not know, every Thursday night, my hubmeister and I visit a new dinner destination in London. We go from Zagat-rated restaurants to hole-in-the-wall joints to food trucks. Sometimes he makes a reservation, sometimes we wander. Regardless of how we end up at our dinner table for two, we always leave feeling satisfied…until last week. Last week we were not satisfied. We didn’t leave it all at the table. Last week, we had dinner at Monmouth Kitchen, and I cannot stop thinking about it.
For starters, it was definitely the best dinner we have ever had in London. That’s quite a statement, isn’t it? The space that drew us in and keeps us dreaming about it is none other than the newly opened, beautifully designed Monmouth Kitchen in Covent Garden.
I didn’t think it would be anything special.
Why? Because it seems like everyone these days is following a trend—modern interiors, small plates, artisan food. And you know what they say about trendy: it’s one step away from tacky. From the outside, I saw the modern interiors. But the moment we stepped inside, I realized those trendy characteristics were actually quite different up close.
When we entered the restaurant, we were met with a smiling hostess who offered to take any luggage and keep it in the checking room. I had a backpack on me because I had spent the day wandering like Dora, so I checked that in and was given a blue ticket. I thought, “Okay, that’s pretty neat.” During cold months here, people wear their heavy coats around and take their umbrellas everywhere. This means they don’t have to bring that bulk to their tables. Good first impression. The hostess then led us through a walkway to our marble table for two.
From my seat, I saw the polished concrete floors. The lighting that surrounded the bottom floor highlighted the change in level with the a step down. I saw how it made the lower space feel like a new room without using any walls. My eyes went to a dark grey brick wall behind hubbs’ head that wasn’t completely filled in. This allowed us privacy without feeling closed off. I saw a DJ spinning beats that didn’t feel club-like. The beautiful chairs had thick cushions on which my ballet-barre-beaten behind rested on. I saw ambiance-setting candles, lovely light fixtures, and ultimately the bright smile of our waiter, Antonio.
What a waiter. He gave us exceptional service all night. He explained the items on the menu without that irritating know-it-all tone. I told him I was a vegetarian and without skipping a beat, he said, “Oh great, we have wonderful vegetarian options.” HALT. Can I tell you how refreshing it is to hear that? Incredibly so. After asking him for a few recommendations and thoroughly examining the interior of the restaurant, we got to the main event: our food.
Jeez. Oh man. Just remembering how delightful that was—give me a second.
Okay, I’m good now.
One mushroom ricotta ravioli – me
Vegetable tacos – me
Spinach and chicken risotto with sage butter – him
Masala skewers of chicken – him
Avocado corn and blackberry salad – me
Bruschetta with three different kinds of cheese – us
Shrimp ceviche – him
One peach bellini – me
One limoncello – us
One aperitif – him
Cafe Adelmar (sp?) – it came in an espresso cup but definitely satisfied our sweet-tooth cravings.
Now to the nitty-gritty:
Cost: 90 pounds or $120
Wait time: 0 minutes thanks to hubby’s mad reservation skills
Busyness: Medium. Tables were full, but there were some empty tables as well. Probably not a seat to spare come Friday or Saturday.
Table service: Great
Noise level: Great. I have walked out of restaurants before because of horrendous noise levels, and even with a DJ and full tables, this place was enjoyable. I think it’s probably due to the open concept of the space while still creating barriers for intimacy.
In conclusion, if you’re okay with leaving a little bit sad because you want to take the restaurant home with you, this is the place to go. Prepare your hearts and stomachs, ladies and gents, because this is an absolute MUST-go in London. Monmouth Kitchen is now our favorite restaurant in London and is also the reason we are going to eat at home for every meal this week. Worth it? Absolutely.