Review: Cafe Monico, Shaftesbury Avenue, London
Style Points: 4/5
Now although many of the restaurants on the always bustling Shaftesbury Avenue cater more to tourists than foodies, this certainly isn’t the case with Cafe Monico. Having collaborated with chef Rowley Leigh, Cafe Monico has devised a menu with influences from Provence through to Northern Italian cuisine.
Cafe Monico is designed in the the ‘grand café’ style with a classic brasserie feel, including French green leather banquettes, aged oak panelled walls and low level lighting throughout. We sat on the first floor of this buzzy double-height grand cafe. This is definitely the better floor due to the mezzanine looking down onto the centralised bar on one side, and large windows on the other side flooding in loads of natural light.
A three metre vintage glass and brass chandelier hangs in the centre of the mezzanine, sourced from an antique store in Amsterdam adding a sense of grandeur to Cafe Monico.
What's on the menu?
Cafe Monico serves breakfast through to dinner everyday. We dined here at lunch and once seated our table was instantly adorned with water, ice cubes lemon slices, bread and butter, setting us up perfectly for the meal.
We ordered a peach bellini and rose and tonic cocktail, both of which arrived promptly and were delicious.
For our starters we ordered a salmon carpaccio with chilli (£9), the flavours in which were sublime and one of my favourite salmon dishes I’ve had in a while! We also tried a grilled octopus and chickpeas (£10) which was also well cooked and beautifully presented.
Our starters were surprisingly good and at this rate we wouldn’t wait for our main courses. I ordered a small portion of crab ravioli with samphire (£9) which was succulent and buttery. We also had prawns with chilli and garlic (£23) which was a lovely light and fresh dish.
Next came dessert and we ordered the pistachio dacquoise, strawberry sorbet (£7) of which the pistachio dacquoise was divine and didn’t really need the sorbet with it. We also tried the Paris brest (£6), a classic crunchy pastry based dessert which made a good alternative to the Pistachio dacquoise. We ordered coffee to go with our dessert and to end our stunning meal.
Could I afford to dine here again?
Cafe Monico is a classic and elegant restaurant yet the prices are not sky high. Instead the price of our meal was aligned to eating out at other less luxurious restaurants in Piccadilly Circus.
Honestly, as Cafe Monico is located on Shaftesbury Avenue, I had low expectations from it. However everything from the decor, service and especially the food surpassed my expectations and pleasantly surprised me!
I’m pleased to have sound a safe haven in Shaftesbury Avenue which and I will most certainly duck into Cafe Monico whenever I need an escape from the tourists!
A special thanks to Cafe Monico for the invitation and for the great hospitality!
Visit Cafe Monico’s website
Address: 39-45 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LA
Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus