Review of Monmouth Kitchen - Peruvian tapas in Covent Garden
I was looking for somewhere special to have dinner with my girlfriends and came across Monmouth Kitchen in Covent Garden. I'd wanted to go during their soft launch week a few months ago, but getting a reservation was hard. So I was super excited when I got a reservation here just before Christmas.
I'd booked the Open Table offer where you can share 8 plates between 2 people for £30 each, which includes a cocktail. My reservation was for 3 people, so I thought Monmouth Kitchen would accommodate the meal for the 3 of us. One of my friends is lactose intolerant, so I'd made a special request in my reservation asking if Monmouth Kitchen would be able to swap a few ingredients or dishes out. When I received the confirmation call from Monmouth Kitchen, and also when I spoke with front desk, they were all very accommodating of my requests. So far so good.
That is until our waiter Antonio arrives.
Antonio hands us the menu, and starts reciting his little piece about the menu. He spoke so fast and without any passion at all - didn't seem like he really cared about the place. The only sentence that I understood from him was "those are the Italian dishes, nothing special". Charming. Now what Antonio really meant, was that Monmouth Kitchen specialises in tapas dishes presenting Italian and Peruvian dishes in a modern way. Turns out this wasn't the Open Table £30 menu anyway. So Antonio brings it out for us and explains you can only eat from the Italian or the Peruvian menu - you can't mix and match. He also said the menu was for 2 people. I asked if we could have it for the 3 of us and he bluntly replies "no". So in the end we just opted to choose a few dishes from the a la carte menu instead. We then wanted to order a cocktail each for us that had a little bit of cream in it. Antonio again bluntly says "no". I asked why and he points to my friend and says "you are lactose intolerant, you cannot have it."
Naturally, within a few minutes of dealing with Antonio, my mood instantly turned sour. I was then praying the food would cheer us up.
First up, the Spicy Chicken with Rocoto Yogurt (£4.00). The menu says you get 2 tacos per plate. I think they forgot the word "mini".
Despite the size, the tacos were actually quite tasty. The taco shell was crispy and the chicken filling was quite spicy too. A really tasty starter to the meal. They just looked really sad sitting in that big toast holder.
Next we had the Seabass Ceviche with Avocado, White Corn and Red Onion (£11.00). Ceviche is a popular seafood dish in Latin America and is made by curing raw fish in citrus juices. This plate of seabass ceviche from Monmouth Kitchen was really sharp and was also quite spicy - so good for people who like these big bold flavours. Personally though, I thought the citrus flavours were too overpowering meaning I couldn't taste the seabass itself.
Continuing our theme of seafood, we had the Robata King Prawns with Rocoto (£9.00). These prawns were grilled really well and were super smokey. The rocoto sauce on top was fragrant and spicy, it didn't overpower the taste of the prawns themselves either. On the plate, was a mild yogurt dressing - a perfect balance of flavours.
Next we went onto our meat dishes. First up, Monouth Kitchen's signature Smoked Lamb Cutlets with Red Anticucho (£20.00).
The lamb cutlets were served on a hot lava stone with the smokey sauce sizzling when it arrived and it smelt so good! The red anticucho sauce is made up of a variety of spices, most typically of cumin - which is probably why the taste of these cutlets were quite similar to the Indian flavours. If you like your meat a little tender and not too well done, then I'd suggest you eat them straight away as the lamb will continue cooking on the lava stone. I took mine off straight away, but my friends kept theirs on the stone for a little longer and the cutlets ended up being a little tough. Either way, will keep the lamb cooking! We really enjoyed these cutlets, as they were spicy and really flavourful. It's just a bit sad that it cost us £20.00 for 3 small pieces.
We then had the Grigliata Mista (£16.00) - this is a meat selection consisting of lamb cutlets, wild boar and apple sausage, poussin and pork sliders. Having had the Smoked Lamb Cutlets earlier, I didn't think this meat selection was anything special. The only thing I could say, was that it was a decent meat selection on a hot plate. The ginger and onion dressing served alongside the meats was alright, but nothing special. I guess this would be a good choice for someone who doesn't like spice.
To finish off our meal, we had the Chocolate Caliente (£6.00). These were mini spring rolls filled with hot oozing chocolate, served with coconut sorbet topped with fresh passion fruit. The hot chocolate spring rolls were really yummy. The fresh passion fruit was really sharp and perfect to cut the richness of the hot chocolate. But I think the star of the plate was really the coconut sorbet.
At the end of my meal at Monmouth Kitchen, I left feeling content. I'd highly recommend the Smoked Lamb Cutlets and Robata Prawns, but everything else was just average. This is a little disappointing considering the price of £30+ per person. So if you're looking for a place to get stuffed, I wouldn't suggest Monmouth Kitchen. But if you want a cool, modern place to have some drinks and nibbles, then Monmouth Kitchen is the place to go.
Address: 20 Mercer Street, London, WC2H 9HD
Phone: 020 7845 8607