Moncks of Dover Street Restaurant Review

London, 01-05-2009

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon on the first of December and London’s streets are buzzing with people determined to shop. On the way to Dover Street where Moncks of Dover Street is located, hence the name, you can’t help but feel the plush atmosphere of Mayfair and its surrounding luxurious and even exotic restaurants swooping you into the glam of West End London. But around the corner, Dover Street is not busy, reflecting the laziness that Sundays are adored for.

On arrival at the restaurant we are greeted by a friendly hostess dressed in a smart red suit who offers to take our coats. The first part of the brasserie, which offers an all-day dining and drinking experience, is dominated by a long bar and petite and cozy booths. It seemed to be quite empty at mid noon on Sunday, but we carried on to the main indoor ‘courtyard’ where the magic of Sunday brunch is in full swing.

The name of the restaurant pays tribute to Christopher Monck, an original Clarendon Estate owner whose property was present at this very location back in the 16th century. Moncks comes from the team behind the nearby Park Chinois, though the concept is quite diferent. While Park Chinois is a destination for a lavish and grand night, Moncks of Dover Street presents you with a warm and elegant atmosphere where dining and conversations are prioritised.

The main dining area or ‘courtyard’ is clad in a traditional dark paneling lined with modernist prints and pictures that reference the glam of cinema and pop culture from the 60s in France, America and Britain. The red leather seating works well with the dark deep palette and marble tabletops. An interesting choice of ribbed blue fabric wall covering is used for the upper part of the room’s perimeter. It is a classic that will withstand any trend waves that come and go. A cozy warm light setting gives a feeling that time has stopped inside the walls of this brasserie and makes us completely forget that we are in the heart of the busiest city in Europe.

Setting aside the embracing feel of the interiors, food is the real gem here. The brunch menu takes you all the way from traditional homemade buttermilk pancakes, to your choice of steak. It all depends on your level of hungry.

We started with chicken liver pate, redcurrant & port jelly with toasted brioche. The magical combination of sour and sweet spread on a toast with flaky sea salt and enoki mushrooms on top had us dreaming about this dish even before we finished it.

An absolute star of a dish, which I soon discovered has been a top choice on every single dining table around, is the truffle mac & cheese. It’s not just your typical meal, but gratinated mac & cheese with Périgord truffle. This truffle has also made its way into the heart of the dish where Moncks filled each tube of pasta with thick truffle-flecked cheese sauce. The end of the weekend could not get better than this. We also had the Eggs Royale - oak smoked salmon, organic poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce on an English muffin, with chips. To finish off this flavour indulgence, we selected the coconut ice cream, frozen mango, passion fruit with shortbread ring. It was a very fresh end to the wholesome meal

A visit to Moncks of Dover Street left us wanting to return and try even more of their delicious offerings. The atmosphere of the restaurant lets you relax and truly enjoy your food and time without any queuing for the table of a quick turnaround for tables. Although it falls in the mid to high price range, the restaurant itself is simple. The beautifully presented home-style food comes without the fuss of complicated descriptions. Bon appétit!