24th June 2018 7pm
Opening up recently as a progressive Italian restaurant from the people that brought you the much loved Atelier, Mono is situated on South Bridge. The restaurant is laid out over 2 floors. They keep the ground floor for lunches, afternoon tea and arrival drinks and the lower level for evening dining with a view into the open kitchen. Unfortunately this meant that we had to wait until someone realised we had arrived. I do worry this will not work well for walk ins but believe me, it will be worth it if you hang around.
After having a drink upstairs, we were led down to our table. We started our gastronomic journey with three amuse bouche. These provided a wealth of textures and flavours and were a good introduction to the rest of our meal. Whilst we waited for our first course to arrive, we were brought an assortment of bread, which was made on side. This came with a dish of glossy golden olive oil. This all had wonderful flavour, with the focaccia being my favourite.
Our first course was octopus alla piastra. This had a tentacle, laid on a bed of chickpeas and sultanas, with nduja and sea herbs and a couple of crispy elements which then had a delicious sauce added to it. This had a really interesting combination of flavours which were really tasty.
Wood pigeon was the next course, which I love. This has to have been the best wood pigeon dish I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten it at Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner). The pigeon sat on top of offal, lentils, lardons and capers. Unusually, it was topped with smoked honeycomb, which weirdly worked. This whole dish was sublime.
Next up was aged Parmesan pasta. The pasta popped in the mouth with gorgeous Parmesan sauce. Nestled in with the pasta were little egg yolk balls which had a breadcrumb coating which were wonderfully rich and was topped off with white asparagus. A corker of a dish.
Could the next dish keep up the impressive level of cooking? Yes! This time it was salted cod. The delicately tender fish sat with polenta and vivid green strips of asparagus. Broad beans and peas scatted the plate along with some artichoke and was topped off with a luscious mugnaia sauce. A light, fresh dish. Gorgeous.
Dry aged beef followed. This beautiful cut of beef was perfectly pink and came with ox cheek. Kohlrabi, cauliflower and hazelnuts were placed across the plate, with rings of shallot and a smattering of sea truffle. The puree was incredible smooth and the sauce beautifully velvety (and bonus for leaving a small jug of it on the table just in case). All I can say is wow.
The next course was a cheese course but technically a dessert. I think this may be a dish that may be difficult to get for some people but we surprisingly enjoyed it. It was a combination of Gorgonzola and chocolate. A mouse was made combining milk chocolate with the cheese. This gave it a tangy flavour. A white chocolate dome filled with more cheesiness sat alongside a Gorgonzola sorbet, which was actually my favourite bit. This was all accompanied by a dark chocolate and hazelnut soil and cherries. This dish was confusing but clever at the same time.
Onto a slightly more straightforward dessert – Perthshire strawberries. The strawberries were soaked in vodka and were nestled alongside and strawberry and pine sorbet. Ricotta balanced out the sweetness to make this a very pleasant dish.
Lastly we had coconut semifreddo. The semifreddo was encased in bramble. Alongside was a coconut crumb, brambles and the most interesting element – Thai green curry sorbet. It’s main flavours were ginger and lemongrass but it did just taste exactly like a Thai green curry. Even stranger, it worked as part of the dessert.
A couple of the dishes might challenge some palates but we loved the lot. There was some really exemplary cooking here. The table service was also top notch. We thought Atelier couldn’t be topped. We were wrong. Go here and go here soon.
Food – 9.5/10
Service – 9.5/10
Atmosphere – 9.5/10
Value – 9.5/10
Overall – 38/40
Would I eat here again? You betcha
Cost – we had a special deal as former Atelier customers of £60pp for the tasting menu but the standard price would be £75 plus £15 for the glass of wine.