My father always said honesty is the best policy, we all know this but sometimes being so brutally honest when it comes to another business is not something I enjoy. However, I feel like I need to get this off my chest so just work with me here!

So a friend and I ventured to Mayfair to MNKY HSE (pronounced Monkey House) for dinner last night. I had heard such good thing about the vibes, the decor and the ceviche that when it was my turn to organise dinner, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to try it out, especially as the majority of the meat is halal (except the duck).

Like most restaurants in Mayfair, the atmosphere is quite loud, there’s music and scantily clad ladies so if you’re not into that kinda thing then best to avoid. I for one loved the vibe that MNKY HSE was giving though, the music wasn’t too loud as our reservation was for 7pm-ish. I loved the decor. They really took the whole monkey thing home, there were little monkeys on our tables (not real ones of course!!) and the walls had monkey LEDs which was pretty damn cool if you ask me.

We got some mocktails which were YUM!!!

Now the food… BRB I’m gonna need to get into my calmest balasana yoga pose to give me the strength to talk about this. I need to caveat this by saying that I am generally quite a positive person and always try to look for the best in food (and people!) so if I think the food was bad, there is a 99.9% chance that the food was pretty bad!

Right, so diabolic would be an understatement at the quality of the food at MNK HSE, so bear with me a little on this. Lets start on a high(ish) note with the starters. Nothing about the menu really stood out to me, the mains were lol very standard but the starters looked good.

The starters are a tapas-style sharing plates concept, which I loved. The portions were small but I actually really enjoyed them.

Firstly and my favourite dish of the evening was the Hamache Truffle Ceviche – now I’m a huge ceviche fan generally, but this yellowtail ceviche with truffle dressing and sweet potato was delicious. The strong flavours of the ceviche really pulled through.

Beef Brisket and Chipotle Chicken Soft Tacos – according to my friend, when it’s halal order as much meat as possible. The soft tacos were good, but both the beef and chicken meat were rather tasteless, not too much but lets just say that the taco was actually tastier than the meat itself – think that said it all and should have set our expectations low for the rest of the meal.

Mains – oh dear Lord the mains… I usually am a huge fan of Black Cod and as boring as it sounds, I always love trying out the black cod wherever I go. But as my friend very rightly pointed out to me, there are other things on the menu. (1-0 to said friend!)

So I went for the MNKY Lamb Chops and my friend went for the Beef Tenderloin. I mean it looked good enough..

Until you ate it! The lamb chops had absolutely no taste to them, I mean no taste and one of the lamb chops had more fat than meat on it.

My friend’s Beef Tenderloin looked the part, it was cooked rare to perfection but again, it had no taste and I mean zero taste to it.

Firstly £28 for 3 tiny lamb chops is daylight robbery, but I’d happily had paid that if the food would good. But paying £28 for a tiny dish that had no taste whatsoever and had fat falling off it was just not on.

Luckily what MONKY HSE lacks in food, they make up by service. The manager immediately came over and asked us if there was a problem without us even having to say anything. They agreed to swap both mains out for 2 other items from the menu – we went for the Braised Lamb Shank and MNKY Cod (their version of the black cod).

Our mains (Round 2) came out far too quickly (literally within 5 mins of ordering), which is odd because even in the most basic of restaurants lamb shank takes at least 15-20 mins to prepare. Yet again, the lamb shank looked decent for sure, so we lived in hope. Unfortunately all our hopes and dreams were shattered – the lamb shank was not as tender as it should have been and, low and behold, no taste to this dish either! (You seeing a pattern yet?!)

The cod on the other hand looked a little white for a black cod (very white!). However, it tasted way worse than it looked and with that first bite a small part of my soul died a little. I have never eaten a black cod that tasted like this – in actual fact it was merely a piece of cod, with teriyaki sauce drizzled over it. Not only did the cod not have any taste to it, moreover, it almost had a taste to it as if it had been sitting there for a few days, something tasted almost quite off about it that made it almost inedible.

You guys know how much of a dessert fan (pronounced fanatic) I am and don’t even consider a meal complete without dessert. However, we didn’t even make it to dessert, the quality of the food was enough to put us off. It was truly heartbreaking.

Overall, I am hoping that MNKY HSE was having an off day but the food was probably the worst experiences I have ever had. It’s been a very long time since I felt so strongly about a meal. Moreover, as my friend put it, it was astonishing that they were charging people such high prices for such low quality, tasteless meals. HOWEVER, the service couldn’t have been better. Every person that attended to us and served us was a delight, friendly, helpful and just such a pleasure. They knew exactly what was halal on the menu, and were so helpful. The manager did not charge us for any of the 4 mains which truly made up for the lacklustre experience we had with the food – funnily enough the discount was more than the food itself. Had the manager not have been so kind as to discount it, we would have paid almost £200 for this less than average meal!

Food – 2 out of 10 
Service – 8 out of 10
Atmosphere – 7 out of 10 
Experience – 3 out of 10

Overall, giving MNKY HSE a total TLH score of 3 out of 10.

Address: 10 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4LD
Halal Status: Everything on the menu is halal except duck, alcohol is served
Closest Station: Green Park (Jubilee, Victoria and Picadilly line)

So far, 2018 hasn’t been very nice to me.. will I ever be able to go to a restaurant with good food and good service? Stay tuned to find out!

Lots of love,

TLH xx

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