How time flies, when you have a little one… Forgive me for having been a bit absent lately, but Clara is taking a lot of my time – and I have also been quite busy judging at The UK Blog Awards 2019. It is not easy finding a winner and a highly commended out of 400 Lifestyle blogger nominees, I tell you, (but it is super exciting!)

This was just what a needed! A day out with my mother and little Clara! 

So basically what happened the other day was this: Not only was I struggling with a nasty stye, I also hurt my back, when doing the laundry – and there you have it! I had magically transformed myself into Quasimodo! Lying there on the floor not being able to move, (and waiting for Frenchie to come home and take me to the A & E), I decided it was time to call for more back-up! And as always, my mother came to the rescue!  A few days (and many pills) later, I felt much better – and this is when I decided to invite my mother and Clara out for ladies lunch

We went in to the very heart of London to take a look around in Chinatown, which is currently celebrating  Chinese New Year. It was all very festive with parades, decorations and so much more

Shaftesbury Avenue is also the area, where you will find many theatres as well as the lovely brasserie, Cafe Monico!

As you can see, we brought a stroller, and I was a little nervous, that maybe they didn’t want it in there, but the staff was extremely nice and they even helped me to carry the stroller upstairs, as I wanted to get the full dining experience –  a first class view of everything that was going on inside and outside. Loved it!

Welcome inside! Isn’t it just beautiful in here?

The original Cafe Monico is a grand, old lady! Nearly 140 years ago brothers Giacomo and Battista Monico opened a cafe in London’s West End. Many neighbourhood restaurants were demolished in1885 to make way for the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue – but the brothers Monico expanded and thrived for another generation, before the site finally closed in the 1950s. Today Soho House, in collaboration with chef Rowley Leigh, has resurrected the double-height cafe Monico right around the corner with wood panelling, bespoke marble floor, cosy lighting, a breathtakingly beautiful vintage chandelier, and bartenders in crisp white jackets. (Bonus-info: You don’t need a membership to book a table here!)

I was immediately drawn upstairs…

 – where the view was amazing!

 – and the atmosphere was nice and relaxed! Even though I didn’t see any children here, it was clear, that Clara was more than welcome – and many people actually came over and told us, how lovely Clara was! (I was a very proud mum!)

This little one was having lots of fun (also with the waiters!)

White wine, books and cosy times, while the iconic red double-decker buses of London were driving by outside our windows!

Time to have a look at the menu card! 

The food here is exactly what I am looking for, when I am out for lunch! Being a classy, yet modern brasserie it features all the greatest hits of Continental cooking – and I had a hard time choosing! (The all-day menu offers light bites, seafood, Italian cold cuts, grill dishes and pasta)

We decided to share a bottle of white wine…

 – while we were waiting for the lovely chefs to prepare our food. (I have said it before – and I will say it again. The staff here were wonderful and lots of fun!)

For starters, I ordered the “Burratta, figs and honeycomb”. It was one of the best starters, I have ever had! The burrata was so creamy and it melted in my mouth – perfectly complimented by the figs and sweetness of the honey. Every bite was like a little piece of heaven…

 – especially when paired with freshly baked focaccia bread with sun-dried tomatoes 

My mother had her eyes set on the prawn cocktail being enjoyed at the neighbour table – and it was just as good as it looked! The prawns were fat and juicy! It was the perfect remake of an 80s classic! 

It is not boring at Cafe Monico. Even though I love eating with a partner in crime, you can easily get entertained dining by yourself, if you book a table by the window.

The Shaftesbury Avenue area is very vivid with Chinatown just across the street and several theatres located next door. (Bonus-info: If you are planning on eating out before or after a show, this is the place to go!)

Steak tartar served with frites 

Even though the menu card offers a lot of lovely French/Italian classics, my mother and I both opted for the same dish – the steak tartar. We simply love tartar and had to have one each! It was utterly delicious! I have to bring Frenchie here, so he can enjoy the same meal, as I know how much, he enjoys this dish

Happy times…

Tiramisu is my guilty pleasure, so obviously I had to taste the Monico version!

– and what a treat it was! 

Chocolate bomb for my mother! I think the photo says it all! I can’t wait to go back for more!

We had the most amazing time at Cafe Monico. I can not recommend this place enough – and I am looking forward to take Frenchie here for dinner and cocktails. (Monico serves classic cocktails, traditional aperitifs and a large selection of vermouth’s. A must-try!)

Shaftesbury Avenue is busy, yes! But this is not a tourist joint – this is a classy, yet cosy and comfortable brasserie, which I will most certainly come back to, when I need a break from sightseeing, shopping and shows! 

We were invited as guests at Cafe Monico. All opinions are my own!

Louise x