Rex & Mariano, a seafood and raw bar from the same group of Goodman, Burger & Lobster, and Beast fame, takes up the space that was once a witness to my FOB
year in Londontown about a decade ago (think: way too many flavoured
vodka shots #howtimeshavechanged).
It’s nice to see the place re-vamped as an actual restaurant even though I’m confused about the decor overall. Nonetheless, I like the idea of sharing plates of sea bounty at very affordable prices. I’ve heard mixed reviews which meant it could be controversial.
There’s just one thing you have to remember before eating at Rex & Mariano: NEVER GO IN A BRETON TOP. Because this:
I christened myself as Head Waitress that night.
Food is ordered via iPad tech where you swish, click, swish, click and food is meant to come as quickly as possible. Whilst surrounding punters and the servers go gaga about this “innovative menu” I found it slightly more gimmicky/confusing than helpful. I’m not averse to technology at all, but restaurant dining is always fun when you have servers to interact with (the one assigned to our table was such a delight to chat to). I’ll stick to good ol’ printed menu and friendly servers, thanks.
We ordered half a dozen Jersey rock oysters (£1.75 each) to start. They were pretty fresh albeit a little on the petite side.
The tuna ceviche (£8) was something I had high hopes for. The chunks were big and the fish looked fresh. Unfortunately, it didn’t have that umami flavour I had hoped for. It lacked a bit of acidity as well.
The clams (£7) were quite nice. The white wine sauce wasn’t too thick and buttery (unlike Big Easy’s) but I like it like this because you can taste the natural flavour of the clams.
The grilled Sicilian red striped prawns (£14) were probably our favourite for the night. I’ve heard rave reviews of the raw prawns, but the larger grilled option was decent; they were pretty succulent and cooked right. Seasoning was on point, not so much as to hide the natural sweetness of prawns.
The whole Dover sole tasted fresh enough, but the cook on
it was slightly over so it wasn’t as juicy as I would have wanted. Lacked a bit
of seasoning, too.
To replenish our 5-a-day quota, we ordered a side of
cauliflower with Old Bay seasoning
(£4). It was nice enough for a little bit of “fake carbs” but as cauliflower can be bland on its own
already, I wish they’d been a bit more adventurous with the seasoning.
Our server was super nice to give us limoncello shots on the house which went down nicely.
Overall, R&M has a lot of potential. It may not be the best of its kind out there just yet (dishes were a bit of a hit and miss) but it’s a restaurant that would surely appease seafood cravings due to its convenience, mass appeal and affordability.
Go visit if you can. Just don’t go in a stripey top.
Rex & Mariano
2 St Anne’s Court, London W1F 0AZ
Ave spend pp: £40