Rex & Mariano is a seafood restaurant operating under the Goodman Restaurant Group which includes Goodman steakhouses, Beast, Burger & Lobster and Smack Deli. Located in the former Vodka Revolution site in Soho, the Goodman group teamed up with Chelsea fishmonger Rex Goldsmith for the new venue, named after Goldsmith and Mariano, the father of a Goodman employee.
The 115-cover restaurant is huge with a separate oyster, ceviche and salad bar as well as an open grill kitchen. Rex & Mariano is unique in that it only charges 5% for service instead of the standard 12.5% that most restaurants apply. The main reason for this is their at-table iPad ordering system! Once diners are shown to their table a member of the fantastic Rex & Mariano team explain the menu and how to order, recommending that you order only a couple of dishes at a time.
Most plates are designed to share, from carpaccio to ceviche and grilled fish of the day. The menu is small but not limited, with tuna tartare as the bestseller and the freshly baked bread, highly recommended.
We kicked things off with a bottle of 2013 ‘Emma Sauvignon Blanc’, all wines are sold on draught either by the glass (125ml) or 500ml. I’m forever drinking red wine at the moment so it was a nice change to enjoy a sip of cold, crisp, white.
Having been told that the homemade bread was a must-try we added it to our first order as well as a portion of Sicilian Large Stripe Prawns.
The selection of breads was impressive, served lightly toasted, each slice was warm, crusty and delicious. I wasn’t a fan of the tuna paste which was served alongside the bread, it was too dry, similar to tin tuna which I dislike immensely. Instead I dunked the bread in lashings of olive oil which was simply divine!
The Sicilian Large Stripes Prawns had a sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. One of my favourite bloggers Samphire and Salsify said they were “the best prawns I’ve ever eaten” – which I thought was a pretty bold statement! I could have eaten more than a plateful but at £14 a portion, I wanted to reserve spending for other dishes.
We ordered a portion of chips and the Whole Megrim Sole (£12) to share. The Cornish daily sole was grilled with lemon butter and garnished with chives. It was awesome! The fish fell off the bone as it should do. Although towards the head and tail of the fish I kept getting a mouthful of bones, but I think that’s just because I was too excited to eat it.
As dishes are served as soon as they’re ready it was a bit frustrating that we’d almost eaten all the chips before the fish came but I guess that’s just the nature of the ordering system.
We had enough space for one more round of dishes, opting for the tuna tartare and a portion of courgette fries. The tuna tartare was ‘oh my god’ (in other words amazing)! Chunks of raw fish sat on a bed of avocado purée, the delicate fish came alive with flavour matched with chopped chillies and chives. It was so good that, as I’m writing this review the morning after I’m tempted to go back again for lunch today just to get another plate of it…
The courgette fries with garlic aioli were also enjoyable. Much better than the courgette fries served at Smack Deli, with these being firmer and saltier.
I really enjoyed the dining experience at Rex & Mariano, it’s nice to have a paper menu so that you can look at everything on offer in front of you. But ordering with the iPad was great! It was very easy to do and could be done at a leisurely pace as it meant not trying to get the attention of restaurant staff or not being ready when they came to take your order.
When we did require the attention of staff they were all incredibly efficient, friendly, polite, it was a lovely environment to be in. I also loved the fact that when I asked a waiter what dishes he recommended from the menu he got all excited, pointing at pretty much everything.
Rex & Mariano = Awesome.
ADDRESS: 2 St Anne’s Court, London W1F 0AZ
CONTACT: 020 7437 0566
OPENING HOURS: 12:00–10:30 pm Monday to Sunday