25 Fenchurch Avenue, EC3M 5AD www.drakeandmorgan.co.uk
Nestled in the heart of The City, moments from Monument and Fenchurch Street stations, The Moniker is the latest opening from cocktail bar and restaurant group Drake and Morgan.
Upon arrival, we are instantly hit by the bustling and boisterous atmosphere of this slick City bar, expectedly packed full of young suit and tie clad City workers celebrating the end of the working week.
The noisy main bar definitely wouldn’t be our venue of choice for a catch up, but the adjoining dining room has a much more manageable noise level whilst still retaining an atmosphere.
The decor is modern with soft furnishings and hanging plants giving it a bit of charm.
The Moniker’s varied menu features small plates, sharing boards, gourmet sandwiches and burgers as well as an enticing range of main dishes inspired by cuisines from across the globe.
This extensive menu caters well for vegetarians, vegans and those wanting a lighter option, as well as providing good proper British fare.
We start things off with a cocktail each whist nibbling on nocellara olives and padron peppers. The satisfyingly salty snacks get our appetites going as we study the long list of dishes on offer and make our choices.
The service at the Moniker is impeccable, with our friendly attentive server never letting our glasses run dry and regularly checking in, without being overbearing.
Onto the food. The smoked aubergine flatbread is a real surprise. The crisp and slightly chewy flatbread is topped with a flavourful aubergine puree, salty vegan cheese, crunchy pine nuts and a dash of pesto.
The dish is finished with edible flowers, giving this plant-based dish a look reminiscent of a spring garden.
My companion orders the chorizo scotch egg. The perfectly cooked yolk is encased in salty and meaty chorizo that leaves a subtle spice at the back of your mouth.
It’s served with a smoked paprika mayonnaise, with a tangy spice that complements the scotch egg well.
For the main event, we order the tandoori monkfish curry and the crispy chickpea cake. The curry sauce is rich and flavourful, but the fish was a tad overcooked and it came with too much rice for the amount of sauce. The flaky and buttery paratha, however, is unbelievably moreish and goes down a treat.
The chickpea cake is interesting and innovative. The wedges of hearty and slightly stodgy cake are served with a rich and sweet pumpkin sauce, sharp pickled celery, and delightful little chunks of roasted squash.
This is again finished with edible flowers, which feels a little bit like overkill for the second plate of the day styled this way, but is pretty nonetheless. The ratio of chickpea cake to sauce is a little off here, with more sauce needed to moisten the dish, leaving it a little dry.
We find space for dessert, and order the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. It’s hard to get a brownie wrong, and while this pud might not be life changing, it was rich and gooey and certainly enjoyable.
While the menu might not be gastronomically pioneering, the friendly staff, well stocked bar and crowd-pleasing menu make The Moniker a solid choice for a few drinks and a bite to eat after work.