Rex & Mariano Soho
2 St Anne’s Court, London W1F 0AZ
020 7437 0566/rexandmariano.com/
If I was taking you on a rock’n roll history tour of London then St Anne’s Court would be a prime destination. It’s not as obvious as the Wardour St sites of the long gone Whisky-a-Gogo or Marquee clubs, but in its own way it’s just as important. This was the home of Trident Studios where some of the most seminal albums of the ’70s were made. Elton John, Queen and David Bowie were all regulars in this alley linking between Wardour and Dean Streets. I only recorded at Trident once but spent many long Soho days ensconced in post-production studios and now it is a hub for the TV, film used by Soho locals and workers.
Rex & Mariano has opened in a largish site that previously hosted the execrable Vodka Revolution. It’s a fish and seafood restaurant decked out in white tile and steel serving carpaccio, tartare, ceviche and small plates. It is backed by the smart Russian team behind Burger & Lobster, Goodman and Beast-the eponymous Rex and Mariano are posh Chelsea fishmonger Rex Goldsmith and Mariano who supplies Sicilian seafood to the restaurant.
With iPad ordering delivering a 5% service charge and the involvement of suppliers early reviews picked up on the keen pricing, but it has crept up since the opening. But hey, that’s capitalism and I’m not going to argue with the owners about it…
Tuna tartare ( £8) is a plate of raw, meaty tuna chunks blended with avocado, chilli and chive all held together by a subtle dash of sesame oil. It’s a great dish that has a subtle power.
Ceviche is so ubiquitous these days but R&M’s Sea bass ceviche (£7.50) stands up with the best I’ve had. Pimped up with coriander, yuzu, red onion and tiger’s milk it’s delicious.
Clams ( £7) are simply cooked with white wine, parsley and chilli-they are juicy and full of taste. Sicilian Red Prawns (£10) are served either raw or fried with olive oil and lemon. I have them cooked and suck them dry. This is proper down and dirty seafood cooking.
Courgettes ( £5 ) come as deep-fried pleasure sticks. The accompanying alioli is too underpowered for me but maybe suitable for a Soho business lunch.
I really like the food at Rex & Mariano. If you are in Soho and are in need of a quick, reasonably priced seafood fix it’s a great option.