One of London’s oldest restaurant names, if not restaurants, will close for good. Cafe Monico, which has been the name above the door for 144 years, will be replaced by Piedmontese beef masters Macellaio RC, according to Propel. Cafe Monico has been owned and operated by Soho House since 2016.
Brothers Giacomo and Battisa Monico founded the restaurant on what was then Tichborne Street in 1877, billing it thus: “Grand Café Saloon. Grill Room. Best Ventilated Billiard Saloons in London. Supper after the Theatres. Restaurant Open till Half-past 12’. That ventilation could come in use in 2021; oh foresight. Tichborne Street was a tight, small central London alley, but when it was razed to create Shaftesbury Avenue in 1885, the brothers found themselves overlooking somewhere called Piccadilly Circus, and expanded the restaurant by 1890.
When Soho House revived the name, the backstory, and the restaurant in 2016 under the consultant stewardship of renowned chef Rowley Leigh, there was promise, but its offer gave in to the “normcore” tendencies of many theatreland restaurants with a drearily crowdpleasing menu lacking Leigh’s characteristic frankness. Now it will play host to some of London’s best steak, Fassona beef from the Italian Alps, as Macellaio RC continues to expand.