Ignore the bizarre name, MNKY HSE kicks London’s Mexican street food trend into the realm of fine dining

Just a few doors down from Dover Street nightclub Mahiki, MNKY HSE (pronounced with the missing vowels) draws in the same Mayfair glam squad. Spanning two cavernous floors, previously occupied by Dover Street Wine Bar, there’s plenty of room (and dark corners) to house all the suits and mini-skirts.

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Come Friday or Saturday night, you might find half the tables removed to make space for the dance floor antics that go on until 4am. Early one Tuesday evening, all tables were resolutely in place, and the only sign of monkey business was the plastic toy apes that sat atop the napkins.

Don’t let any of this put you off. MNKY HSE undoubtedly caters to those with flashy taste, but the menu will bowl over Londoner’s currently revelling in the city’s taco trend. Chef Pablo Peñalosa Nájera was poached from the Four Seasons in Bogota to hone the Latin American menu, and he’s done a sterling job.

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Aguachiles (ceviche) kicks off proceedings, alongside zesty tostadas and tacos served on wooden boards. It would have been rude not to accompany the morsels with an equally punchy pisco and jasmine sour, or a ‘taking the pisco’, advised head waiter Muhammed, and, naturally, he was right.

Swerve the carnes (meat) section in favour of fish for main course. The mnky black cod marinated with miso and chilies was soft, sweet and utterly moreish. The octopus with avocado and poblano chile sauce laughed in the face of the deep fried, deeply tasteless calamari we’re accustomed to eating in the city. Glancing around the tables of fellow diners showed the king crab leg to be another popular choice – you might want to monitor your tortilla and guac intake at the start of dinner.

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Desserts seem oddly incongruous with the rest of the menu – the dulche de leche mousse arrived in a trifle-shaped bowl with layers of biscuit and popping candy – but bar manager Javier Escribano’s extensive cocktail list will appease the sweet-toothed. Try a Hoxton hipster or foamy negroni, you’ll need the sugar if you’re planning to last until 4am. 

For those that don’t give a MNKYS about Mondays, the restaurant has now launched a brunch party on the last Sunday of every month. Visit mnky-hse.com for more details.

Alice Newbold