Opening a new eatery is hard work at the best of times but in a pandemic? Yikes! Southsea’s new bistro, The Monarch certainly aren’t scared to put in the work and hats off to them! Taking over Restaurant 69, next to Farm Kitchen on Palmerston Road, The Monarch offers cocktails and food in what looks like a cosy but trendy environment (we are yet to go inside!). The team are all young lads sporting an Abercrombie-type look. They are all very friendly and have matching uniforms which I think is nice. Many restaurants and bars have lost this professional-looking touch.
The team say:
“We dreamt to be different from the very start and that will always be our emphasis”
So how are The Monarch different? Their Insta-worthy cocktails certainly look inventive and they promise their customers a great experience every time they choose to visit. We agree that the customer service we received was very good and the boys are always friendly and talkative when we walk past.
Due to the current situation, The Monarch have opened up the front of the shop where they have created a bar serving coffee, fresh juice and shaken cocktails. I love this open bar and hope they choose to keep it like this through the summer months. Currently, they only serve food to take away from Thursday through to Sunday. Carlos and I picked up dinner on the first Friday they opened for food to check them out!
The Monarch are offering a special deal at the moment which includes two starters, two mains and two cocktails for £30 – a pretty decent saving! We were disappointed to learn we couldn’t choose the cocktail, which was whiskey, triple sec, lemon and syrup – not something I would usually go for! However, it was VERY refreshing!
For starters, Carlos chose ‘Miniature Nachostalgia” ie: nachos with all the usual toppings and for me, Vegan Hoisin Jackfruit Parcels with an Asian salad. I wanted Sticky BBQ wings with blue cheese sauce but Carlos got my order wrong grrrr! I had a little moan at him for ordering me the wrong starter but it turned out the Jackfruit Parcels was the best out of the two, which he agreed with!
Both starters were tasty but a little tricky to eat (especially the salad) without cutlery or napkins which weren’t included with our meals. I’m guessing this is because The Monarch doesn’t want to encourage people to eat outside (due to the issue of litter) and good on them too. It was such a gorgeous evening we didn’t want to walk home so sat next to the beautiful bandstand (and took our rubbish home).
For mains, Carlos went for the BBQ Ribs, Chips and Coleslaw and me, a hybrid burger which was a normal burger without the bacon and with a vegan patty. The vegan burger has vegan cheese and a gluten-free bun and I just prefer ‘normal’ cheese and bread as I am not vegan (I just very rarely eat meat). It was really nice of The Monarch to accept my unusual request and they got it spot on!
The Monarch get their meat from Bransbury Park Butchers which is very local to them. I had a nibble of Carlos’s ribs and I have to say, they were beautifully cooked and just fell off the bone! Not a lover of meat myself, I thought these ribs were great, so well done boys! My burger was great too, it could have done with some sauce inside but I just added some of the coleslaw and perfecto! I loved the slightly charcoaled taste of the grilled bun, it reminded me of summer BBQ’s and the Moving Mountains Patty was lovely and moist (ugh that word).
We couldn’t manage the entire thing, what with the starter and cocktail too! In terms of value, this deal is a steal and we were left more than satisfied. The starters, usually priced at £8.25, are a little steep for a takeaway in my opinion but if sat inside then certainly justifiable.
We are looking forward to returning to The Monarch as soon as we can sit inside. It’s going to be a great place to go with friends for a few drinks and a bite to eat – a welcome addition to Palmerston Road. Best of luck with your new venture boys – keep us updated with your dessert menu, we can’t wait to try!
Living life, loving Palmey Road,
Ambience – Hard to tell with a takeaway but it looked nice inside!
Value 9 – if we hadn’t had the offer then 7
*Although we scored 7/10, given the circumstances (COVID/opening weekend) we thought The Monarch did very well. There were a few improvements to be made with the food (which we will feedback to them privately) but that is always going to happen with any new place on their first night. We wouldn’t hesitate to return.