NEVER AGAIN LIST – Soho diners’ evening marred by cockroach and subpar fare at MONMONO Spanish restaurant

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Picture for representation purpose only.

20th January 2024 – (Hong Kong) Yesterday, a netizen visited MONMONO (owned by Montage Group Limited) , a Spanish restaurant located at 44-46 Staunton Street in Soho Central, with the intention of celebrating his partner’s birthday. However, what was meant to be a delightful evening turned into a nightmarish experience filled with a giant cockroach sighting, subpar food quality, and disappointing service.

Upon arriving at the restaurant around 8.30pm on Friday, the couple placed their food order. The establishment was bustling with activity, as it was a busy Friday night. Seated to their left were three women celebrating a birthday for their friend. However, their dinner was abruptly interrupted when a cockroach suddenly emerged from under their table, causing them to jump in shock. Concerned, they inquired about the incident, and the neighbouring diners explained that a cockroach had appeared beneath their table. The waiter was summoned, but the crafty cockroach managed to scurry away to another part of the restaurant. When questioned about the presence of the cockroach, the waiter attributed it to the construction site across from the restaurant.

Despite their frustration and unfinished meal, the couple reluctantly decided to resume dining. However, their respite was short-lived as the cockroach reappeared, this time crawling on one of the female patrons’ legs, eliciting panic and distress from the trio. Two waiters hastily approached the scene, but their response fell short. One of the waiters placed two napkins on the floor to block the cockroach, while the other fetched a broom and dustpan, leaving the critter under the vigilant gaze of the netizen. Although the cockroach was captured on camera, it managed to escape once again, vanishing into another area of the restaurant. Feeling unsettled by the ordeal, the three women decided to abandon their dining experience. However, when presented with the bill, they were offered a meagre 20% discount, which they found unsatisfactory. The netizen’s partner, standing up for fairness, engaged in a discussion with the restaurant staff, eventually persuading them to waive the bill. Subsequently, they left the restaurant, joined by another table of two female patrons who had also endured the distressing episode.

Meanwhile, the netizen and his partner, though concerned about the food quality due to the cockroach incident, continued dining. However, their hopes for a satisfying culinary experience were further dashed. The Black Paella, priced at HK$248, appeared reasonable on the menu, but upon arrival, it became evident that the portion was surprisingly small, seemingly prepared for a single person. Adding to the disappointment, the paella was accompanied by fried calamari, blanched squids, and Padron peppers, an unconventional combination. The calamari lacked the desired golden-brown crispiness and the squids, which should have been cooked together with the paella, were blanched. The absence of socarrat, the coveted layer of crispy, caramelised rice, further marred the poorly executed dish, leaving the netizen feeling that it was both ill-conceived and overpriced.

Additionally, another dish which they ordered, the homemade tagliolini, was overwhelmed by the presence of fried garlic, resulting in a flavour that resembled Chinese-style noodles rather than Spanish or Italian cuisine. Again, the portion was tiny.

To make matters worse, the netizen had pre-ordered a birthday dessert for his partner. However, when it arrived, they were greeted with an oversized and haphazardly arranged platter of Churros, ice cream, and mini pineapple pancakes. The flavours failed to harmonise, and the Churros were excessively sugary, lacking the desired golden-brown colour. Disappointed by the unpalatable dessert, they decided not to finish it, only to discover that it had been included in the bill for HK$248. In Hong Kong, it is customary for casual-dining or fine dining establishments to offer complimentary dessert platters. MONMONO, however, went against this norm, charging an exorbitant amount for an unsatisfactory finale to the meal. Adding insult to injury, despite having informed the staff in advance about the birthday dessert surprise, a waiter still inquired if they wanted dessert after completing their main course.

When the bill finally arrived, the staff begrudgingly removed the charges for the two glasses of house wine but left the 10% service charge of HK$103.60 intact, which included the dessert platter. Not wanting to spoil the evening any further, the netizen decided to pay the bill.

MONMONO Central, as described, presents itself as a vibrant, all-yellow art restaurant in the lively Soho district. Inspired by the relaxed coastal vibes, the establishment offers a range of seafood dishes showcasing the essence of Mediterranean cuisine. The interior design aims for elegance, featuring rounded arches, sandy hues, and lush green accents, creating a warm and comfortable ambience. However, after years of operation, signs of wear and tear have become apparent, with visible stains marring the ceiling. The underwhelming service and the distressing cockroach encounter certainly do not justify the restaurant’s prices.

The incident raises concerns about the sanitary conditions and pest control measures at MONMONO. The presence of a cockroach in the dining area is not only highly unappetising but also indicative of potential hygiene issues. This unsettling experience has undoubtedly left a lasting negative impression on the netizen and others who were unfortunate enough to witness it.

The black paella served.
Homemade tagliolini.
The oversized and haphazardly arranged platter of Churros, ice cream, and mini pineapple pancakes.

After years of operation, signs of wear and tear have become apparent, with visible stains marring the ceiling.