Prawn to Run: Dinner at Rex & Mariano

For my birthday dinner, I’d heard wonderful things about Rex & Mariano. Yes, from Rosie Londoner but also from Jay Rayner – my favourite restaurant critic.

He’s a South Londoner like me, and he was actually one of the few people to write about Brixton Village before the restaurant scene there exploded (and before Franco Manca decided to venture out to Westfield of all places). When he wrote a rave review of Rex & Mariano, I decided it was the perfect place to celebrate being 25.

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It’s situated in the same location where the god awful Vodka Revolution bar used to be, in St Anne’s Court in Soho. Spacious, with very on-trend white metro tiles, we were seated right next to the open plan kitchen and given an iPad on which to order on.

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We ordered oysters to start, followed by tuna tartare with avocado, chilli and sesame oil which was delicious and one of my highlights of the whole meal.

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This was followed by a plate of lobster ceviche, which was light and beautifully citrussy with yuzu and orange. We then opted for the grilled red prawns (we were too squeamish to order them raw) which were mind-bindingly good. Honestly, if you go, order two platefuls of these and some bread to mop them up with. Properly delicious stuff.

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We then went slightly off piste with the fritto misto. My boyfriend loves this dish and if it’s on the menu he’ll always order it but I find it a bit too heavy. We were going to opt for the scallops with a side of courgette fries but they’d run out of scallops which was a shame.

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However, when we were paying the bill, my boyfriend told the manager it was my birthday and this was where Rex & Mariano firmly marched themselves into my good books. Not only did she very sweetly give us a shot of limoncello each, but she said she couldn’t let us leave without a birthday pudding and so we indulged in a nougat affogato which was the perfect end to our meal.

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