The Old Monk, New York, USA

A surprisingly quiet Mozambique Day of Peace and Reconciliation. We even managed to secure a large table for aperitifs on what is typically the most rambunctious celebration of the year.

Wheels suitably greased and blessed with a sprinkle of new faces, we ventured to Babu Ji’s old stomping ground. Now under new ownership, Old Monk aims for the same ‘contemporary Indian soul food’ vibe as its predecessor, but underwhelms. Using the Club’s traditional goalkeeper analogy, the tasting menu was a Petr Cech – solid, bland and probably used to be rated quite highly. You wouldn’t necessarily complain if the chairman secured him on a free in the January transfer window, but you’re not going to be thrilled when the ball’s at his feet. For the price paid, you’d expect something a little sexier, a Jordan Pickford perhaps, offering an additional element of excitement to the build-up play and a more obvious passion for the game (curry). Indeed, many diners were unable to tell the difference between the chicken and salmon dishes and the only notable shift in flavours came with the dessert course. Nevertheless, the staff were welcoming, enthusiastic and nice enough that we will not curse them with a sub-5 leaves review.

Post-dinner drinks were somewhat scuppered by the heavy digestive requirements of the aforementioned cuisine.

Old Monk Score = 6 curry leaves

Food – 1/2 (disappointing for what was supposedly a ‘tasting menu’)

Beers – 2/2 (solid choice and service)

Décor/Ambience – 1/2 (lovely pachmina awnings, but could do with other diners for atmosphere)

Popadoms – 1.5/2 (reasonable structure but waiters again failed to understand the importance of a prompt race)

Je ne sais quoi – 0.5/2 (a hint of je ne sais quoi, needs work)

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