Yesterday evening Greek Husband and I visited Mono in Plaka - at the edge of Plaka being close to the Cathedral - without reservation, around 8 o'clock.
In the main area, only about one third of the tables were occupied, but the serving staff told us that the empty tables were all reserved and sent us upstairs where was cold (it was an unusually cold day for mid May). A man who looked like the chef came and turned on a heater and we felt all right (I have a suspect that they sent us there because we had a discount card and wanted to reserve the better tables for the fully paying customers, but, if it were so, I don't complain as in the matter of fact I was not paying as much as those who in the better area - justice was made!).
We were asked if wanted tap water or bottled water. A nice gesture, although we got a bottled water.
I knew that Mono had became a tapas bar and I expected tapas on the menu, but there wasn't any. A waitress told us that they have switched to summer menu and I wondered that they changed also the chefs. The menu is divided into starters, salads, pasta & risotto, main dishes (meat and fish), and dessert. The description sounded like Greek with Italian touch. They gave us also a wine list where there are many choices and all of them could be served in glasses. The cheap(est, I think) bottle was priced 12 Euro, so it is very good as restaurant-wine-price. A glass was from 3 Euro, I think.
Bread basket. The slices of bread were toasted and drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and thyme (I think it was thyme, not oregano, but I might be wrong). The sticks are grissini. We ordered also two different glasses of red wine (4 and 5 Euro each).
There was a rather long wait until the starters arrived and we finished the bread till then.
This is a starter called The Cheese. The white balls are a mixture of anthotyro, mint and either cream or yogurt, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The cheese was nice, but the salad was even better; red lettuce (trevisano), mint leaves, sliced pear, caramelized onion etc.
This is another starter called The Veggie. A sliced grilled aubergine, various grilled tomatoes, zucchini, and red/yellow peppers, flavoured with generous amount of fresh thyme. White paste is citrus-flavoured yogurt, I think. Essentially an interpretation of grilled vegetables (verdure ai ferri). Nice, although I thought it should be less salty.
Main dish. Shell pasta with seafood came unfortunately lukewarm. This was an interpretation of Greek octopus pasta. It came in a generous portion. If you were a big eater, you might be happy, but otherwise you get a bit board keeping on eating the same thing. I would rather give it a pass.
Another main dish, slow cooked pork belly, served with roasted peach and sauteed French beans. This again came in a generous portion. The pork was soft and there was a smoky flavour. We liked it very much, although we did not managed to finish all the fat (it was pork belly; what can we do?). The French beans were sauteed with butter. But, the meat being so fatty and sticky, I think it is better to be served with French beans with vinaigrette.
We did not manage to arrive at the dessert and concluded two espresso.
Now, the bill. Without discount, it came to 54 Euro (we actually paid 38 Euro + 5 Euro tip). We both thought it was quite fair value for money, even without discount. GH, who paid 25 Euro at a grill (psistaria) the day before, was very impressed. And it is in Plaka!
Mono has changed over the years. I know at least 4 phases without actually eating there, so how many more. At this moment, I think it is in a positive phase. Try to visit while they go through yet another metamorphosis.
Benizelou Palaiologou 4C Plaka, Athens,
+30 210 3226711