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Point and click - seafood made cheap and easy - our Test Drive of Rex and Mariano

 Point and click - seafood made cheap and easy - our Test Drive of Rex and Mariano

What do we need to know about Rex and Mariano?

It's the second opening in a busy month for the folk behind Goodman and Burger & Lobster. This time they've teamed up with fishmonger Rex Goldsmith for their take on a seafood restaurant. The idea is that they are using their buying power and swapping iPad ordering for waiters to bring down the usually high cost of eating top end seafood in London.

Where is it?

Hidden down St Anne's Court, which is that pedestrian passage linking Wardour Street to Dean Street. For those of you who've been around the block a bit (we count ourselves among you) this site used to be the telephone exchange restaurant with the (then) amazing gimmick of a phone on every table. This you must understand was pre-mobile phones. #old.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

There is a nice looking bar here with a few stools you could meet at. Alternatively, the bar at The Soho Hotel is handy or maybe a pre-dinner cocktail at newly-opened Basement Sate on nearby Broadwick Street.

Where should we sit?

The room offers various options. You could sit up at the counter and watch the chefs at work, head for one of the high tables near to the front or go old school with the normal table seating which is what we chose.

So you order by iPad - how does that work?

Suprisingly well - particularly as one of us has previous in the app user-experience field. There are various different pages to scroll through on the iPad left on every table. A few pages on cocktails, wine and drinks and then a page on their raw offering and what's on the grill. There are also a few daily specials up on the board. Click on what you fancy, place your order and in a very short space of time the dish is delivered to your table.

Don't order everything at once. Get a few dishes in and then order more as and when you fancy them.

It's seafood, but what kind of dishes can we expect?

We started in the raw section with tuna tartare (£7) - small cubes mixed with chilli, sesame and chives on a slick of avocado puree and carpaccio of salmon (£7) covered with chopped tomato. Both were generous portions, particularly for their size. To mop up the plates we ordered some of the heavenly bread (£3), which not only is made in house, is made in the dining room right beside you.

From here we moved into the grill section, particularly wanting to try the Sicilian red prawns which everyone's been raving about. At Barrafina on Adelaide Street, these are upwards of £15 each. Here a plate of smaller prawns, grilled and served simply with olive oil, grilled lemon and salt was frankly a steal at £10. Fish of the day was an exemplary piece of fresh tuna served up with tomatoes and salsa verde for £12.

Sides are similarly good and well priced. As with Smack Lobster (another of their businesses) there are courgette fries (£4) which come here without the addition of parmesan. You could also opt for chips, a tomato salad or artichoke with salsa verde, but we were stuffed by this point.

There's only one dessert - lemon sorbet (£3) which we didn't get around to trying.

What about the drink?

Here, they've teamed up with wine merchants Roberson Wines to offer glasses from £4 a pop. We opted for a 500ml carafe of Trousseu Gris from California's Russian River winery Wind Gap (£28). Don't make the mistake we did and think that the last of 3 price options is for a normal 750ml bottle - it's for a litre. There are also a few beers on offer and some retro cocktails - we might have to go back and try the Long Island Iced Tea (£7).

Overall thoughts

Once again the Goodman group have shaken up the scene with their take on seafood. The room, once it fills up, will have a tremendous buzz and the idea of popping in here for just a glass of Cavatini and some red prawns whenever the urge takes us is immensely appealing. As long as you don't massively pig out, your bill will be a pleasant surprise for London and there's always that low 5% service charge to add to the general rosy picture. We've already been back for lunch since our dinner last week - this is very handy if you're up West shopping. A keeper.

Rex and Mariano is at 2 St Annes Court, London W1F 0ZA. Find out more.

Hot Dinners were invited to Rex and Mariano. Prices were correct at the time of writing. 

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