In Sant Antoni, on a newly pedestrianised street is a restaurant with an eyeless monkey mask hanging in the window. “Asian Kitchen & Bar” says the psychedelic writing while above Last Monkey is printed on the awning. This small spot with red stools and olive green walls in the Pan Asian concept of the Italian chef Stefano Mazza. Hailing from the Italian Alps, Mazza spent over a decade in Barcelona kitchens. In 2017, he went with his own concept a melding of Italian and Asian what he felt like eating.
A quirky Pan Asian restaurant in Sant Antoni with an Italian in the kitchen sending out unusual but delicious plates of food.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the on the house dish we receive. Gorgeous Spanish tomatoes, cut thickly, tossed in fish sauce and topped with a handful of dancing pale pink umeboshi flakes. Without knowing the man, I would hazard a guess that this is Mazza on a plate: unpretentious, powerful in flavour and without a thought for the cultural propriety of specific ingredients.
And hurrah for him. A dash of fish sauce will lift many a flavourless tomato. Fish sauce is not a uniquely Asian sauce. The Romans and the Greeks before them loved them some fermented fish guts – or Garum. It’s likely the fermented anchovies that have us reaching for the worcestershire sauce.
The menu at Last Monkey is affordable, a lunch menu comes in at under 15€ and includes most things on the full menu. There is a Filipino Tagalog beef cheek stew that we enjoy. As well as an unusual steamed dumpling doused in a rich egg yolk sauce and then sprinkled with bacon and parmesan. A dish of absolute fusion between Italian and Asian. One that I love but which my companions are unsure about.
With these prices, the location and the funky dishes, it’s an accessible place – aware of the neighbourhood it’s in and striving to be a restaurant at a price point that locals can enjoy. It is homely and whacky all at once with a lot of dishes that will have you wanting to come back and repeat.
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