Malta – South Eastern Region – Valletta – Cheeky Monkey

A lot of restaurants and cafes in Valletta often have quite old-fashioned frontages, but Cheeky Monkey looks and feels modern. It’s well presented and their web-site is up-to-date, something which numerous restaurants in Malta don’t seem to concern themselves about.

I visited on a rainy late afternoon in February, so it wasn’t a surprise that it wasn’t that busy. There was a friendly welcome from a staff member, not just a “hello”, but something that actually seemed authentic and personable. So, my first impressions were rather positive.

Having craft beer is obviously a huge bonus for my enjoyment of a location, and although I’ve had this beer a few times, I like having it as an option. It’s the Fungus Rock dry stout from Lord Chambray Brewery on Gozo, one of the few local breweries. It doesn’t have the depth of flavour and afternotes that I’d ideally like, but it’s entirely acceptable. It transpired later on that I visited during happy hour, but the pub didn’t tell me that, which might have made my visit longer……

The fish and chips, which was neatly presented and everything was at the appropriate temperature. Far too often restaurants put peas on with fish and they’re dry and tasteless, but these were excellent and despite being green, they had a depth of taste. The breading of the fish was even throughout and had a decent flavour, although the portion size was only adequate. The fish itself was again fine, although slightly uninteresting. The chips were though excellent again, crispy on the exterior and flurry on the interior, with the tartare sauce adding some extra flavour.

It was all very acceptable and the prices weren’t unreasonable given the city centre location of Valletta. The service was above average throughout, always being attentive and polite. A staff member was going around with a tablet asking customers for feedback, something which I’m not sure works or not. I very much like the concept of it for picking up any issues, but they don’t seem to be doing anything directly with the data that they get. So if a customer isn’t entirely happy, I’m not sure if the pub is contacting them either immediately or after the event. If it isn’t (and they didn’t contact me), I’m not sure it’s a great idea, but the concept of immediate feedback is an interesting one which is very rarely done in this manner.

But, everything was clean and organised, and I’d certainly go again, particularly as the staff were so friendly.