The Mondrian has opened its ship inspired five star hotel in the old Sea Containers building right on the river near Blackfriars Bridge. It’s a pleasant, if not a little showy, hotel with a large tin covered ship’s hull running all the way along the reception and through to the restaurant.
The dining room is all open plan with a semi open kitchen and lively music in the background – it’s a bit plain but perfectly fine. We had a seat by the window with a lovely view of St Paul’s which was nice.
I knew I wasn’t going to hugely enjoy the food when our waitress described the dishes as “delicious and really healthy”. To start, we went for the kale salad (£10) which featured apple, pecans, avocado, yoghurt, chillies and a dill vinaigrette. It lacked depth of flavour and excitement; it tasted like all of the said ingredients had been thrown into a bowl and left to wilt for a few hours. There was a lack of chilli too.
The smoked lamb flatbread (£11) should have been described as a yoghurt flatbread as there was so much of the bloomin’ stuff. There was hardly any of the promised rich, smokey lamb – it all just felt very healthy. Even the base was wholegrain; it tasted like a crispy pita bread.
From the raw section of the menu we opted for the salmon crudo (£11) which was basically a deconstructed salmon blini. The smoked salmon was of good quality but the fennel and dill yoghurt (they do love their yoghurt) was overkill as it made everything too wet. The only thing I did like was the crispy salmon skin which had been deep fried – finally some flavour!
From the ‘Large Plates’ section of the menu, or ‘Big Boys’ as our waiter described them, we shared the double cut heritage pork chop (£42). Served on a large wooden board it looked impressive but that’s where the fun ended for me. It was undoubtedly a well cooked and great quality piece of meat with a serious gammon-like flavour but it was just a bit boring. Served with a giant mound of watercress and a crunchy carrot vinaigrette it didn’t knock me for six. Not in the slightest.
There weren’t any potato sides which seemed a shame so we opted for the seasonal vegetables (£5) which was randomly a celeriac gratin. Hoorah, a cheesy, gooey creamy delight right? Well no, as even that felt healthy. Rather than a thick rich sauce it was very thin and watery. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t provide the comfort factor that I was longing for.
For dessert we ordered the homemade cookies (£4) which were pleasant but no better than you’d find at Pret. The chocolate cookie contained no actual chocolate just cocoa powder which was a shame. From the Sundae section I ordered the carrot sorbet with raspberry ice cream mainly out of curiosity. The carrot sorbet was simply disgusting but the raspberry ice cream was heavenly. A bowl of that with the accompanying stewed berries and granola would have been great – so why go to all the effort of making a carrot sorbet?!
Perhaps it didn’t help that I went to dinner at Sea Containers with a mild hangover but even so, it’s just not the sort of food I enjoy eating – or ever will enjoy eating. It was expensive too; for the same price we recently ate at Spring which featured big, bold hearty cooking with plenty of sustenance. That’s what I’m after. I didn’t hate it – I just didn’t get it.