Over the last thirty years most will recall Sea Containers House on the South Bank as a huge, imposing building, lacking in character sat next to the swanky Oxo Tower. Now Morgan’s Hotel Group, with a little help from designer of the moment Tom Dixon, has transformed this edifice into The Mondrian Hotel – a shimmering 359 bedroom beacon on the Thames.
Strolling the South Bank on a sunny afternoon is unbeatable, so I enter via the restaurant riverside entrance. Mistake! Apparently a huge copper “hull” sweeping from hotel lobby to restaurant kitchen is visible from street side. Next time…
Our table is placed in prime location by the huge floor to ceiling glass wall, complete with phenomenal riverside views. As the sun begins to set the incredible backdrop could even detract from the experience inside.
Have you heard of Dandelyan? It’s the swanky bar within the Mondrian Hotel that’s dazzling the capital. Good news is you don’t need to trek up to the roof bar to enjoy the cocktails. You can have them from the comfort of your river-facing Sea Containers dining table, which was good news for us. And to make ensure we gave an honest, balanced review – we tried a lot!
My new found love of whiskey meant the bourbon based Kentucky Elixir, with passionfruit, egg white and celery mixer hit the spot. The latter adding a savoury aftertaste that cut through the caramel whiskey. My colleague, a classier lady than I, opted for an elegant strawberry, prosecco and egg white concoction.
The trendy New York style sharing menu at Sea Containers is divided into raw foods, small plates, flatbreads and large plates to share. We order a selection of all to get the full experience. Blistered and salty Padron Peppers arrived first, the perfect snack to complement our cocktails. Next up comes a plate of juicy and flavoursome Lamb Meatballs, sat on a creamy soft cheese base with sharp vinegary notes coming from pickled cucumbers slices.
Two forms of salad arrive next, both worthy standalone dishes. The first is a combination of classic flavours – mushroom, cheese (a Basque hard cheese named Idiazábal), truffle oil, pine nuts and a hint of lemon. The mushrooms are served raw and shaved, keeping the dish light. The next is a Kale & Cavolo Nero Salad, which is bursting with fresh full flavours like lime, chilli, walnuts, avocado and pumpkin seeds. This dish is a nod to healthy eating without comprising on taste.
The plat de résistance is a whole grilled Sea Bream which is, of course, delicious. The freshness of the fish is tangible on the taste buds and the citrus salsa verde served alongside is a sharp and zesty accompaniment to the soft flaky bream. We washed this down with Huia, a dry, gooseberry-infused 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough – a fitting choice.
Being in an American inspired eatery, we opt for the Banana Passionfruit Cheesecake topped with Snickers ice cream and peanuts. Indulgent, creamy and sweet, it most certainly undid all the good work of the earlier salads and grilled fish. From the US to a taste of home in the form of Apple & Pecan Crumble, completed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. All the familiar flavours you’d expect from a crumble but modernised and deconstructed to bring it into 2016.