Sea Containers: All at sea

Have no doubt, Mondrian London is a destination hotel with wonderful design, stunning riverside views and a very cool bar. However, the restaurant could best be described as work in progress, with scope for improvement. In keeping with the rest of the venue, the look of the restaurant is not in question, with large floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the Thames, spacious tables and some neat touches (check the yellow submarine suspended above the bar). Maybe with such a backdrop and a steady stream of hotel guests to occupy the space, the rest does not matter, but we felt more could be done with the menu, while service might also merit improvement. Begin with the menu and bewildering would be the best word to describe it. In keeping with the current fad, all dishes are ostensibly designed for sharing (even if this may not be very practical with, say, a burger). The menu is then split into veggie, fish and meat sections, with each segment grouped into smaller and larger options. I’m all for choice, but our group of four was stumped as to exactly how we should mix and match. A number of the smaller dishes struck us as conceivable mains and vice versa, while pricing was no guide, with there being some seemingly anomalous items (flatbread for £13 appeared dear, while cured salmon at £12 a potential bargain). Eventually we settled on a couple of dishes to share to kick things off and then one apparent main each. Our dishes were relatively uncontroversial (think risotto, roasted John Dory or steak) and were executed competently, even if they did not wow. A couple of our party noted that, if anything, portion sizing was too generous or the dish perhaps too rich. Maybe there is something to be said for the idea of less being more. Finally, a note on service. We had a great wine list from which to choose, but it was disappointing to see that the white wine was brought to the table at an utterly undrinkable temperature. In general terms, it was hard to attract the attention of the servers and we had to endure some rather long waits. This is fine if you want to take in the view, but can be frustrating for the more discerning diner.