There’s something quite impressive about London’s skyline, particularly in the city. 2019 saw the completion of many towering blocks and modern high-rise apartments to pepper the East London landscape. It’s from here you can enjoy some impressive sweeping views of the city, away from the busy streets of central London.
We visited Mthr restaurant (pronounced ‘mother’ we assumed?) in the new Cross Harbour development within The Collective – the world’s largest co-living space.
What is a co-living initiative I hear you ask? Well it was news to me too so I read with interest that it’s a new community focused place to live, socialise, eat and work.
Anyone who works for themselves can attest that it can be quite isolating (Christmas parties for one anyone?) but also you miss that interaction when you need to discuss ideas or simply enjoy a chat in the kitchen. The Collective houses 705 rooms spanning 21 stories, and comes complete with restaurant, library, gym, swimming pool and spa. Mother, may I? This was a concept I could get on board with.
Providing creativity and community in the heart of the City, we ended up taking a taxi from the Friday night crowds at Canary Wharf and pulled up to the tall modern building entrance. The newly developed area looked quite isolated compared to the vibrancy of Canary Wharf, but with the surrounding buildings, it won’t take long before this will make its mark as a buzzing destination.
Walking from the lift to the restaurant on the 20th floor, we could see the 14 ft pool and its impressive views, and I quite quickly wished I was there for longer but as we entered the restaurant, what greets you first through the entrance double doors are *those* views of London.
By day, there’s comfy sofas and side tables upon entrance where you can come and relax. Soaking up the view through the floor to ceiling windows would definitely lower the blood pressure and release that ‘aaaaahhhh’. By night, sounds from the DJ were playing some great smooth RnB classics, while the central bar offers a good range of wines, beers, cocktails and spirits. It’s great place if you want a quieter alternative to the crowds in the city or capital. Yes, this is a place to come relax, mingling and chat to others.
If you’re visiting the restaurant though, take advantage of either bright sunrise and breakfast or fiery sunset and dinner. Breakfasts here feature a Market Table where guests staying in the rooms, or coming for meetings, can serve themselves or order from the a la carte menu.
We missed the sunset (damn you early winter hours!) but the lights of the city were just as mesmerising. We were led to our table, past the inviting central bar, where we started to check out the familiar sights. From the tall recognisable city skyline around Canary Wharf to the white beacon signalling the O2. We had views of Greenwich and could make out the Cutty Sark and The Observatory.
Our friendly waitstaff were there to greet us and guide us through the menu. Arnaud Delanney, Executive Head Chef of Mthr wanted to really create a menu that celebrates community, sharing and an informal dining atmosphere. His innovative sharing dishes changes with the seasons and are inspired by global influences and with ever-changing seasonal salads, meats and fish, provides diners with new options on a daily basis.
The menu is designed around snacks, small and large plates as well a bigger “Family Style” share dishes which are placed in the middle of the table. We were advised to pick two starters, one small dish, on large dish and sharing dish for the both of us.
For snacks we had the spicy Cauliflower Pakora which was cooled by a fresh Green Chutney (£6), and Fries with a tangy Lime and Nori Mayo (£4) to share.
Our small plate was the Sardines on Toast with Basquaise Peppers (£8), fresh, light and bursting with flavours from the peppers, we continued our tastebuds’ European voyage with the Peterhead Cod with Chorizo and White Beans Stew (£17). As a large dish, this was a meal in itself. The saltiness of the Chorizo provided great flavour and the white bean stew was a hearty accompaniment to the cod.
Finally, to share we enjoyed the Marseillaise Bouillabaisse with Bass, Gurnard, Mussels, Prawns. Presented in the pan, it was served with a flavoursome soup on the side which was rich, smooth and again, provided a complementary hearty balance to the delicacy of the fish.
The manager’s choice of wine for us, a 2019 William Robertson Chenin Blanc (price £19), was crisp and light – ideal for such homely, heart-warming dishes.
As we enjoyed our meal, we looked around and there something quite comforting watching big tables together eating and talking. Whilst you’re 20 floors up, unlike other sky-high restaurants, you don’t feel as disconnected, but still part of the community within, and the local area around you.