Old Street seems to have suddenly become the place to be. So much more than just a roundabout now, there’s cool pubs, trendy herbal tea and crumpet cafes, 20” inch artisan pizzas, and thanks to Urban Coterie, sky high fine dining too. The latter is the swanky new restaurant by Searcy’s and Anthony Demetre, located on the 17th floor of the M by Montcalm hotel.
In contrast to the more casual restaurant in the hotel, Tonic & Remedy, Urban Coterie is all white table cloths, sparkling city views, low lighting and romantic vibes — not to mention great food too.
We started our dinner with a few elegant amuse-bouches from chef Martin Zahumensky (the potato and Parmesan doughnut deserves a mention!) and a couple of glasses You can wait for each course watching the planes lift off from LCY.
The roasted scallop was a tasty starter with its rich jus and light, fluffy dumpling, as was the fresh and light Brixham crab with apple and celeriac. Ingredients and flavour pairings are a little off the beaten path here, you may have to Google a couple to things…!
My partner strayed away from his usual meaty choice and went for the Cornish cod with seaweed and fregola (Sardinian pasta, similar to giant cous cous). It was a hefty piece of a fish and a delicious combination of flavours.
I went for the gnudi; I’d never tried it before, but all three diners on the table next to us had ordered it so I felt confident that it would be good. It was bloody good; three gnudi were served with squash, Muscat grapes and a Parmesan cream, and it was rich and flavoursome yet light all at once. (Gnudi is ‘naked’ ravioli and a type of gnocchi, made of balls of ricotta mixed with Parmesan, rolled in semolina and then boiled.)
We got the pan-fried crosnes as a side dish – Japanese artichokes — crunchy, earthy and delicious cooked in butter they are too, Full and satisfied from two wonderful savoury courses, we decided to forego dessert (despite hearing on the grapevine that the custard tart was wonderful). It’s just as well we did, as the chef delivered two pistachio-topped rum and vanilla canelés to go with our espressos, which were incredibly delicious (it’s been two weeks and I’m still thinking about them!), and a perfectly sized sweet treat to finish our evening.
Views and fine dining don’t often mean cheap and this place is no exception with our starters over £10.50 each, and mains around the £20 mark. Though, it’s definitely worth it for a special evening or occasion.
Words by Alice Tate, you can catch her @ALICETATE