Offering its 'own upmarket cool': review of London's Mondrian Shoreditch hotel

If only I could start every day the way I do at Mondrian Shoreditch, eating breakfast overlooking its cobalt blue rooftop outdoor pool and City skyscrapers in the background.

It comes after a restful night’s sleep at the property, which has 120 rooms, and opened just a few months ago in its current guise – having previously been The Curtain hotel. I had visited it in the latter incarnation, which had a kind of elegant debauchery vibe.

However, it has now undergone a revamp in a bid to “re-establish Mondrian as one of London’s most innovative destinations for lifestyle, hospitality, culinary and mixology experiences for locals and travellers alike”. And to my eyes, it has taken on its own upmarket cool ideally placed to match Shoreditch’s fusion of hipsters, City workers, and deep-pocketed tech gurus of Old Street.

The hotel is just a short walk from Shoreditch High Street station, and as I approach I remember its prominent location on a corner of Curtain Road.

You can eat breakfast overlooking the hotel's cobalt blue rooftop outdoor pool, with City skyscrapers in the background. Picture: Rusne Draz.

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After checking in, and taking a peek inside a mirrored space by the lifts, which I see on the hotel’s Instagram feed has unsurprisingly proved very popular as a photo backdrop, I head up to my room. It’s a compact but high-end space, with a mainly green/brown colour scheme. There’s a decent minibar, a brown-framed mirror surrounded by lightbulbs, and a table and chair plus seating upholstered in shamrock green. The bed sits under geometric artwork and against white-painted brick wall, with brown, studded trunk-style bedside tables and a Marshall speaker.

The sizeable monochrome marble bathroom retains the excellent steam shower facility I remember from The Curtain, and which I again make use of, helping shake off the stresses and toxins of London. I then head downstairs for my evening’s drinks and dining, firstly to Christina’s Shoreditch on the ground floor, which has a backdrop mixing coral, blue and green, and includes large-scale artwork hand-painted onto concrete by Fred Coppin.

The venue can impressively lay claim to being an all-day coffee, cocktail, natural wine and katsu sando bar. Even better, by going there you are making the world a better place – it only sources products from local independent suppliers, start-ups, and brands “with social impact”. I also like the fact that the drinks menu details the alcohol strength of the cocktails, while I decide to bypass any chance of a headache the next day with a teetotal version named “pine” including Idyll Pine Forest Soda.

The revamped hotel 'has taken on its own upmarket cool ideally placed to match Shoreditch’s fusion of hipsters, City workers, and deep-pocketed tech gurus of Old Street'. Picture: Niall Clutton.

Artisan

I then descend into the basement for dinner at prestigious tapas restaurant BiBo Shoreditch, which showcases the talent of Andalusian chef Dani García who has secured three Michelin stars. He defines himself as an “artisan of flavor” who combines the products of his land with the techniques and ingredients of international cuisine.

While I’m tempted by his famous oxtail brioche, I instead opt for another of his flagship dishes – jamón croquetas, and they are heavenly, crispy-coated and topped with small slices of high-calibre ham whose strips of fat turn increasingly translucent from the dish’s heat. I also opt for the classic pan con tomate, a rich layer of scarlet tomato on crispy toast, which pairs very nicely indeed with a plate of more jamón ibérico.

But making a very good case for being my favourite dish is the BiBo grilled avocado with coriander pesto, feta cheese, and crème fraîche. I have until now never had grilled avocado, but this makes me a convert, the softened, creamy texture partnering well with the salty, crumbly feta, with the dish showing off more contrast in the form of it being served in a pool of olive oil, but topped with sharp, leafy greens.

Showmanship

There are so many other dishes I was tempted by – one table nearby is enjoying the showmanship of chorizo flambée tableside, while there is a selection of paellas (one of which comes with a whole lobster) that serve three. (I can just pretend the other two people haven’t been able to make it, right?) The next morning I have a lie-in, although had I been a less lazy person I could have gone to the in-house gym.

I ascend to the wicker furniture and geometric patterned fabrics of Altitude at The Curtain, for breakfast, before sadly having to check out, although I can’t say heading for a potter around the boutiques and artisan coffee houses of the local area is too much of a hardship. There is also Brick Lane/Spitalfields etc within walking distance and an embarrassment of riches in terms of other restaurants.

In summary, I am pleased to see the curtain rise again for this hotel, whose combination of steam, Spanish cuisine, and super-ethical food and drink proves a high-calibre performance definitely worthy of applause.

Nightly rates at Mondrian Shoreditch start from £299 inclusive of VAT and breakfast. Mondrian Shoreditch, 45 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT, tel: 0203 988 4455.

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