Swish dishes at Mortimer House
Soak up the luxe atmosphere at ravishing space inside private members’ club that’s set over six floors
Thursday, 6th February 2020 — By Tom Moggach
Find ‘a workspace and wellbeing hub’ at this modern Fitrovia creation
FOR many of us, joining the gym is the closest we’ll ever get to a private members’ club. But London is stuffed with these exclusive institutions, many designed for a certain tier of society.
I once dined at The Farmer’s Club in Whitehall, where I interviewed a gentleman farmer down from the shires. My grandfather was a stalwart at The Garrick Club in Covent Garden, where it’s rumoured that female visitors were encouraged to use the back stairs.
Mortimer House in Fitzrovia is a far more modern creation: a “workspace and wellbeing hub” set over six floors, with a yoga and pilates studio, gym and guest chefs cooking on rotation. Membership packages start at £80 per month.
This Art Deco building – previously nondescript offices – has been transformed by clever designers from New York, who have restored the wooden floors, rolled out calming colour schemes and sprinkled the communal rooms with tropical plants.
I’ve never set foot in the club itself. Nor had a gym membership, for that matter. But the ground floor is open to the public and hosts a glitzy bar and restaurant.
Mortimer House Kitchen is a ravishing space, where subtle lighting deftly sets the mood. We sat at the bar, nibbling olives and admiring the herringbone floors and open-plan kitchen at the back.
The head chef is a highly rated Italian called Lello Favuzzi, whose cooking is mainly Italian with some fashionable Middle Eastern flourishes. Think tahini dressings, za’atar and labneh.
This fusion felt apt given that Rovi, a chic restaurant from Yotam Ottolenghi, is right across the road.
You pick from small, medium or large plates – dishes such as crisp soft-shelled crab, lamb meatballs, tuna tartare, beef carpaccio or whole Norfolk chickens to share.
Pastas are a feature, including a plate of homemade tagliatelle with girolles, crispy pancetta and marsala (£18).
With menus like this, it’s often wise to order an array of smaller dishes to share. We ripped chunks of warm bread to dip into tahini and enjoyed vegetarian creations such as leeks with toasted almonds and romesco sauce (£10).
Save space for the chef’s sensational signature dish (£14): bright red tortelli pasta, coloured with beetroot and filled with smoked burrata.
He slathers these in brown butter, with a crumble of pistachios and a few dainty drops of viscous balsamic vinegar.
If you want to snoop around the club itself, you can also reserve a slot with the guest chefs upstairs.
From February 13 to March 7, a Brazilian chef called Luciana Berry will cook every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to coincide with Rio Carnival. Her six-course menu (£48) stars dishes such as a fish stew served with steamed black-eye bean parcels and smoked prawns, with a side of grilled okra and cassava.
For a swish evening out, Mortimer House Kitchen is worth a shout. Grab a drink at the bar and soak up the luxe atmosphere. It certainly beats a trip to the gym.
Mortimer House Kitchen
37-41 Mortimer Street, W1T
020 7139 4401/4499