8th September 2015 6pm
I was invited to try out Mothers by the new guy who has just taken over the kitchen and is trying to expand food side of the business. All credit to him that we were offered the option to go secretly to review. However as it is not my purpose to try to catch out restaurants, I was happy for them to know when I’d be there. As a bonus I was offered a gin flight, which was a nice touch.
Mothers is situated on Howe St and has a cute frontage, including a fake lawn to welcome you. We entered in and found a relaxing setting inside. We went to bar and whilst waited to be shown to our table, spotted a small dog wearing a bow tie sat at the bar with his owner. Whilst gin bars can come across as pretentious, Mothers doesn’t fit into that category (apart, perhaps, from the dog at the bar). We were shown to our table by the front window which was a nice spot. However, there are booths throughout the venue. We settled down and had a look at the menu, which the waitress did apologise for being on such massive boards. The menu had a select variety of options. Starters ranges from bruschetta to kedgeree cake and mains from a toastie to a pan roasted breast of chicken. I’m not sure if Mothers is confident with its direction yet as the menu seemed a little confused but we certainly were struggling to nail down which of the tasty sounding options to try.
The gin flight then arrived. We were given four gins to try between us and two tonics. This was where the front of house staff really excelled. It was clear there was a passion and knowledge of gin. However, this was all carried out with a bit of cheeky banter (without being over the top ) and really engaged us. If you are wanting to try something new, you can feel confident they will pick something right for your palate, as we were correctly directed to the drinks that suited our differing taste buds (I like sweet and fruity where my friend prefers a more bitter drink). The garnishes and tonics were a perfect match.
We then got down to the business of ordering the food. I went for Brazilian chicken bites to start followed by a Thai inspired salmon dish. My friend went for a ham hock terrine followed by fish and chips. Once the starters were brought to the table, we were ready to tuck in and the presentation encouraged us to do just so. My Brazilian style chicken bites were not quite what I expected but that was a good thing. The chicken was pulled and held together in lightly coated ball shapes. The spicing was just right, with enough flavour to make your mouth dance but not require a fire extinguisher. The accompanying coriander and lime dip worked well to balance and was a generous portion for plentiful dipping. My only issue was that it was quite thin so I dripped it down myself (I am such a messy eater). On the other side of the table, the terrine was going down a treat. The toast was good and I have to say I was a little envious. The terrine was full of flavour and my friend, who is often dubious of chutney, really enjoyed the pear chutney and felt it was a perfect accompaniment.
Onto the mains and the salmon looked appetising. Cutting into it was effortless as the fish flaked beautifully. The salmon was on top of a sweet potato and coriander potato cake and some aubergine slices. There were a couple of crisp courgette slices on top. All this was surrounded by a coconut sauce, with Thai spices. The sauce was the right amount and didn’t drown the fish. Maybe the skin could have been a little crisper but that might be personal taste. The fish and chips were a generous portion. The chips weren’t the most appetising to look at by my friend said they were cooked well and had great flavour. She would have liked them a bit more crispy but I like my chips softer. You cannot please everybody! Notoriously, my dining companion doesn’t like peas but enjoyed these. She thought perhaps there was lemon and butter on them to perk them up.
We couldn’t manage a full dessert each. So, upon recommendation, we went for the peanut and caramel cheesecake to share. What a good recommendation that was. The cheesecake was not too heavy and the caramel sauce was not sickly sweet as it was broken up with flakes of chocolate and bits of peanut. We managed to devour this easily and quickly.
Staff showed passion and enthusiasm and really made us feel welcome . We could also see it wasn’t just to impress us. Diners across the venue were all being treated with the same enthusiasm.
The food was solid and the service first class. Whilst I think the menu needs a little tweaking to move to the next level, we are already planning to go back to try one of the sharing platters and some more gin.
Food – 7.5/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value – 8/10
Overall – 34.5/40
Cost – complimentary but I guess it would have been around the £55 mark depending on the gin prices
Please note that whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Jimmy for arranging.