The second M Restaurant has officially launched in Victoria; an equally impressive younger sister to the popular Threadneedle branch.
In a city full of new restaurants and food experiences M has managed to pull off something original and memorable. Their double-edged menu of both raw and grill is a thrilling array of meat and fish dishes using an amazing selection of carefully chosen ingredients prepared and cooked in inventive ways.
Mike Reid is executive chef to both M Restaurants and his flair for creative cooking is immediately evident. I especially love how he has added some Australian touches to the menu after his recent stint there, such as the Tim Tam & Tea dessert (but more on that later). Now here’s a chef that isn’t afraid to leave the kitchen, reveling in chatting to guests, explaining his incredible menu and making recommendations when needed. It adds a personal touch to the dining experience and creates a closer connection to the food you’re eating.
M Victoria is opulent, warm and inviting. It is homely lux meets sophisticated eatery, which was achieved by using a top home interior designer rather than a restaurant specialist. It achieves the kind of homely, cosy environment that few restaurants manage to achieve, whilst at the same time retaining a modern edge. The dining room boasts warm copper fixtures, plush mint-green furnishings and stylish half-moon seating booths.
If you go to M you absolutely must start with the Smoked Wagyu Tartar. I never tire of the theatre of food served under a smoking dome, and especially in this case, it was more than just a gimmick; the beautiful raw meat sung with sweet smokiness. With a soft hen’s yolk resting delicately on top and wafer thin apple slices to finish it off, it was an outstanding starter. My friend went for the Biltong salad, with avocado, feta and rocket which was also delicious; their cured meats are excellent and you can admire the range in their tall, glass-fronted meat cabinet, proudly on display along one wall of the restaurant.
Moving on to mains, a steak here is an absolutely essential order. Red meats are M’s specialty; they take great care in sourcing and choosing their meats and there are no happy accidents here. They have six countries which they source from and have a wine selection to match. It’s a tough decision, choosing just one steak from the extremely tempting menu but I went for the Blackmore Inside Skirt from Australia, with sides of chilli-sprinkled broccolini and sweet potato mash. The steak, was exceptional, as expected. It had a delicious blackened exterior from the grill and the meaty flesh was cooked medium-rare as requested. Thin veins of fat produced a rich flavor and the texture was melting and tender. My friend enjoyed the Pigs Head which was also standout. A meaty croquette, accompanied slow-cooked pigs cheek with a sweet beetroot sauce and celeriac puree. I’ve enjoyed a lot of croquettes in my eating adventures, but this was by far, one of the best.
The dessert list looked wholly unique, inventive and far too tempting to decline. The afore-mentioned Tim Tam & Tea immediately drew my eye – having spent a year in Australia indulging in the chocolate-coated biscuits, I couldn’t resist. It was a gorgeously Aussie dessert with an English twist. The tea ice-cream was packed with delicate notes of our nation’s favourite drink which complemented the rich chocolate flavours of the ‘Tim Tam’ sable accompanying it. It was a refined version of this popular tea and biscuit combo which comes with a sweet nostalgia for anyone who has spent any length of time down under.
My friend went for the Dulce Mousse which combined bacon and sweetcorn but turned them into a heavenly sweet dish of whipped airy bacon and caramel mousse, which was hiding a dollop of sweetcorn ice-cream. It was surprising and delightful. We were talked into finishing the meal with a patron espresso martini, which is one of my ultimate favourites.
So the food is exceptional but there are too many other things I LOVE about M Victoria:
– Their secretly located M members room within the restaurant, boasting a huge screen for movie watching, a warming fireplace and huge inviting armchairs.
– Their doggy brunch which I’ve been to and can tell you is a hoot of a way to spend a Saturday morning. The puppy paparazzi will snap your pooch on the way in and our four-legged friends can enjoy their own treats whilst humans are treated to a range of M restaurant’s usual brunch delights.
– Sitting at their raw bar and watching the chefs at play – this is a whole new M experience and one that you should enjoy on a visit to the restaurant.
– Their beautiful and majestic private dining room, perfect for events and large groups.
– The wine shop upstairs selling a great variety of their specially sourced wine at trade prices, great if you’re looking for something other than the usual bottle of Rioja you pick up from the supermarket shelf.
It feels like founder Martin Williams has created a beast that has the potential to turn into London’s best loved restaurant franchise, but for now let us enjoy the two stunning restaurants he has given us, eating our way through the menu of finest prime cuts from around the world.
For food lovers, meat lovers, wine lovers, dog lovers, design lovers and general restaurant lovers, if there’s one place you need to visit in 2016 it’s M Victoria. I realize I’m gushing here, but I simply cannot help myself: I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.