It was the last restaurant I visited in 2014 and the first one I’m reviewing in 2015 – appropriate enough for a finish or start to a great year of dining as any I reckon. My late night dinner at M – a newly opened and rather slick two-in-one restaurant plus wine bar combo just a stroll from Bank Station – was a delightful chance to sample from a menu full of tartare, tiradito and sashimi selections that didn’t leave me feeling raw.
M is the first solo project from Martin Williams, who left his role as Managing Director of Gaucho Restaurants earlier this year after almost a decade with the company, to establish his own restaurant group. So expect a grand (if comfortable) affair when you go. The space is indeed over-the-top and suggests a luxury dining experience. And when you do, I recommend going with at least a few friends (preferably with somewhat adventurous palates). I visited as part of a festive quartet of foodies and thought it proved the best way of making the most of M’s “Raw” menu of easy to share plates. However, word from a City worker buddy of mine is that M does an express lunch that’s efficient and wallet friendly (for City workers anyway).
Highlights from our dinner were many. I loved nibbling at M’s sashimi sampler (two pieces each of four types of sashimi, £19). The smoked eel was especially flavoursome, and having our waiter grate fresh wasabi at the table for us was a super nice touch. I also enjoyed (just as much if not a bit more) the Blackmore Wagyu sashimi (20g, £12), while the tartare and tiradito “rainbow” (albacore tuna, scallop, trout, fennel salad, £8.50) pleased as well. And a “Forbidden Hot Pot” of oglet cooked over coals and served sizzling (200g, £18.50) had me connecting with my inner caveman and coming up with a plausible theory as to how this restaurant got its name (‘MMMM this is so frickin’ delicious!’).
Black quinoa (with brown rice, red onion and fennel, £6.50) and peas with English wasabi (£6.50) were ideal (and ideally healthy) sides. However, the black cod ramen (fresh noodles, nori, slow cooked egg, bamboo shoots, £18) was a bit of a letdown as it looked better on the menu than it tasted in the bowl. Though its broth was rather delicate and slightly moreish, there are far better ways to savour such a yummy fish.
The wine list was a good one (enjoyed a reasonably priced bottle of Cote du Rhone) and the cocktails were intriguing (thumbs up for the multitude of choice when it came to requesting an Old Fashioned). Desserts were just okay.
Service seemed to be finding its way – as one might expect on the 30th of December only a couple of weeks into a soft launch. Nothing happened to put me off returning, which I would be more than happy to do again soon.
Beyond Raw, where we dined, there’s a grill specialising in the “finest steak cuts from around the world” and a wine room where “Enoteca machines will offer a range of the world’s highest quality and rare wines to taste from taps.” Save for a catastrophe, expect to see more M concept eateries rolled out “in several futuristic developments, tipped to become iconic features of the London skyline, which are under construction but undisclosed.”
M is located at 2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, EC2 8HP. Find out more at mrestaurants.co.uk.