Published on January 14th, 2015 | by Gavin0
Summary: Having consumed our way through the Japan influenced menu combined with the magical toilet, it is clear that M is a cut above
The Wow Factor
When you are so bold as to name your restaurant with one letter, you’re leaving yourself open to criticism. However, as it’s owned by former Gaucho MD Martin Williams and a star studded launch party late in 2014, if any venue can withstand the pressure, M has all the credentials to do so.
The newly opened venue on Threadneedle Street really is a piece of art; 15,000 square foot housing two (yes two!) 100 seater restaurants, wine bar, cocktail bar, private dining suites, and a secret den. The two restaurants in question are a fine dining steakhouse, as you’d expect from a product of the Gaucho group; but not quite as predictable is the Japanese Raw restaurant, which is where we are dining tonight. Although both restaurants are presided over by Head Chef Jarad McCarroll, they offer a very different dining experience.
Through the door it isn’t immediately noticeable that there are two restaurants; both sides of the room look similar, but it’s only on closer inspection that I notice the meat dryers on the left which signal me to take a right turn. The steak is the prize draw of M as it looks to contend with the big boys of the London red meat scene and that area is filled to the hilt. Raw however, is a much calmer affair; about half full which granted us a more tailored service.
Raw is described as casual dining with a large selection of small, fresh, and mostly cold plates. The menu is so varied that we are left bewildered, and it’s a good thing the waiting staff have time to go through the health conscious offerings. To start, we are recommended some tartare dishes and a few plates from the cured and smoked menu. Everything arrives and it’s beautifully presented on vintage style heavy ceramics.
Firstly and the most impressive on appearance is the cured langoustine covered in fois grae shavings. The thin slices of shellfish match well with the strong flavour of the French delicacy. Alongside, we have the steak tartare made with Argentinian beef, which is seasoned well and is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of tasting in a long time. However, by far the most impressive of all the raw dishes is the yellow fin tuna. Without doubt the freshest tuna tartare I’ve ever had, with my only complaint being that there wasn’t more. Furthermore, if the tartare isn’t to your liking, then I’d highly recommend the sashimi. Of the five available, once again the beef and tuna are the star dishes and although pricey at £8.50, it’s truly worth it.
Although the cold dishes were fantastic, I had to try a few of the ‘forbidden’ hot dishes and first up it was a personal favourite of mine, pork ramen. While respectable, given the recent influx of speciality ramen restaurants in London, I’ve been spoilt for choice and if I’m totally honest, doesn’t quite match up to some of the best broths and noodles around. A slight blip but it’s back to business when the onglet beef arrives. The beef comes sizzling on a plate over coal and we are invited to pour soy sauce to get the smoke going. Once the show is over, we get to eating, and oh my lord, it is heavenly. The quality is evident from the first mouthful; every bite goes down better than the last. Although this doesn’t strictly follow the raw theme, it is a must try and an exciting preview of M’s other restaurant.
I usually wouldn’t mention the next part of my evening, but I can’t not talk about my trip to the bathroom. After a research trip to Japan, Martin was so impressed with the bathroom facilities that they imported a Japanese toilet! If you haven’t been to Tokyo, then prepare to have your mind blown. Heated seat; jets of water to massage your, ahem, private areas; and a blow dryer to finish you off. I’m not ashamed to say that this is by far the most fun I’ve ever had in a public toilet.
After playtime, I decided on a sweet. The Japanese aren’t known for their desserts and it’s much of the same here. The fruit ceviche is the pick; it’s an unusual twist on the traditional South American dish which isn’t to everyone’s taste, so if you are a fan of traditional puddings, I’d give dessert a miss.
If this review wasn’t enough to persuade you to pay a visit, it’s also worth noting that M has one of the largest sake wine collections in the UK. Having sipped our way through with the head sommelier whom spent time in Japan learning his craft combined with the magical toilet, it is clear that M is a cut above. A little pricey but that is to be expected given the effort that has gone into creating M; an impressive meal in an equally impressive venue.
M, 2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, EC2 8HPShare This Post