France - - Bon Appétit - Lara Dunn

Lo­cated in the oh so hip area of Shored­itch, in what is now known as Tech City or Sil­i­con Round­about thanks to the num­ber of web start-ups oc­cu­py­ing the area, the M by Montcalm Ho­tel ap­pears like a piece of mod­ern art, wedged be­tween two streets. There’s no miss­ing the ho­tel’s jagged mod­ernist forms, con­trast­ing wildly with the 19th cen­tury build­ing of Moor­fields Eye Hos­pi­tal across the road. Plate is the ho­tel’s brasserie-style restau­rant, pro­fess­ing a French-in­spired mod­ern menu. The restau­rant is split over the ground floor and the first floor, but a ta­ble by the win­dow on the first floor gives a great view out over the bustling streets be­low.

I started my meal with a gen­er­ous por­tion of Chalk Farm sea trout with a gravad­lax dress­ing and pink pep­per­corn yo­ghurt, which was fresh and de­li­cious, while my friend en­joyed her Nut­bourne her­itage tomato with fen­nel bread and le­mon ri­cotta a great deal. The dishes looked and tasted far more ex­pen­sive than their fairly mod­est price tags! The am­bi­ence of the restau­rant was bustling and busy but far from noisy, with the feel of a re­ally good wine bar about it, mak­ing it per­fect for more ca­sual din­ing as well as smarter out­ings. My main course of corn fed chicken breast with con­fit car­rot and gar­lic puree was ten­der and tasty, but felt slightly par­si­mo­nious af­ter such a gen­er­ous starter. My friend found the same with her but­ter­nut squash risotto with chives and buck­wheat. Still, there was plenty to eat, at a rea­son­able price, and the cooking and pre­sen­ta­tion was su­perb. Given the wine bar feel, the wine list felt a lit­tle lim­ited, but the rosé we se­lected was a per­fect an­ti­dote to a hot city evening. We unan­i­mously de­cided that the cheese se­lec­tion was the best op­tion for the evening, in­stead of a dessert, and the board for two was an ex­cel­lent choice, with some­thing for ev­ery­one.

There isn’t much of a tra­di­tional French feel to Plate as a restau­rant, but there is a dis­tinctly Gal­lic ap­pre­ci­a­tion for well­pre­pared and lov­ingly cooked good-qual­ity food. It was a great com­bi­na­tion of a pleas­ant at­mos­phere, ex­cel­lent food and good value for money.

Open lunchtime daily 12pm-3pm; din­ner Tues-thurs 6pm10.30pm, Fri­day and Satur­day 6pm-11pm, Sun­day and Mon­day 6pm-10pm Starters from £6.50, mains from £14. M by Montcalm Ho­tel Lon­don 151-157 City Road, Lon­don EC1V 1JH Tel: 0203 837 3000, mby­mont­


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