meat would like to

Well ahead of its Ca­nary Wharf ar­rival, we sam­ple M in the City

The Wharf - - Focus - Jon Massey

New­found­land, the tower criss-crossed by di­ag­o­nal beams ris­ing op­po­site the main exit to Ca­nary Wharf Tube sta­tion is in line to get a branch of M restau­rants. So I put on my trav­el­ling shoes, hopped on the DLR to Bank and looked up one of their ex­ist­ing branches to get a flavour of the fu­ture.

Should the brand’s Thread­nee­dle Street restau­rant be trans­ported in its en­tire­ity to the Wharf, it would doubt­less fly. Ex­pan­sive in size, muted and stylish in ap­pear­ance and well ap­pointed with help­ful, pleas­ingly in­for­mal staff it could al­most have been pur­pose-built for the es­tate.

It man­ages a dif­fi­cult trick of hous­ing a busy bar, serene restau­rant and dis­creet mem­bers sec­tion un­der one roof with ap­par­ent ease.

The City types it at­tracts are well-heeled and mon­eyed as they need to be. M isn’t cheap of­fer­ing a Wagyu tast­ing menu for £165 per per­son and Kobe steaks for £1 a gram.

There’s a room lined with Hi­malayan pink salt for age­ing the hunks of flesh and our amuse bouche of raw Wagyu ar­rives on a disc of the stuff un­der a smoke­filled cloche.

It’s a place that is al­most com­pletely fo­cussed on tak­ing steaks from around the world and de­liv­er­ing them in to hungy mouths with min­i­mum frills and max­i­mum ac­cu­racy.

My blue USDA fil­let (£49.95) ar­rives naked on its tex­tured plate. Fries, a bright car­rot salad, a black pud­ding top­per (a must) and fire­cracker sauce are all ex­tra. Clearly the star of the show is the meat.

How­ever, while it is de­li­cious and well­cooked, it turns out my meal is made by the sides and starter.

The salad is bright and crunchy, the sauce sharp and bril­liant and the fries crisp and tasty. But best of all is the but­ter­fish sashimi that kicks things off (£12.50). Served in a Ponzu dress­ing with bubu (no, me ei­ther) and creme fraiche, the three soft sliv­ers of fish are elec­tric on the tongue.

Clean, clear and bright, they’re full of flavour – as good a prepa­ra­tioin for a main course as I’ve had in Lon­don.

And that leaves me with the im­pres­sion that it’s al­most a shame the em­pha­sis is so clearly on the cow. There are other things on the menu, of course, and should I visit again, I’d be tempted to sam­ple some­thing other than a big hunk of meat. All in all, my ex­pe­ri­ence bodes well. M can’t open soon enough in east Lon­don.

Above, but­ter­fish sashimi and right, USDA prime beef fil­let from Cheek­stone Farms in Kansas Be­low, M in Thread­nee­dle Street

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