Hanging out with Hugos, Alistairs and Tarquins in the confines of the trader’s square mile doesn’t grab one immediately when choosing a venue for supper.
The Gay UK were invited to sample the new summer menu at Raw, part of M Restaurant in the City 15th July. Threadneedle Street – around the corner from Bank tube station – isn’t our normal stomping ground, but the slick website and Chiltern Firehouse-pinched head chef enticed us.
Once you’ve waded through all the whistle-and-flutes, manoeuvred your way past the stuffy pubs and banker-filled eateries – tucked away at the bottom of Threadneedle walk – sitting in all her opulent glory is M Restaurant. A smart, slightly oriental, sizeable rose hidden by the thorny office blocks and cliché-finance retailers, bars and nosh-houses.
The owner Martin Williams has created a stylish mini theme park for adults. A steak restaurant – M-Grill, and separate fish restaurant – M-Raw, cocktail bar, wine tasting section, a secret den with glass lockers for members to store their very own bottle’s of Hendricks or cognac – plus four private dining rooms – all under one roof.
The entrance sits at the bottom of a modern day Gone With The Wind style staircase, where we received a warm welcome followed by directions up the apples-and-pears (stairs) to the cocktail bar.
You’ll feel as though you’re in a grand, contemporary hotel lobby. Charcoals, blacks and browns merge from the ceiling to the furniture. Slightly gothic and oriental style forest printed wallpaper gives the feeling of more space in the bar.
M’s mixologist took us in hand and artfully created our pre-dinner sharpeners – a couple of the M’s signature cocktails.
American Dandy: Woodford Reserve bourbon, Cocchi Americano, Cherry Heering, chocolate and smoked cherry syrup, Kummel and whiskey-spiced bitters. Much like an Old-fashioned with the whisky base and potency. Smoky, aromatic and infused with fleshy-ripe cherries. Original, and worth a visit alone.
Pink Jam Jar: Delaire Graff rosé, cider brandy, strawberry jam, lemon soda. We were just missing the scent of Piz Buin and an infinity pool. A grown-up ice-lolly in a glass.
Savile Row tailoring, Blahnik’s, Choo’s and Louboutin’s was the preferred regalia by other diners. Colour combinations worked. Not just a case of banker-bank-balances – we were in the presence of GQ and Vogue readers.
Our second aperitifs:
Monkey 47 Gin Martini: chilled Monkey 47 gin – lavender bouquet with fennel and parsley undertones – it slipped down quicker than the first.
Spiced Yute: four quarter spiced rum, passion fruit, mint liqueur, eucalyptus infused syrup. The Yute arrived with a flaming passion fruit – amongst the mint and sugary-stickiness hints of rosemary toyed with our tongues. A neat little number.
Once seated we placed the responsibility of selecting the sharing plates with our new BFF Magdalena.
To wash down the first few dishes two glasses of Veuve Clicquot seemed appropriate. Chilled, and served the Jay Gatsby way, in champagne coupes.
First up: cured tuna with miso, fennel and apple. Rich and almost cheesy, mingled with earthiness – the best dish of the night.
Kangaroo fillet tartare with mushrooms, egg yolk sauce, mushroom crisps and nasturtium. Much like venison: gamey, pungent and peppery – don’t leave without trying.
To help the rest of the digestion process a bottle of 2013 Faithful Hound Mulderbosch, a seductive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec – taut and rich with a dark core. Tobacco, cherries and berries hit the palate – cedar wood tickles your nose.
Next to arrive: duck rice paper roll with wombok, chilli and carrot. Similar to what you buy from uncle Mark and cousin Spencer pre-packed.
Six piece platter: sushi, sashimi, nigiri, pickled ginger and wasabi. Hakkasan, this is how it’s done – take note.
Hot stone smoked Iberico pluma with smoked olive oil. Shoulder cut of pork cooked by you on said hot stone. Juicy, tender and fun.
Bao (steamed bun) chicken karaage with coriander, pickled cucumber and firecracker mayo. The chicken was succulent with a crisp coating and was elevated with fresh citrus overtones. One requirement – lose the dry bun
Hot stone yellow fin tuna, soy, honey, firecracker sauce. Meaty, and full of flavour – worked well with the punch from the firecracker.
Head Chef Jarad McCarroll made an appearance.
Both puds were recommended by Magda – her knowledge was much like Mary Poppins’s handbag. And she made us feel supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
We shared: Dulce Fondant, salted dulce with coconut ice-cream and crumble. Fondalicious – toffee-texture – the right amount of bitter.
And the: Droplettes of blueberry, strawberry and basil with meringue, marshmallow, cream, berries and ice-cream. The basil lifted this pudding to another level. Great combo.
M is a reason to head where the bankers haunt. Take one with you as you’ll need his bonuses to pay the bill. A must try.
REVIEWED BY: Thabian Sutherland
ADDRESS: 2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle St, London EC2R 8HP
PHONE: 020 3327 7770
STAR RATING: ★★★★★ (explained)
PRICE: £££££ (explained)
TIPPING POLICY: Discretionary