New restaurants open in London on a weekly basis, but when a cool new restaurant opens in your neighbourhood, that’s something to get excited about. Victoria, where I live in London, is undergoing a total regeneration which means lots of new restaurants (yay), shops (double-yay) as well as offices and residential areas. When we heard a new M Restaurant was opening we kept our eye on the site and eagerly anticipated the launch. Once the doors were welcoming people in, Mr S and I headed down one Saturday for a date night at our new local.
M Victoria Street is so much more than just a restaurant. On the ground floor level is a wine shop which stocks high-end and unusual wines from six countries specially selected for their love of both wine and steak. Upstairs from the wine room is a mezzanine level tasting room where there are plans to host wine dinners and private launches. The tasting bar itself is interactive with enothentic machine or taps that allow customers to taste and sample the fine wines.
Downstairs takes you to a large multi-functional space which is fronted by the lively bar area where a DJ was already getting the atmosphere going. There’s the choice of two restaurants; as we wanted a light meal we stuck with healthy M Raw but the larger restaurant on the other side, M Grill, specialises in steak. The set up is very similar to the original M Restaurant in Threadneedle street which I visited earlier on in the year soon after it opened.
An open kitchen allows you to look straight into where the action is with the option of dining at the bar or on an individual table.
As Victoria is more of a corporate than a residential area, we tend to find bars and restaurants are busy during the week but empty at the weekend so it struck me as being interesting that M Raw was packed full. As Victoria has a lot of chain restaurants, it’s not really a place for destination dining but it looks like the multi-faceted space of M Victoria Street is set to buck this trend.
Complimentary snacks are bought out and beautifully presented on a slate. From left to right we enjoyed biltong, puffed beef tendon and goats curd and caviar. One of the countries that influences both the wine and meat at M Restaurants is South Africa, hence the biltong, and we were pleased to see wines from vineyards that we’d actually visited on our trip earlier this year. I’ve been told by South African ex-pats that it can be difficult to get good South African wine in London, so M is the place to go for it.
We started off with one of the restaurant’s prettily presented bites. A taster of razor clam with yuzu, lemon cream and a hint of chilli. It was a delicious delicate morsel and a perfect amuse for what was to come.
By and large, M Raw does what it says on the tin and presents a range of healthy raw food with global influences. A simple yellow fin tuna sashimi came next with traditional accompaniments; always a winning dish for me.
Now one of the great things about my social media addiction is that I can eat with my eyes long before I actually try the food. I’d already been following M’s executive chef, Michael Reid on Instagram and I was keen to try his kangaroo tartar which was a very tasty mix of egg and mushroom ketchup. Clearly Australian ingredients are also influential at M and Michael comes to London after a two year stint working with Chef Shannon Bennet at Vue de Monde, an award-winning restaurant in Melbourne. Mr S and I have actually eaten at this incredible restaurant and I still remember it as one of my favourite meals of all time.
Next up was soft shell crab sushi, one of my favourites! The crab itself was beautifully crisp but the sushi rolls were rather heavy on the rice and I would have preferred more of the filling less of the carbs.
As well as the raw options that a few healthy hot choices and Mr S and I shared a small bowl of chicken ramen with egg and noodles. It had the perfect notes of salty, slightly sour and spicy that ramen should. As well as being great for a date night, Mr S and I thought we would be popping here for lunch too as there were some great quick, healthy options.
Finally for main course we choose Blackmore wagyu skirt which we cooked ourselves on a hot stone. Though I’m not a big meat-eater I love wagyu as it’s so delicate and tender and it just dissolves in the mouth. I think the idea of cooking it yourself on a hot stone is something you either love or hate but it’s interesting how different interactive elements are integrated into the overall experience at M. Those that are fans of the hot stone can also try it with tuna and pork.
Lastly dessert was white chocolate ice cream with olive oil sponge, meringue, lemon and cucumber. Unfortunately, this dish didn’t quite work for me and I would have preferred it without the cucumber but I happily nibbled on the shards of meringue. We were very much enjoying the atmosphere at M Victoria and we weren’t quite ready to go home, fortunately there was another space for us to explore. At the back of the restaurant is the private members club; a cosy den with comfortable seating, a fireplace and a private screening room.
The perfect place to snuggle up and enjoy a last couple of cocktails.
Mr S and I loved the atmosphere at M Victoria Street, I can’t tell you how great it is having a new destination restaurant in our local area. I’m sure we’ll be back time and time again, especially as we now need to check out M Grill on the other side.
70 Victoria Street
020 3327 7776
Our dinner was complimentary.