M Canary Wharf is relatively new on the circuit. They already have two established sites in the city, one on Threadneedle street and another on Victoria street, a bit closer to theatre land and the west end. Their latest offering is located in the impressive Newfound Land building, towering above the incredible vista of Canary Wharf.
The M Canary Wharf Vibe
M describes itself as a Gastro Playground, offering a journey through the senses, amplified experiences and elevated hospitality, and they get it spot on! As soon as you emerge from the tube station, the location is impressive. If you’re a regular to this part of town, I would urge you to stop once again and look upon this panoramic with new eyes, it’s incredibly impressive. The welcome to M Canary Wharf was warm and friendly. A sleek and modern welcome lobby teases what is to come from an evening of sophisticated, yet modern, dining.
Bang & Olufsen speakers, playing out a mix of modern and ambient dance, nicely blend into the sleek décor, with a “modern living room” feel. The folks at M are striving for accessible sophistication. A treat, a sense of occasion, without any stifling stuffiness or snobbery. These are real people, who love good food, and a good drink.
Our evening started with a welcome drink in the normally exclusive private bar, with stunning views across Canary Warf, towards East London, with the shard glittering in the evening sun. We were welcomed with a glass of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne. I’m usually the annoying type who says “I prefer Prosecco”, but you’ll be pleased to know I’ve now changed my mind. It’s a crisp and light Champagne, the flavour is accessible and subtle, and it goes down far too easily! The room would be the perfect location for a private occasion for anywhere up to around 20-40 guests, and there’s even a private dining space off the bar. It’s satisfyingly hidden away through a “secret” door, which adds to the mystery and sense of occasion. I must also mention that the hosts are incredible, you will be looked after by the best in the business, they are clearly all passionate about the menu they are serving.
The M Canary Wharf wine experience
After welcome drinks we were invited to a blind wine tasting with Marina. I’m not a professional wine taster, and my experience is limited to “I’m picking up the distinct taste of grapes”, but Marina made this tasting session incredibly accessible, fun, informative and delicious! A distinctive collection of new and old world wines were presented, and this writer even got two correct answers (A new record for me!) when asked to identify the country. Clearly I know my Chilean wines, even if it’s all a bit subconscious (or maybe a lucky guess).
The wine list varied, and while there is a particular leaning towards Provence, which is evident across the menu as a whole, there are wines from all over the world here. Sommelier Zack Charilaou has commissioned a superb collection, with some adventurous treats which must be tried. There is a good mix of world famous producers, as well as a selection from small independent vineyards. There are over 100 wines by the glass, offering classic tastes as well as rare exclusives.
If you find the sight of a detail wine list rather intimidating, the front of house team will happily recommend the perfect wine to accompany your meal. The menu and wine list have been created in tandem for perfect pairing. The average “by the glass” won’t break the bank, coming in at £10-£20, a great price for the high quality you’re receiving from the entire selection. Alternatively, if you really want to splash out, there are some specialities available such as the 2006 Bordeaux Chateau Petrus which will set you back £7000.
Dinner was prepared with impeccable presentation by head chef Mike Reid. A starter of scallop with caviar was perfectly complimented by glasses of FMC Chenin Blanc and Newton Chardonnay, both elegant and crisp. Mirabeau Nude was next, a familiar flavour to those in the know and a favourite of my plus one, which perfectly complimented the Provençal focus of the menu.
Steak takes centre stage here at M, with a number of premium cuts available, some of the best in the city. We enjoyed a beautiful 100% Wagyu cut, M being one of the very few restaurants in Europe, and one of only 2 in London, to offer this grade. If you have never experienced steak at this level, I can highly recommend as an occasional treat, you will feel like you are experiencing a dish never tasted before. The M Collection Malbec Black label was an enjoyable and smokey accompaniment, but it was incomparable to the smooth and chocolaty 2014 Villa Regazzi. Villa Regazzi is exclusive to M in London, and was famously ordered by Barack Obama as his wine of choice for his final dinner at the White House.
There are cocktails too! We finished the evening, returning to the private bar, with a smoked negroni. It was beautifully balanced and a great accompaniment to watching the lights glittering across Canary Warf.
In a nutshell
I’m not sure I’ve ever visited a restaurant like M before. To achieve this level of fine dining, one usually has to resign one’s self to an evening of hushed conversation. M is hugely accessible, fun and genuinely relaxing.
Visiting feels like you are returning home to an old friend, a friend who really knows how to cook! The views are impeccable, the atmosphere relaxed, welcoming and fun. You can be yourself while enjoying one of the best menus and wine lists this side of London has to offer. Whether you are looking for a formal lunch or dinner location, or the perfect vista for an anniversary treat, M should be at the top of your list for a superb wining and dining experience.
To discover more, visit: mrestaurants.co.uk
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All imagery courtesy of M Canary Wharf / Rene Deker.