BACKGROUND London's Victoria district is undergoing a period of major redevelopment, particularly the area in and around the rail terminus, and Victoria Street is at long last starting to look pretty smart - this new luxury brand is a welcome addition to Victoria's new-look. M Victoria Street is the dining and drinking brand’s second venue, having opened in December last year (the first being M on Threadneedle Street). Founder Martin Williams has hand-picked an exceptional team including decorated sommelier Zack Charilou, and Executive Chef Michael Reid (previously of Le Gavroche, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Vue de Monde Melbourne and The Skinny Duck). THE VENUE The entrance to the restaurant is through the M wine store - from the street there is little evidence of there even being a restaurant, but take some time to have a look around the wine store as its worth a detour before heading down to the restaurant. There are over 300 different wines to choose from the six countries that the restaurant sources its steaks from - USA, Argentina, France, Italy, South Africa, and Australia. Over 100 exceptional vintages are available to sample by the glass or if you are feeling flush, by the bottle. The latest Enoteca electronic wine-tasting machines means wine can be dispensed without actually opening the bottle keeping the remaining wine in perfect condition. THE BAR Take the stairs down to the restaurant and the cavernous subterranean setting of M dining. In front of you is the M bar area, specialising in innovative Martinis and bespoke cocktails. For those in the know there is the M Den, a private members' room, a secret bar nestled away from the crowds. You can also eat in the bar, and the menu includes light bites from Raw alongside burgers, bao (steamed buns filled with and other street food style offerings. THE RESTAURANT The space is divided into two halves, M Raw, offering a lighter Asian style of cooking, including sashimi, sushi, kangaroo tartare, salads and super healthy juices, as well as energising breakfasts. The other half is devoted to M Grill, a two-tiered oval shaped room in muted shades of green and grey. The top tier features a series of half moon alcoves with studded leather seats, while seating in the lower half is around a large curved banquette with additional individual tables. THE FOOD M Grill is all about the meat. Glass-fronted refrigerators showcase the deeply coloured aged joints of beef, home made salamis and biltong, with Executive Chef Michael Reid personally sourcing all the meat, travelling the world to find the finest produce. I have been told I should ask him to show me the cow, such is his passion for beef he has the tattoo to prove it. Knowing this is going to be a meaty feast we opt for a light starter of Yellow Fin Tuna with pickled ginger and jalapeno chilli (£10.50) and cured trout with buttermilk, lime and pear (£9.00). Crisp clean flavours, super fresh fish and tangy pickles are a perfect way to start, especially teamed with a superb Argentinian Terrazas Torrontes 2014,(£39) - that really was the end of our light beginnings! Smoked Wagyu tartare (£15) is a house speciality so we shared one and I was so glad we tried it. Arriving under a smoke-filled cloche, which was opened up at the table and Foie Gras grated over it, it looked amazing. Served with warm slices of griddled brioche it was subtly smokey, and rich from the egg yolks and the not too finely chopped Wagyu. Delicious. We plumped for steak for our main course, but the menu had a good selection of slow cooked lamb, a whole duck (for two) even a pigs head. There’s one veggie and fish dish, but really this is a meat lover’s menu. Our knowledgeable waiter talked us through the steak, its heritage, origin, length of aging and advice on how to have it cooked. The range is impressive, from the Blackmore Wagyu that can only be found here, to a Galician speciality of 15-year old dairy cows, put to pasture and expertly matured. We went for the 48-day matured USA Creekstone Farm T-bone for two people (£90). There is a selection of toppings and sauces to go with your steak from Chimichurri to smoked bone marrow jus or half a lobster, foie gras or autumn black truffles. Our steak arrived perfectly cooked, crisp and caramelised on the outside, well seasoned and beautifully pink on the inside. Our sides of chips, tomato and baby gem salad were the perfect accompaniment to the rich foie gras topping. The steak was tender and deeply flavoursome, well-rested meat at its best. The quality was outstanding. With this we enjoyed a wonderfully fruity Argentinian Colome Malbec 2013 - there were many wines to chose from and prices were reasonable, our Malbec was £66 a bottle but had we chosen a Petrus from the Icon wine list it would have been slightly different. For dessert the chef's heritage shines through, the unusual twists reminiscent of the Fat Duck, or in this case the Skinny Duck. My Dulce Mousse (£6.50), studded with salty bacon grains enrobed a cool interior of sweetcorn ice cream and buckwheat crumble - sounds odd but it really worked, with its sweet, salty and earthy flavours. The meal was rounded off with excellent coffee and cute little doughnuts. THE SERVICE The staff here is well briefed, had an excellent knowledge of the food, were enthusiastic and passionate about everything giving great advice on both the menu and the wine. The sheer size of the wine list could have been intimidating, but the waiter was well trained at recommending something that suited your meal as well as your budget without being snobbish about it. VERDICT This is a great edition to the Victoria food scene and I'm sure it will soon be the go to place for those working in the area - it's also a great bar to meet friends and relax after work. The quality of the food will put it right at the top of foodie destinations in the area - that with the exceptional service make it a destination not to be missed.
- OPENING HOURS Mon–Fri 0700-0000, Sat-Sun 1000-0000
- PRICES Starters from £7.00, Mains from £16, steaks ranging from £19-90, Sides, sauces and toppings from £2-30, Desserts from £6.50, Wine £30-£3,000
- CONTACT M Grill, Zig Zag Building, 70 Victoria St, London, SW1E 6SQ; tel +44 (0)20 3327 7776; mrestaurants.co.uk