Latest opening: M Canary Wharf

By Restaurant

- Last updated on GMT

Images: Rene Deker
Images: Rene Deker

Related tags Martin Williams M Restaurants Restaurant Gaucho Fine dining London

Martin Williams' much-delayed restaurant, bar and private members club sees the extrovert restaurateur back to doing what he does best.

What​: Located in a 220-metre residential skyscraper ​known as the Diamond Tower minutes from Canary Wharf station, it is the third M restaurant to open in the capital, joining sites in the City and Victoria. Almost seven years in the making, the restaurant has the wagyu-focused DNA of its siblings but with a French Riviera style not seen by the group before.

Who:​ M takes its initial from founder Martin Williams, the CEO of Rare Restaurants, which also owns the Gaucho group of steakhouses. Long-term chef and culinary director (and another M) Mike Reid oversees the menu and is found in the kitchens when he’s not splitting his time between the UK and Australia.

The food:​ Anyone familiar with M will know the restaurant has a deep fascination with wagyu and there’s no change here, with dishes such as wagyu tartare, and a wagyu tasting plate on offer alongside specific cuts of Beeswax Blackmore wagyu and kobe e grade 10+/A fillet, which it says is the highest grade of kobe available in the capital. Other steaks are available, such as cuts of USDA Sirloin, Argentinian ribeye and rump, and British fillet and sirloin as well as dishes including pan-fried halibut with basil and courgette puree; black gnocchi with artichoke; and fire-cooked chicken with grilled corn and hasselback potatoes. The restaurant also offers a number of different menus including breakfast, brunch, bar food, celebration, and group options.

Wagyu-scotch-egg,-M-CW,-Rene-Deker-web

To drink:​ Oenophile Williams and sommelier Zack Charilaou have put together an extensive international wine list with offerings from renowned producers as well as small, independent wineries, many of which are exclusive to M. In keeping with the Cote d’azur’ focus of the menu, Provence and its neighbours are given top billing ahead of wines from the US, Argentina, Italy, South Africa, and Australia.

The vibe:​ Housed in a glass box with views over the swimmer-filled waters of Canary Wharf and also the Thames, M is about as far cry from the more traditional wood panelled and darkly lit steakhouses as possible. It's not just a steakhouse though with M’s interior channelling a more high-end Mediterranean brasserie vibe that runs throughout the 10,000sq foot venue. The restaurant is a collection of different spaces each with a similar feel but with their own singularity including a couple of large PDRs, a wine tasting bar, and a private members area. The room also features numerous different textures, the highlights of which include a stunning blue and white marble floor at the entrance to the first-floor restaurant and a wooden ceiling in the members area that echoes that of a classic mahogany speed boat found on the French Riviera.

And another thing:​ On the ground floor and with its own entrance you’ll find La Petite M, a small café serving pastries, salads and sandwiches as well as a handful of dishes served in the restaurant above.

10 Newfoundland Place, London E14 4BH
www.mrestaurants.co.uk

M restaurant feels comfortable in its docklands location

Martin Williams’ bold and shiny new M Restaurant has a natural affinity with its Canary Wharf surrounds, says Stefan Chomka.

Martin Williams opened the first M restaurant in Threadneedle Street in 2014, a multifaceted restaurant that combined M Raw and M Grill as well as a large bar and private members area. The location felt fitting for Williams and his new brand that targeted the city and worker demographic he had previously catered for so successfully during his time at Gaucho.

A second M followed in Victoria in 2015 in the new Zig Zag building, this time a large subterranean venue with private members bar and wine shop at street level. While being as brash and smart as the original venue, the more transient nature of the Westminster crowd has never really seemed to fully suit what Williams is trying to do there.

There is no such incongruity with his latest restaurant, launched last month in a large residential skyscraper to the west of Canary Wharf tube station. Located on the first floor its large windows afford numerous perspectives of the Wharf’s middle dock on one side and the Thames on the other and with a ground floor terrace space for the summer months there’s plenty of reasons beyond the food to pay it a visit.

Williams, a former actor, is a born showman and he’s in his element at Canary Wharf. You can tell he’s had a lot of fun with his multi-faceted space that echoes his love of good food and wine, but which also bears his trademark flamboyance – the wood-panelled ceiling members area and his ‘steak roulette’, where diners spin the ‘wheel of steak fortune’ to decide their dinner just two examples. M’s varied menus show that he’s happy playing to a large crowd, with a brunch menu that features everything from cassoulet and steak frites to French toast, crepes Suzette, and waffle, eggs and bacon. As a result, it’s hard to find an occasion or type of diner that isn’t catered for by his new project.

Williams secured the site for M way back in 2016 before construction on the building had begun, gambling that Canary Wharf would continue to grow as a community. The gamble has paid off, with the area having a bustling dinner and weekend brunch trade, although lunches remain more challenging. West of Jubilee Park is Wood Wharf, where rival steakhouse Hawksmoor has set up shop and where brands including Dishoom, Zia Lucia are opening soon and where restaurateurs Fernando Trocca and Roberto Costa are also rumoured to be coming. Williams instead chose to go east of the park, where M stands as an outlier. You know it’s just as he’d wanted.

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