M Restaurant has taken the words of Bill Knott’s (Financial Times restaurant critic) and turned them into their new brunch concept. Talking of chef Michael Reid’s menu, Knott wrote that the menu ‘matches beauty with the beast’ and so this newly launched brunch has two sides to it. Light, fresh dishes matched with delicate, sparkling cocktails make up one half whilst the other consists of heartier, meatier dishes and cocktails with oomph. For me, the brunch was an instant hit and one that everyone should try and here’s why:
For those in need of something meatier, punchier and more beastly then you’ll want The Big M Burger from the beast side of the menu. The name says it all, it’s big. Two patties, onion rings, a soft, squishy buns, vinegary gherkins and a cheese sauce. It’s the sort of messy, ‘I’m not quite sure how to tackle this’ burger. You’ll just need to delve right in, manners out the window. You could eat it David Cameron hot dog style or you could pick it up, get your teeth around it, wiping the trickle of sauce that will inevitably run down your chin and embrace your inner beast. This isn’t going to look pretty, but damn it’s good. If the thought of that sounds just a little too carnivorous then you’ll also find croque madame, fire-cracker scrambled eggs with chorizo and coriander and a chicken karage with chillie and caramel glaze, nori kewpie mayonnaise and fermented daikon.
If you’re going to try a dish from each section of the menu then I recommend that you start with the beauty as it is made up of lighter dishes such as hake with parsley, swede and celeriac gratin and seaweed butter or cobia sashimi with cucumber and aged vinegar. We went for the classic avocado and poached eggs. Mixed with creme fraiche the pureed avocado is spread over toasted sourdough and is topped generously with two poached eggs and crumbled feta. It’s a safe bet but a good choice nonetheless. We also went for the burrata, a great hunk of creamy cheese with peas, punchy wasabi and cooling cucumber – a winning combination. Food envy, is up there with one of the worst kinds of envy for me (such is the glutton I am) and this had me envious of my Mum.
As is now custom the brunch is of course bottomless. For 90 minutes you can work your way through beer, wine, prosecco or cocktails (something you don’t normally come across). You’ll find different Beauty and Beast cocktails. We started with Pornstar Martinis and a Sparkling Spritz (Martini D.O.C Prosecco, Aperol and soda) before moving on to Espresso Martinis made from Grey Goose L’Vanille and Patron XO Coffee. Whilst you can only order one drink at a time (there has to be some responsibility at least) our glasses were never empty and the fact that you can try so many different cocktails is both lethal and brilliant. Next on my list to try will be a Troll’s Old Fashioned made from Santa Teresa 1796 which I would have the Snickers pudding. If you can make room for it do, it’s an indulgent mix of chocolate, milk biscuits, peanuts, nougat and dulce ice cream.
The Beauty & Beast brunch is served at both M Victoria and M Threadneedle Street and having spent a morning playing at being tourists we headed to M Victoria. Walking in, you first go through the light wine shop before heading down to the dark and moody bar before entering into the wide Grill restaurant. The subterranean room in its steely blues and greys is both chic and relaxed.The oval space is flanked with booths (which can be semi-private) and are the perfect spot for people watching those in the sunken space below. There’s an element of theatre to the restaurant, you can see why so many people choose it for a celebration brunch – it’s also dog friendly which is a major plus in London.
I’m always after a bargain, ‘see a penny pick it up’ is pretty much my mantra, so the fact that the Beauty & Beast brunch is only £55 is excellent news. £55 for two sizeable courses and unlimited drinks? It’s a steal. Especially when you break it down and think how much you normally spend per cocktail and per course in a central London restaurant. They haven’t skimped on quality either to justify the price, I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in my time, I’m a connoisseur if you will, and this sat up there as one of the best I’ve had and certainly one of the biggest too.
The Beauty & Beast brunch is served every Saturday 11am -4pm at both M Victoria and M Threadneedle Street and includes 2 course and bottomless drinks for 90 minutes.