M restaurant has launched its newest incarnation in increasingly buzzy Canary Wharf, making the most of all the sky, steel and views over the water with floor to ceiling windows showcasing aspects and angles of the London skyline I had never seen before.
Lights hang like flocks of seagulls above booths and tables designed to give everyone something interesting to look at, and somehow a balance is struck between peaceful zen and an upbeat party vibe.
The cocktails flow but the wine, expertly selected by the incomparable Marina Diaz, head of wine for the group, is a treat not to be missed. South African wines always hold a special place in my heart and some icons can be found here such as Ken Forrester’s FMC (rumoured to stand for “F**king Marvellous Chenin) and Hamilton-Russell’s Chardonnay.
Whole cobia fish hang in a pink Himalayan salt cellar to make the fresh and flavoursome cobia tartare, personally recommended by M founder Martin Williams. With its smoked citrus oil dressing, it’s a fresh foil for the meat to come.
M takes meat seriously, and by that, I mean ethically as well as gastronomically, with a whole section of the menu dedicated to “Sustainable Steaks”. As part of M’s goal to become net zero, the beef offered is all carbon neutral, from the huge, juicy T-bone that will appeal to the caveperson in you, to the melt-like-butter premium wagyu.
The Kobe is rated 10+ making it the highest grade available in London. Take a spin on the Steak Roulette Wheel and see which cut you win.
With meat this good, I’d skip the sauce, but you can “Top With A Tree” and they will plant a new sapling as part of their reforestation project.
It doesn’t feel too ‘worthy’ though, with engaged, energetic staff, good music, excellent wines and beautiful views of the lights and waterways of London. This is a place to enjoy yourself in a fun but elegant setting.
Libby’s wines of the week
KUMEU RIVER HUNTING HILL CHARDONNAY 2021, £42, WINEBUYERS.COM
At all price points, Kumeu River over-delivers. An astounding find as a producer, this just-released vintage of their acclaimed Hunting Hill Chardonnay is precise and focused, with a fine, flinty, fruit purity. It may be a screwcap, but it is made to age in bottle for another 5-10 years if you have the patience.
LES FIEFS DE LAGRANGE 2009, £28, FARR VINTNERS
The ‘second wine’ of historic Saint-Julien estate Chateau Lagrange, this is rich and full bodied with blackcurrants, spice and leather, carried through with a pervasive, lilting grace. An excellent Bordeaux at an excellent price.
FONSECA TERRA PRIMA ORGANIC RESERVE PORT, £14.69, WAITROSE
It’s Organic September so celebrate those evenings drawing in with the first port to be made entirely from fully certified organic grapes. Rich, opulent and velvety smooth, break out the blue cheese, gouda or nutty cheddar and enjoy.
DOMAINE GALUVAL LE COQ VOLANT 2020, £15.15, HEDONISM
For too long the white wines of the Côte du Rhône have been overshadowed by the reds, but these beautiful blends have so much to offer. Fresh but rounded, this wine opens up to honeysuckle and spring blossom. A bright, elegant wine which is utterly delicious.
DOM PÉRIGNON VINTAGE 2012, £200, JEROBOAMS
A total show-stealer at the Jeroboams trade tasting this year, here is a truly exceptional champagne and a fantastic vintage. A sensual smokiness on the nose combines with vibrant fruit purity and perfectly elegant effervescence. Beautiful in every way.