M Restaurants adds a new feather to its cap, M Bar & Grill Twickenham.
Last year the team from Candid Magazine went to the grand opening of M Restaurant Victoria; an event that coincided with a gala dinner benefitting one of our preferred charities: Terrence Higgins Trust. We were joined by a stellar line-up of actors, entrepreneurs and artists: Will Poulter, Jeremy Irvine, Jamal Edwards and illustrator, Daisy de Villeneuve whose work featured in our Art of a Demagogue piece in The Art Issue. The celebrities may have been out in force, but the sleek design of M Restaurant gave them a run for their money.
M Restaurant Victoria was the second in a growing series of restaurants, following the successful launch of M Threadneedle Street – home to M Grill and M Raw, a private members’ space, a cocktail bar, a wine-tasting room and a secret den. Known for having one of the best wine selections in the capital, M Wine Store was then launched, giving patrons unrivalled access to their premium cellar, which features many wines exclusive to the restaurant group.
What is M all about? CEO Martin Williams and Executive Chef, Michael Reid are the faces behind M, and they’ve been stacking up accolades since inception: Best UK Sommelier (Harpers Awards), Best New Restaurant (Harpers Awards), ‘Diner Choice’ Award (eight times on Open Table), Best for Steak & Seafood (Tatler Restaurant Guide), Best Use of Technology (The Cateys 2016), Best Young Chef (San Pellegrino), Best Newcomer (Drinks Retailing Awards) – you get the picture.
Just before London Fashion Week, they set up shop in a new location: Twickenham, and we were privileged enough to be invited. What was primarily a special evening for investors – a celebration of the pounds (both in weight and monetary units) that had helped realise the success of M Restaurants – M Bar & Grill Twickenham welcomed only two publications to the exclusive event: Candid Magazine and VOGUE.CO.UK. Cocktails, a jazz ensemble and a room full of M devotees mingled with hosts for the evening.
M Bar & Grill Twickenham has a special element to it: rugby. Adjacent-ish Twickenham Stadium is the largest stadium in the world dedicated to the sport and is home to England’s team, so Martin and Michael partnered with rugby star, Simon Shaw MBE on this latest venture – the restaurant group’s first bar and grill. The restaurant is minutes away from the stadium and sits at Brewery Wharf, just opposite Twickenham Station (Zone 5 if traveling from London), overlooking the River Crane.
The high-backed seating, offering the ultimate discretion in dining, reminded us immediately of the subterranean Victoria location. The designer, Rene Dekker, who normally turns his skills toward the residential, said, “The original concept was to emulate a contemporary pub. We wanted to bring together all the elements true of a quintessential British pub – dark oaks, green leathers, brass, glass and bright carpet – all translated into a more contemporary design with M’s signature style.” We loved the ‘wave movement' in the carpeting, a nod to the river flowing just outside.
As we were ushered to our seats, a sequence of two wine-tasting guessing games ensued – restaurant wide – a lux version of a the pub quiz. Our table progressed quite far before being knocked out in the penultimate rounds of questions – identifying the vintage and vineyard, respectively.
On to the food. M Bar & Grill Twickenham is as British as British can get, but with a twist. It’s gastro pub-style for the premium palate. The incredibly friendly chef, Michael Reid, who came out of the kitchen and said hello to everyone said, “The M Bar menu at Twickenham is a playful take on pub classics from our childhood.” We started with a sharing board of specially-prepared bar snacks and then moved on to a selection of signature mains: Wagyu Scotch Egg – a luxury version of the centuries-old treat. The Dijonnaisee gave it just the right kick and kept the Wagyu beef in UK territory. Fish and chips: if you go to most gastro pubs, it’s on the menu. M Bar & Grill Twickenham’s version was cleverly titled: Fish & ‘Not’ Chips. Pan fried cod was joined by a potato emulsion, corralled in a little woven basket of shoestring potatoes, decorated with a sprinkling of fresh peas, tartare salad and crispy oyster.
To finish the night, nostalgia was once again dipped into with M Bar & Grill Twickenham’s version of the very English Bakewell Tart. This went down a storm with Candid’s Fashion Editor, Thomas Falkenstedt who was spotted tucking into his neighbour’s unfinished slice. Hefty triangles of almond-infused shortcrust were perfectly balanced with damson jam and Frangelico foam. We were also served Bakewell Tart-esque after-dinner drinks that heavily featured amaretto, playing on the macerated cherries of the accompanying dessert.
If you're a fan of the upscale gastro pub, or just a friendly (and superb place to dine) in Twickenham, M Bar & Grill should be on your list; and do keep a look out for Martin and his assistant, Hudson.