If someone predicted that Canary Wharf was going to be a playground for some of the hottest names in hospitality, about five years ago, I would have laughed in their face. Press pause on 2023, and that’s exactly the stance, so I haven’t been dolling out any hash cackles accompanied by subtle looks of pity. London’s built up financial wasteland of skyscrapers now homes names like Electric Shuffle and The Lowback at Hawksmoor but it’s M Canary Wharf that I recently pencilled in a hot date with. Inspired by the South of France, I took to their European-inspired restaurant to test drive the newest addition to their growing family.
My immediate thoughts upon entering M Canary Wharf? Fancy. We had our coats checked in the downstairs lobby before ascending the marble stairs to the cocktail bar where the front of house already knew our names. Given the option of sitting in the reception area for a quick cocktail, we politely accepted and trusted the head bartender with ordering us a round of drinks. The Carribean Clicquot (£18.50) was tropical escapism in liquid form, mixed with Ron Zacapa 23 Rum, Two Drifters Pineapple Overproof Rum, lime, pineapple and mint cordial topped a splash of Veuve Clicquot Champagne. If you don’t like boozy drinks, this definitely isn’t the sip for you but the red velvet goblet (£10.50) is a sweet and floral fix of Tanqueray, Cointreau with gomme syrup, reconstructed lemon juice and raspberry espuma that came presented with a foamy lid.
Glasses empty, we made our way past the large fridges of hanging meat and past the actual bar to a table with glittering waterside views that wouldn't look out of place in the next James Bond movie. As we were both planning on ordering steaks for the main event, we nabbed a bottle of red for the table. The Terrazas de los Andes, Cabernet Sauvignon (£79.50) was bold and fresh with a light and welcomed spice. We also strategically decided to stick with seafood for our starters. Thick pink slabs of yellowfin tuna tataki (£16.50) which was fanned on a long heavy plate, soaked in an aromatic chilli-aged soy sauce, thanks our waitress Elizabeth who free-poured that stuff like it was our bottle of wine. Another theatrical pour came into play for our lobster pumpkin (£26). Plump, salty chunks of lobster were served with a confit so light it could have been a cloud of mouse.
After many trials and tribulations, I’ve finally come to the realisation that my favourite cut is rump. And following a day of only having one light meal and seafood starters, I naturally ordered the bigger cut. 300g of sturdy beef (£29.50) was cooked medium rare with a rich flavour intact. As the steak knife glided towards the middle, the gradient of the meat gradually grew pinker. The kitchen clearly knew what they were doing. As for my date’s steak, the sirloin (£77) might as well have been butter which resulted in a rapid disappearing act worthy of that 'full moon, half moon, total eclipse' Jaffa cake ad.
No steak soirée is complete without sides, so we ordered hispi cabbage (£5.50) which turned out to be quite bland, and the 15-hour wagyu parmesan chips with truffle (£15). I’ve had my fair share of chips in my lifetime, having refused to eat nothing but for about 6 years of my childolesence (alongside beef and tomato-flavoured Pot Noodles), but these chips. They deserve a plaque or some sort of trophy, or perhaps a weekly visit from me so I can ensure the standards are up kept for other chip afficiendos. The crisp potatoes that were gloriously fluffy on the inside and came stacked like Jenga, garnished in a downpour of parmesan cheese and razor-thin shavings of truffle. It was like a confetti cannon of flavour going off in my mouth.
Done in from the bigger portion of rump and my tower of carbs, we opted for one dessert and two spoons. The Snickers (£10.50) sadly wasn’t my cup of tea; I had imagined something a lot more indulgent with oozing caramel but if you like chocolate desserts, in the grand scheme of things, it was perfectly pleasant.
The DesignMyNight Digest
There’s no way of describing M Canary Wharf other than, well, brilliant. The low lighting and ambience were the perfect soundtrack to a romantic date night and service from our waitress, Elizabeth, was seamless. I won’t go on a tangent about the triple-cooked chips again (I think I got my point across in my love letter) but the food overall was great quality and the cocktails were spot on too. I'm not going to be in a James Bond film anytime soon but if you swap movie for foodie, Canary Wharf seems to have some pretty special magic of its own. On this occasion, it looks like Tower Hamlet has me eating my words, and consequently, a lot of steak.
💰 The damage: £246 for dinner with a bottle of wine and cocktails.
📍 The location: 10, Newfoundland Place, London E14 4BH.
👌 Perfect for: An upmarket date night for steak lovers.
⭐ Need to know: If you love carbs as much as I do, I have two words for you - wagyu chips.
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