The rattle of single-speeds, the plucky patriotism of street food and that really, really cute dog in sunglasses. Shoreditch is known for plenty of, dare I say it 'hipster-isms' (I will not be held accountable for the H word), but is high-end food an upcoming destiny? With the opening of M by Montcalm Hotel and its Tonic & Remedy restaurant, there's a genuine realism to the possibility.
Hotel restaurants are certainly gunning to make a name for themselves these days, and it's no exception here. Spread across two floors in the 'optical illusion of a building that's hurting my eyes a little' yet angular M by Montcalm building, Tonic & Remedy sits as a supping beacon at the hotel's base. Pass the bar below and head up preen and polished marble stairs to a split restaurant of autumnal tones, grey flecks and marble top tables. Set alongside a room length bar-top and balcony overlooking the bar below, the restaurant is a marked-up haven of space, fluidity and muted colours. I do love me a grey on forest green.
The Food and Drink
I need to split this coverage into two and give it the praise it deserves, as my palate has been washed in the holy waters of Tonic & Remedy. Kicking off with their chicken liver parfait with a nectarine chutney and toasted brioche, this £7 hitter was a high-class starter of savoury notes and fruit punts, all served in a cutesy jar. Need double dosing on bread? Waitresses, you were too kind. Following starters with their roast duck breast, crispy leg, cherries and almonds (£23) with a side of creamed potato, I was absolutely blown away by Tonic's ability to blend the sweet and savoury, showing what measure it serves to pay more for your melt-in-the-mouth meat. Dessert? I'm sorry, I couldn't. I was brimming, and didn't want to pop all across the pavement on the way home.
Tonic & Remedy may have a buffed up wine menu, and the £4.85 house Cabernet went a treat with my duck, but it's the cocktails where Tonic & Remedy shine. A competitor to White Lyan's sazerac, Tonic & Remedy have conjured a 'Myst-erious Sazerac' that plays with the original so well, that's it practically made itself a star thanks to candy floss, absinthe and Maker's Mark infused black cardamom. Pour it yourself, you're a DIY dime. Looking for botanical cutesy with a punchy edge? The £8.50 'Patience and Thyme' was a fresh yet savoured blend of Beefeater gin, smoked egg whites, honey and benedictine, served in a copper cup that had me toasting any and all passers by.
Overlooking the architecture of Moorfields Eye Hospital, Tonic & Remedy definitely set a noble tone for itself. Propped against the second floor to ceiling window, the guests at Tonic & Remedy were a gaggle of business partners, date nights, family meals and us. Let's give 'us' our own category for now. Clearly a 'something special' destination where guests dress concisely against the marble table backdrop, this is not a pre-Cargo dinner destination, you've got Red Dog or Far Rockaway for that. With its cutesy presentation flecks, Tonic & Remedy also kept the tussle of dinner conversation alive; my candy floss can normally found on a stick or stuck in my hair, not elegantly propped in an etched tumbler.
I'll be honest, it's actually quite nice to have more options to Shoreditch's digestible decisions; Long have the street food subscribers taken reign and the pop-up purveyors taken pride of place. While I'm by no means a napkin across the lap kind of gorging gal (though I do ALWAYS need a napkin), Tonic & Remedy is plugging a gap that Shoreditch has long been hankering: a high-end dining destination that may rattle the bank balance slightly, but with good measure. Sure, gentrification has its mitts on this one, but there's no denying the incredible food, the stunning service and that sazerac......oh, that sazerac.