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A half dozen to whet your appetite Restaurant REVIEW

This issue Lawrence Williams reviews a new French restaurant in Long Lane and two which specialise primarily in steaks and grilled meats, while Stephanie Ross goes more ethnic with a new Italian near St. Pauls, a revisit to a high class Indian restaurant which has been forced to relocate by Crossrail and a new Aperitivo Bar in West Smithfield


Low key frontage for Morgan M Barbican

Morgan M Barbican - A new gem by Smithfield

he area around Smithfield is becoming quite a destination for those in London who are lovers of

French cooking and restaurant service and ambience.

It already has the Michelin

starred Club Gascon, and its two offshoots – the Cellar Gascon and the Comptoir Gascon, the St. Julien, the Bistro du Vin and the excellent Café du Marché – while

past issues). Now there is a new French restaurant on Long Lane, right opposite the eastern end of the main Smithfield Market building, and in terms of quality, decor and ambience it may well, in time, be recognised as one of the best of all of these. The new restaurant is Morgan M

Main restaurant area

other gems of French cuisine – the Bistrot Bruno Loubet and the Bleeding Heart are only a short walk away. (All these have been reviewed in Barbican Life’s pages in

Barbican, which occupies a space previously devoted to S&M (sausages and mash for the uninitiated) and what a contrast! The new restaurant is tastefully understated with a pastel shade decor, crisp white tablecloths on reasonably spaced tables, particularly given the relatively small space occupied by the main ground floor restaurant area – which can only accommodate 38 diners - and no loud background music thank goodness. There is a basement overflow space (an excellent spot for private parties) which can seat another 32 with the open kitchen at the end. But these days a restaurant, particularly one at the pricey end of the market, stands and falls on its chef’s output and here owner/chef Morgan Meunier has already built an extremely strong reputation with his out of the way initial Morgan M

restaurant in Liverpool Road in Islington. For his new restaurant in the more widely trafficked Clerkenwell/Smithfield area he has wound down the Liverpool Road establishment for the moment (it is reportedly being refurbished) and is concentrating on the new one (designated Morgan M Barbican being only a five minute walk from London’s premier urban village apartment complex which it is hoped will generate a new appreciative clientele in the evenings). Morgan Meunier himself is at the helm

of his new venture, creating all dishes in the kitchen with Sylvain Soulard, who has been working alongside him for 12 years. His original Morgan M restaurant was awarded the accolade by Harden’s of “Best French Restaurant” in 2010 and Morgan has been rated among London’s top chefs. Prior to opening his own restaurants he had worked as head chef at a number of award- winning establishments including The Admiralty at Somerset House and Monsieur Maz in London and Les Pres d’Eugenie in the south of France – the latter two were awarded Michelin stars. Initial reviews of the new restaurant have been a bit mixed, perhaps in part because of a relatively low-key opening at the end of last year which had some reviewers

trying it out in a sparsely

occupied environment which itself can detract from the enjoyment. And the early days tend to be a time when staff are finding their feet. So perhaps we were lucky to review Morgan M now it has been open for a couple of months and in the swing of things. Obviously the numbers have built up – our first choice of date saw the restaurant fully-booked – and on the Wednesday evening we did get to try it out it was not full, but nearly so. Staff were obviously now well at ease

and service was excellent without being over-obtrusive, with a very Gallic touch. Just the kind of thing you might be looking for in an upmarket French restaurant. And the food? A mixture of good and exceptional! We tried the main seasonal


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