Monday, 25 February 2013

Seasonal tasting menu at Morgan M

For a pre-Valentine's day treat, my boyfriend and I headed to Morgan M, just off Smithfields Market. I've wanted to check out their seasonal tasting menu for a while, and I wasn't disappointed: we had a lovely meal which - while arguably slightly less innovative than Club Gascon - was equally delicious.

The six course tasting menu (£52) is unusual in that it gives you a lot of choice, making it more about the customer and their preferences than the "no-substitution" approach favoured by other restaurants, and with a focus on top-quality ingredients and flawless execution (rather than off-the-wall flavour combinations), fussy eaters will fare better here than most places. This meant that, for once, I could go for the meat-eaters menu without fear of being accosted with frogs legs, foie gras, offal, or other 'scary' ingredients.

Decorated with an unobtrusively pastel palette, Morgan M is perhaps not the most atmospheric venue. However, it was actually quite nice to eat in a calm, well-lit space, and - in any case - I would always rather the decor took second place to the food than the other way round!

The menu began with a delicious velouté of turnip and white truffle. Smooth and creamy, the slight sweetness of the turnip was the perfect vessel for the muskiness of the truffle - a lovely and understated start to the meal.

This was followed by the ravioli of snails for my boyfriend and an exquisite dish of crayfish and lobster canneloni for myself. Sweet chunks of tender seafood were rolled in a sheet of fresh green pasta, with a Jerusalem artichoke soubise and shellfish cappuccino providing the perfect finishing touches.

I even tried a bite of snail (despite my squeamishness): encased in more freshly-made pasta and doused in a rich red wine sauce, the garlicky snail meat was surprisingly good.

The next course  - fillet of John Dory with the carrot and ginger risotto - was my favourite of the night. The fish was cooked to perfection, with crisp golden skin and meltingly tender white flesh; the unusual pairing of carrot and ginger with risotto was spot on; and the fragrant lemon and saffron broth brought everything together perfectly. The only downside was that - being just one course in a tasting menu - it was finished all too quickly: I would happily dig into a huge bowl of this dish on a regular basis!

To follow the fish course, we were given the choice of slow-cooked wild boar or pheasant. My boyfriend went for the boar, which was excellent. The large slab of boar - surrounded by an artful arrangement of roasted root vegetables and celeriac puree - cooked to perfection, collapsing into tender flakes of flavourful meat.

My pheasant was not quite as good - while the bread sauce and glazed pear were very tasty, the pheasant itself was a little too gamey, and the rich topping of liver pate was a bit too much, and I found myself scraping most of it off.

Entering the dessert phase of the menu, we were treated to a lovely pre-dessert of vanilla rice pudding. Encased in a dainty ring of crisp orange tuile and doused with fruity sauce, this was some of the best rice pudding I've tried, as far removed from my (traumatic) childhood memories of tinned Ambrosia as can be.

For the final course, we both passed over the orange segment salad (too healthy-sounding!) in favour of the blueberry and pistachio soufflé. I love soufflé, and Morgan M's offering was particularly good - flavoured with juicy blueberries and a hint of pistachio, and accompanied by a refreshing blueberry sorbet and a jug of rich creme anglaise, this was a light and airy ending to a fantastic meal.

Morgan M on UrbanspoonSquare Meal