Scrolling through the press reviewer’s lexicon of superlatives on Morgan M’s web site it is evident that Morgan Meunier is beloved of ‘them that know’. For the record, Morgan Meunier has won everything from Michelin Stars to Carlton London Restaurant Awards so the expectations were high. Morgan also boldly declares on his website that “only when a guest touched by the spirit of my dishes have I succeeded” and you quickly realise that this is no empty promise.
From its location at the scruffier end of Islington to the warm wood panels and burgundy walls hung with Morgan’s own paintings, taking a meal at Morgan M is a journey of re-appraisals that starts with the fingering of the cutlery and goes on as you get stuck into the menu choices.
Well, it’s two choices really because, although Morgan M offers an à la carte menu, it’s for the seasonally changing six-course set menus that it’s best known. In choosing the Spring tasting menu, the experience declared intent from the first course, a meticulously prepared chilled cream of Broad Bean with Horseradish Foam. Of the multitude of excellent dishes that followed, there were a number of highlights.
The perfectly simple seared yellow fin tuna was cleverly accompanied by provencale vegetables, tapenadeen, red pepper and basil sorbet, allowing me to experiment with a myriad of different flavour combinations. Mr Gandhi’s delicacy of moist, tender pink hued rabbit & mustard which, with wild garlic froth, olives, steamed gnochhi & courgette, dispelled completely any idea of gamey casserole fare. This was followed by the intense fruit burst of the Orange Tuile pre-dessert which exorcised our junior school memories of rice pudding. My dessert of Souffle and Lemon Verbena delivered a final piece of subtle theatre with a Red Fruit Coulis. This final flourish was only upstaged by the bemusement of Mr Gandhi as he tried to work out what he was supposed to do with Morgan’s signature Armangnac drink that came with the sumptuous Dark Chocolate Moelleux. Delicious but confusing.
We had taken the option of the wines flight and found the matching to be as equally crisp as the rest of the performance. Stand-outs were the Ochoa Gran Reserva with a heavy, wonderfully fruity nose, promising a serious full body but delivering light and delicate flavour, followed by a simply brilliant dessert wine finish to the meal with the unexpected gentle fizz of the chilled Moscato D’Asti
The final surprise was the true value for money that an evening of this quality gives; or, given the spirit of the place, maybe that’s no real a surprise at all. A complete performance and accessible experience delivered by an artist who is thoroughly at ease with his craft. In final analysis, that Mr Gandhi, renowned of short arms and low pockets, should declare he would gladly pay out for a repeat visit probably says as much about the quality of experience as the glowing press reviews. In that sense at least, Morgan’s dishes certainly seemed to have touched his spirit.
Meal for 2 (excluding drinks): £39 for A la Carte/ £48 for tasting menu
Morgan M Restaurant
489 Liverpool Road
London, N7 8NS
Tel: 020 7609 3560