Restaurant Review: Morgan M Barbican, EC1
Jon Dean enjoys a French banquet
�The culinary exploits of Morgan Meunier will be familiar to many of North London’s fine diners. His first restaurant, in Liverpool Road, has become a firm favourite among discerning residents and has a loyal following.
But after seven years the venue is getting a facelift and Monsieur Meunier, with his enterprising team, has taken the opportunity to open a second establishment in Long Lane EC1, opening up their affordable style of haute cuisine to the denizens of the city.
The decor of the new restaurant is minimal, but cosy, and the place was fairly quiet for our visit on a weekday lunchtime.
The front of house service was immaculate – the waiters were knowledgeable, courteous and attentive but not intrusive. The kitchen staff were clearly working just as hard to produce a series of elegantly presented and delicately flavoured dishes.
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Though you can order al a carte, our waiter suggested we go for the autumn taster menu to sample more of what Morgan M had to offer.
For an additional supplement, wines are served with each course to match the accompanying food. Having vino selected by experts is a nice touch, and a good opportunity to taste wines you might commit to a bottle of.
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The first course was butternut soup with a wild mushroom tempura, which was impeccably presented. The thick broth was served at the table and its sweetness complimented the meaty mushroom, all washed down with a crisp Le Lesc Colombard.
Next up were the crayfish and lobster cannelloni and game terrine with fois gras. The former came with a light artichoke soubise and a full-bodied white that brought out the tarragon taste.
The terrine, meanwhile, was smooth and mysterious, and served with an excellent apple chutney and a sweet wine that cut through the thick flavours.
A third course consisted of John Dory fillet with coco beans, parsley puree and champagne froth. The lovely flakes of fish were infused with a smokey, hazelnut character. Served with a cool Sancerre, a personal favourite, this course was one of the stars of the show.
Our mains were a perfectly cooked Deben Valley duck – the breast roasted to a mouth-watering pink and the leg braised and crisp, both working well with the chestnut puree – and a hearty venison fillet with strong-tasting hare, the powerful meats lightened by a sweet potato puree. The accompanying Pittacum red was strong enough to contend with the darker flavours.
On to the sweet courses, and the vanilla rice pudding with raspberry and orange tuile was a welcome sweet medley. And, though a surprise on an autumn menu, the melt-in-the-mouth pineapple souffl� with pina colada sorbet was refreshing.
No French meal would be complete without a visit to the cheese trolley, and this one was magnificent. So many heady aromas fought for attention it was hard to choose, but the creamy goat, the muscular Camembert and piquant blue were a wise selection.
The full Morgan M Barbican experience takes a little bit of time, and though very reasonably priced for the standard of food, it is not cheap. It is a wonderful restaurant, however, and well worth the investment of both.