- The Dish: Tofu tartare, plum puree, daikon and sriracha
- The Place: M Victoria’s Raw restaurant
- The Chef: Oleg Ibragimov
What? Steak is off the menu at M Victoria. Well, not quite. A new vegetarian and gluten-free menu has been launched at Raw restaurant, which is located within M Victoria. It aims to provide a lighter alternative to the steak-heavy a la carte and wagyu menus served in the main restaurant space. Many of the dishes are suitable for vegans too, while there is also a paired wine list with 112 options by the glass.
Chef Oleg Ibragimov, formerly of The Fat Duck and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, created the new dishes, which he said are designed to celebrate clean eating and free-from preferences.
“When developing the menu, I aimed to get as close as possible to the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals and proteins in each dish,” said Ibragimov. “I’ve also used only seasonal produce as it guarantees we are using the most naturally nutritious food available at the time.
“Whilst the dishes are packed full of flavour, I’ve tried to reduce the amount of process involved to allow the organic flavour of the ingredients to really shine. Saying that, I have introduced a few fermented ingredients to not only add zing and interest to the plate, but also improve gut health.”
Information on the menu includes each dish’s calories, dietary tags and nutritional content.
Asian influences are evident in the starter section with the likes of the tofu tartare and the mis-glazed smoked aubergine, while wholegrains lead the charge for mains, including the buckwheat risotto with cauliflower, king mushrooms and summer truffle.
Harking back to spiralised vegetables as a stand-in for pasta, there’s also a courgette spaghetti with roasted organic vegetables and pine nuts.
Despite the focus on clean eating, people can still treat themselves with desserts such as the signature M doughnut plate with lime and coconut curd or a vegan ‘drunken’ pineapple with chilli and passionfruit.
Where? M Victoria is a 120-cover, two-tiered grill room with a 50-cover raw bar, public and private members' bars, a wine tasting room and private dining and event spaces.
The venue is accessed via M Wine Store, a retail boutique from which customers can purchase unusual and premium wines in person or online.
“London needs a high-quality, entirely gluten-free, vegetarian restaurant and we’re delighted to deliver,” said Martin Williams, CEO of M Restaurants and Gaucho. “The culture of considered flexitarian and free-from dining has a new restaurant to call home. The launch of the RAW restaurant at M Victoria St, is arguably our most imaginative, disruptive venture to date.”
Why? The figures don’t lie. Mintel found 56% of UK adults ate vegetarian or meat-free foods last year and 34% of meat eaters reduced their meat consumption. A further 21% of meat eaters said they would be interested in limiting or reducing their meat consumption in the future.
A recent survey found even youngsters are embracing this movement, with one in 10 children aged eight to 13 identifying as a vegetarian or vegan, while 44% are trying to eat less meat and dairy.
Steak-centric restaurants are clearly feeling the heat from this trend, and M Victoria isn’t the only one that’s made a move to entice veggie lovers through the doors, in hopes of creating an air of inclusivity.
Steak chain Bar + Block has introduced a veggie version of the classic Chinese dish aromatic crispy duck as part of its new meat-free options, substituting the fowl for crispy oyster mushrooms but keeping the pancakes and hoi sin sauce.
Prime Steak & Grill has plans to debut a summer menu that caters more to vegetarians, while newly launched Omnino Brazilian Barbecue, which serves cuts of meats directly to the table, also has menus tailored for pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans.