Do people still power lunch? If so, they'd be wise to do it at Morgan M. Located across from Smithfield Market and skirting the rim of the City, Chef Morgan Meunier's “affordable haute cuisine” concept should impress clients, subdue disgruntled colleagues and have whomever is fronting the bill feeling overly positive about the delicious value-for-money experience.
Of course, the same ingredients that make Morgan M such a tasty option for lunch add up to a wise selection for pretty much any business-oriented sup or even a romantic dinner. Service is formal but far from stuffy. The dining area is pleasant and inviting. The thoughtfully assembled wine list wows and highlights a gorgeous menu that, whatever the time or reason, is well worth tucking into…and well worth discussing.
Starters like crayfish and lobster cannelloni with tarragon, Jerusalem artichoke soubise and shellfish cappuccino (£14.50) and ravioli of snails in Chablis, garlic froth and red wine jus (£12.50) prove the restaurant should be able cut the mustard along with the best of them. Fillet of Iken Valley venison, pot roasted with “Farci” of hare, quince puree and sauce Grand Veneur (£23) is a winter warmer and delights…at least while the latest seasonal menu is still available (it goes down nicely with a glass of 1996 Bourgueil Peu Muleau too). As for puds, well, dark chocolate moelleux with milk sorbet and Armagnac drink (£9.50) ought to please choco-fiends and tips the hat at gourmands looking for a snazzed up but nonetheless yummy treat.
Now if 12 or 14 quid for starters, 20 or more for a main and nearly £10 for dessert all sounds a bit dear, hang on a sec. Morgan M offers “tasting dishes in our kitchen gallery” along the lines of foie gras, game terrine, fillet of salmon, beetroot glazed goat's cheese and smaller servings from the regular menu, all priced £6.50 or less (considerably less in a few cases). It's a great opportunity to dabble in style.
For more than a dabble, but of consideration when on a budget but still hankering to “do it up”, are the seasonal tasting menu and “From the Garden” menu. Priced around £50 for five courses (add £30 for wines by the glass to accompany your meal), they offer a streamlined and accessible route to enjoy chef Meunier's Gallic gourmet gifts.
Morgan M Barbican is located at 50 Long Lane, London EC1A 9EJ – in a part of town with more than its fair share of quality restaurants, a good number of which are French. Still, Meunier's kitchen fits competently and comfortably within the EC1 foodie zone.
Disclaimer: Londonist visited Morgan M Barbican upon invitation of the restaurant.