Sometimes is pays to visit a restaurant you know literally nothing about. You have no preconceived notions and your experience is not coloured in any way by reviews – negative or positive – you might have come across online. In this instance the Bookatable star deal “four courses and free-flowing Prosecco” was all I needed to know before booking. How could anyone possibly refuse such an amazing offer? Especially when this offer has the incredibly reasonable price tag of £36.50 per person. To be honest, it sounded a tad too good to be true. I half expected the courses to be postage-stamp sized in order to justify the deal – how wrong I was!
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The restaurant is very centrally located, though not necessarily easy to find. While it is just down the road from London Victoria train station, you have to weave your way through a veritable maze of building works happening there at the moment. I expect the restaurant to become a lot busier once the area is easy to navigate. M Victoria Street is still a relatively new (for London) restaurant in the appropriately named Zig Zag Building. Fronted by a swish wine shop, the restaurant itself is down a flight of stairs, leading to a dimly-lit but very spacious room that managed to be modern without feeling clinical.
Though it seemed really quiet for a Wednesday lunchtime – “the weather’s too nice today” said the waiter with a smile, by way of explanation – it never felt empty. If anything, it felt like the perfect spot for an intimate lunch à deux – especially since we were seated in a spacious, but cozily private, booth. True to their word, the Prosecco was definitely flowing, from the moment our friendly waiter first arrived at our table.
As for the food, it was impressive by any standard from the outset, with “black taramasalata” (coloured with black curry powder in case you are curious) to whet the appetite. This arrived after our unexpected freshly baked cornbread with whipped butter and crispy chicken skin – which wasn’t even on the menu. So we were already pretty impressed when our actual starters arrived. The buttermilk fried chicken was a particular stand out – crispy and delicious outside, incredibly moist on the inside. Perhaps it was the overnight brining that cast a magic spell on this dish – or maybe it was the fact it was absolutely perfectly fried. And on top of its sheer yumminess, it was also such generous portion that it would have passed as an acceptable main in quite a few London spots.
My lunchtime companion sampled the Boerewors sausage served with chacalaca – this was quite possibly one of the tastiest sausages I have tasted. Again the portion was so healthy that we felt there had to be a catch somewhere. But such concerns where washed away by the Prosecco – our telepathic waiter was magically filling the glasses without once having to be asked.
For the main event, my dining companion and I both opted for the John Stones Irish rump cap – one medium, the other medium rare – served with chips. And as you would expect from a restaurant offering “the best steaks from across the world”, the steaks were delicious and cooked exactly as requested. Be warned though: this restaurant takes its meat seriously. When you ask for medium rare, you get medium rare – which could mean it might be too rare for some. Like the buttermilk chicken before them, the chips were absolute perfection – think they have some kind of enchanted fryer in this place.
By the time we reached dessert, we were were in no particular rush to leave and our waiter was very kindly not pushing us out the door. We each tried the two desserts on offer, dulce mouse and pumpkin cake, and they were both excellent without being heavy. All in all, M Victoria Street was an unexpected delight and just the thing for a delicious – albeit slightly boozy– lunchtime. It was also, unquestionably, the best value meal I have enjoyed at a London restaurant.
We dined at M Victoria Street as guests of Bookatable but independently of the restaurant.