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Autumn – season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And game.
Just a short walk north of Silicon Roundabout and Old St tube, a hipster’s throw from Shoreditch and a slicker’s from the City, Plate Restaurant at the strikingly modern M by Montcalm hotel has just come out with its new seasonal menu, highlighting some delicious game dishes.
In a city like London, with its huge range of excellent dining places, most hotel guests would probably give their hotel restaurant a miss and head out to eat elsewhere, somewhere a bit more exciting. Plate, on the other hand, is very much a place to head to, for the hotel’s guests and fans of good eating generally.
A warm greeting, ‘’Welcome to Plate’’, sets the tone straightaway in the ground floor Plate Bake and Bar – by day, a place to eat homemade breads, cakes and pastries, by night the Plate bar, a place to have a drink or two.
Upstairs in the relaxed, airy restaurant, tables stretch the length of the room next to the floor to ceiling windows and offer some great street views. For that Titanic, prow of the ship experience, however, where you are raised up high above the waves of people, the table in the sharp corner is the one to go for, to watch the bustle on the City Road.
The menu has starters and mains of course, but to begin the meal with, the snacks and breads are worth looking at too.
Normally just a bit of a sideshow on the side plate, bread (all made on the premises) is a real feature of the menu here and the signature Bread Flight (£7.50) doesn’t disappoint. A good slice of sourdough, a bun of Marmite bread (Marmite? Yes, really – it’s good) and a mushroom brioche come with three tasty butters, salty/whipped, shallot/onion and buckwheat/balsamic, and is enough for two to toy with while people watching.
Starters include two game dishes. The Game Ragu (£8) comes with little scrolls of Casarecce Pasta, sourdough bread and garlic butter on the side. The taste is rich, Croesus rich; deep, ocean deep, and just as dark. Garlic buttered bread brings your taste buds back to the surface before you plunge in again with the next mouthful. Excellent.
The other game starter is Venison Terrine (£6.50), which is garnished with nasturtium leaves, has a nicely coarse texture and a slightly smoky flavour. This is jazzed up by beautifully sweet Muscat grapes; the puree adds another fine dimension.
The game on the menu comes straight from the estate of Sir Edward Dashwood (descendant of Hell-Fire Club founder) and is exclusively supplied to Plate (and Tom Kerridge’s eateries). Fresh is the name of the game here – but availability depends on the estate and can, therefore, be variable from day to day.
The Dashwood Venison Fillet (£29) on a bed of black pudding puree with slow-cooked, basil-flavoured white beans is the stand out choice for the main course, when available.
The alternative features Treacle Cured Beef Flank (£24) instead of the venison but is just as good. The puree is carefully prepared with beef cheek, reduced and reduced again to black pudding subtlety. With the contrast of the perfumed basil beans, it’s a very tasty dish.
For those who fancy fish instead, the Nori Chilli Monkfish (£25) is accompanied by chorizo croquettes, which turn quite a light dish into a satisfying one, set off by a delicate cauliflower puree with a paprika and garlic sauce.
Game dishes are hearty and filling by nature so unless you’re into some Cool Hand Luke belly stretching, dessert might be a course too far.
As a suggestion, if you want to manage your intake a bit, it might be an idea to just have the one game course – so you could kick off with the Bread Flight, have Game Ragu or the Dashwood Venison and leave room for some seasonal British Caramelised Apple Tart with homemade almond ice cream, or the Coffee Brulee which has had rave reviews.
Whatever you choose, you’ll leave happily satisfied, not just with the food but with the overall experience, whether you choose the seasonal or other dishes.
Plate Restaurant & Bar At M by Montcalm
151-157 City Road
London EC1V 1JH
Tel: 020 3837 3102
Lunch: Daily: 12pm to 3pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Thursday: 6pm to 10.30pm,
Friday and Saturday: 6pm to 11pm,
Sunday and Monday: 6pm to 10pm