Recently I was invited for an evening of Old Fashioned with M & Woodford Reserve – I had to read the invite twice because I couldn’t believe I could receive such an amazing invitation.
M is one of Londons hottest new restaurants owned by Martin Williams – ex managing director of Gaucho so I knew this was going to be a good evening.
More than just another restaurant, M houses two restaurants, a destination cocktail bar, a wine tasting room, a secret den and four private dining and events spaces.
We arrived and headed to the bar via the staircase in the middle of the restaurant to be greeted at the top of the stairs by Tom, brand ambassador for Woodford Reserve who had tasting glasses at the ready. The tipple of choice – Woodford Reserve’s new Double Oaked.
Released on the market recently the Double Oaked is a twice-barreled bourbon that creates a rich and colorful flavor of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. Uniquely matured in separate, charred oak barrels – the second barrel deeply toasted before a light charring – extracts additional amounts of soft, sweet oak character.
What struck me form sipping the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, was the oaky flavours that were coming through, with those smooth flavours you come to expect from Woodford Reserve.
Quite easily a sipping Bourbon, as well as a versatile cocktail ingredient, I couldn’t help but have a second glass, before moving onto an Old Fashioned.
With the bourbon free flowing, we were then taken on a tour of M and shown the different areas that make up M, but not before having a look at the restaurants humidor which was on show in the bar for those seeking a cigar for the evening.
One area we instantly took a shine to was the private den, which is available via a hidden door. decorated in dark tones, comfortable seating, flat screen TV, PlayStation 4, Fussball table, as well as a mini humidor, I thought I had found my new second home. I did ask if we could smoke in the den as I could see it was very well ventilated but unfortunately you can’t (damn you smoking laws).
It reminded me of a room Frank Sinatra would have used back in his prime, where you can kick back with the guys and have a great evening.
I was told that if you wanted to hire the den, there is a charge in the form of a minimum spend, but I’m sure it all comes down to day of the week / demand. Future CTC party venue?
After we were dragged away from the den (I didn’t want to leave) we were taken downstairs to what I can only describe as a ‘Meatidor’ (a humidor for meat). In the corner of the restaurant is a glass room in which the meat is cut, aged and prepared to be cooked. As you look through you can see the butchers preparing different cuts of meat to be cooked. It was like watching meat porn.
From there we picked our jaws back up and headed to our dedicated area for the evening where a live band were on hand to perform (not just for us, I’m not that special).
The evening started with a selection of drinks, each paired with a canape that had been specially selected for that drink.
The menu consisted of:
Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned – How we love it, bold and spicy with a hint of orange oil and aromatic bitters
Paired with: Trio of Trout Ceviche, with burnt orange
M-Fashioned– Woodford Reserve syrup infused with caramel popcorn and vanilla, mixed with the bourbon and cherry bitters.
Paired with: Wagyu slider
American Dandy – Woodford Reserve bourbon, Cocchi Americano, Cherry Heering, chocolate and smoked cherry syrup, Kümmel, whiskey, spiced bitters.
Paired with: Smoked Beef, English Wasabi Mayo
The drinks were amazing and it was great to see how versatile Woodford Reserve can be, as I’m usually an Old Fashioned man, before we could even digest, it was onto the main course.
We were escorted downstairs to the M Grill to enjoy a Slow cooked USDA prime short rib which had been marinated with an M special spice mix and 100ml of Woodford for each rib. They were then left for 24 hours to marinate and then cooked at 58’c for 15 hours. This was accompanied by red wine onions, pomme puree, red wine jun and & sautéed mushrooms. Is your mouth watering? Mine is as I write this.
What was lovely about the meat was those signature flavours I experienced earlier from drinking Woodford Reserve were really coming through. You had those woody flavours with a sweet hint of caramel all complementing each other along with the taste of a great tasting beef.
To complement this beautiful succulent piece of beef, we quenched our thirst with a Double Oaked Manhattan which is a modern twist on the classic Manhattan. Rich and complex Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is paired with the sweet and herbal notes of this classic Italian aperitivo, Punt E Mes. Rounded off with some soft white chocolate and a lick of absinthe.
All in all it was a pretty darn good evening thanks to the folks at Woodford Reserve and M and I felt lucky to have been invited. M is a venue I will be visiting again soon in the new year, and when complemented with Woodford Reserve, it was a pretty special night.
If you’ve tried the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, let me know what you thought as I loved it and can’ wait to get my hands on some for the ‘Cut The Cap bar’.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is available for £47.95 at The Whiskey Exchange.