5 Minutes With... Martin Williams

Words by
Andy Morris

17th May 2022

The charismatic CEO single-handedly raising the steaks - and eco-credentials - of his two restaurant groups discusses a hidden gem of a French hotel, his favourite tequila and the secret to a great sound-system.   

What is the steak dish that you feel sums the appeal of M Restaurants?
I love our smoked wagyu tartare. It is the multi award winning full blood Blackmore wagyu from Australia, with textures of apple. It is a showstopper on presentation and the flavours live up to the spectacle (and beyond)

What bottle of wine would you recommend to pair with a great steak?
Malbec is outstanding with steak as is a great Bordeaux. However my personal favourite is the Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese from Napa (exclusive to M Restaurants) – we call it the ‘Obama Wine’ as it is the last wine that the President enjoyed in the White House (whilst entertaining Giorgio Armani).

What’s the best vegetarian dish on the menu at both M and Gaucho?
Artichoke Salad at M and Beetroot Tartare at Gaucho. Both dishes make you want to go Vegan (at least for a lunch)…

Your new Canary Wharf site looks very impressive - what are you hopes for it?
It should become a new London dining Icon! It is simply stunning, with a beautiful menu offering which is inspired by the Côte d'Azur and Provence as well as serving the world’s best beef!

Favourite hotel?
The Standard in Miami. Less pretentious than other South Beach Hotels, it offers casual luxury and a sense of neighbourhood (as well as the best pool scene).

Restaurant you would recommend?
Tokimeite on Conduit Street. It is like being transported into Japan- sit at the counter and watch the mastery, whilst you enjoy the most beautiful sashimi, sushi, tempura and yakatori.

Holiday destination?
I always love Monaco and France in late May. We head down and host an M party on a trackside yacht at the Grand Prix, then stay at Kube in St Tropez, visit the Maison de Mirabeau and other vineyards then finish our trip in a hidden gem hotel, le Toile Blanche in St Paul de Vence.

Best recent fashion purchase?
Etro is always a favourite, but I have recently started to admire JW Anderson, who have matched quality with innovation and become a brilliant disrupter in terms of marketing. I also love Tom Davies bespoke eyewear. It has become an obsession. Most recent purchase are solid gold aviators, with prescription sun lenses.

Watch of choice?
I don’t wear one. I’m still finding the right brand to represent myself - go large and look ostentatious, too modest, you look like a wannabe. I had a Tag Heuer Carrera in my thirties, then grew out of it. 

What bottle never leaves your cocktail cabinet?
Rock 13 Tequila. You can only get it in the States - but it makes 1942 taste sharp.

What is the next big food trend for 2022?
Carbon Neutral menus. All our beef at Gaucho is Carbon Neutral – we reduce GHG’s at source and offset the footprint through a reforestation project in the Amazon with the ‘Not For Sale’ Movement which as well as ‘offsetting’ takes local people out of becoming victims of modern-day slavery. The most difficult part of carbon neutral menus is measuring the methane and greenhouse gas output of each of the cattle from our 40 farm partners and the impact of transportation. Now we have the exact calculations from birth to plate, but it has taken us over two years to study this with agronomists and scientists. 

What is your favourite piece of technology and why?
Bang and Olufsen Audio and Visual. I have two TV’s and five speakers at home. The perfect mix of beauty and innovation they link together to create a symphony in your home. We have filled M Canary Wharf full of their technology too and created the ultimate (blindfolded) sensory dining experience of sound and taste!

What does luxury mean to you?
I appreciate how luxury makes me feel special. From eyewear to shoes, if I am wearing luxurious items, I am 20% happier, more comfortable and feeling my best self whether at work or play. In a home or hotel setting, luxury creates ‘subliminal wows’; either the ease, innovation, sensory feel, or experience make you happy and pleased you are experiencing the finest products and or environment. This is luxury to me.