Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Hull – Restaurant Review
By @Roger Crow
Three years ago I checked into a London restaurant at 10:30pm; tried to read the menu in semi-darkness and hear the waiter while a band was in full swing. Communication problems aside, it was one of my favourite dining experiences of recent years.
Though the ambience in Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar & Grill is a lot less noisy (it’s really very pleasant), I’m also having trouble reading the menu. Though beautifully arranged, the light colour of the description below the black title just vanishes in dim light. (Unless you’re my long suffering better half who could read every word).
Thankfully the tiny serif font is one of the few problems I face during one of my favourite dining experiences of this year.
Obviously there haven’t been many with the world dealing with you know what, but when this opportunity arises I grab it with both hands.
A new autumnal menu has been unveiled, and the specials feature a range of “delicious game inspired dishes that combines traditional British recipes with classic French cooking techniques.”
There’s certainly no shortage of choice, whether you want a seasonal dish or a good old burger.
“Elegant décor and comfy seating”
From the minute my partner and I mask up and enter the elegant DoubleTree by Hilton hotel lobby, scan the QR code to check in and sanitise our hands, we are shown to our table, and treated like royalty. (Amazing to think 12 months ago masked arrivals could have led to a security issue).
The restaurant is fabulous, with its elegant décor and comfy seating. The staff also operate like the cogs of a Swiss watch: friendly, well informed, and unlike some eateries, they never outstay their welcome.
Squinting at the menu, I opt for smoked salmon, which comes with lemon in muslin (always one of my favourite touches to avoid playing ‘hunt the lemon pip’); capers; red onion and plenty of buttered brown bread. At £8.95, in this setting, it’s spot on.
Rachel’s Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Salad with candied walnuts and Merlot vinegar goes down rather well too. “The cheese overpowers the beetroot in some respects, but that’s not such a bad thing. And the walnuts were lovely.”
Patrick, our waiter, does a superb job throughout the evening, and though it’s a small thing, everything we order arrives in a reasonable time – and above all, correct.
During a recent dining experience, I got the wrong drink and a side – though ordered twice – never arrived at all. Hardly a deal breaker, but little things like that make the difference between a good restaurant and a great one. And this is definitely the latter.
“Soak up the ambience”
As impressive as the seasonal menu looks, I go for The John Lennon burger, and my magical culinary tour turns out to be near perfection on a plate. A nicely toasted brioche bun (not always a given in some restaurants); deliciously crispy onion rings; excellent melted Cheddar, Colonel Mustard Mayo and a burger with zero gristle. It’s cooked superbly and the quality of the meat is savoured in every bite. The side of chips are spot on as well; crispy, beautifully cooked and very tasty. At £16.50, you want a restaurant burger to be good, and this, combined with the ambience, service and experience is worth every penny.
Rachel’s Wheeler’s Fish Cake with soft boiled egg, sauce tartare and buttered leaf spinach also proves to be well worth it. Again it’s beautifully prepared, mouthwatering and the flavours complement one another nicely.
Obviously at £14.95, it’s not cheap, but as it’s “one of the best she’s had” during years of trying many around the UK, you get what you pay for. In this case, excellence.
One of the things I’ve missed during the ’disaster movie of 2020’ is dining with a bunch of strangers, whether it’s the besotted daters on a nearby table, or the duo who might have had one too many next to us, but are just enjoying life. There’s nothing more optimistic than that buzz of people having fun, albeit at a safe distance.
And that community experience is worth its weight in gold as we soak up the ambience, and press on with desserts.
Now cheesecake falls into three camps: the overly sweet, which is good when done right; the stuff which is a little too cheesy, and that sweet spot in the middle is an art form. Here the chefs have crafted a masterpiece with Mr White’s Cheesecake. With its blueberry sauce, and a little pouring cream, it’s one of my favourite desserts of recent years. And at £7.50 is an excellent price.
“A treat to get dressed up”
Rachel’s Apple and Almond Crumble with butterscotch sauce also proves a winner. (On this occasion she’s sadly denied custard).
Going out on any Saturday night these days is a rarity, so it’s a treat to get dressed up and enjoy a well organised, beautifully prepared meal in such a great setting.
We finish with a couple of cappuccinos, which could be just a generic frothy coffee in some restaurants, but this is the real deal. Deliciously creamy with that welcome caffeine hit. Also worth every penny.
Of all the meals I’ve been to in Hull over the past 30 years, this is easily the best, and good to know that three years after we dined at one of his establishments, MPW is still THE MVP in the restaurant business.
When we return, sooner rather than later, I’ll just come armed with stronger reading glasses.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Ferensway, Kingston Upon Hull, HU2 8NH
Evening opening hours:
Mon-Wednesday 12pm – 2pm