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Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
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Out For Dinner At Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse in Nottingham

Published On Sunday 26 Nov 2023 by Sticky Beak
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It’s been a while since His Nibs and I were last at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse in Nottingham’s Alea Casino, so it was lovely to receive an invite from new manager, Paul, to return. The Man Bird had forgotten about the free parking that the restaurant has – and, to be fair, I’d forgotten too – so we parked at the Crown Plaza Hotel and walked across the road, which wasn’t really a hardship! 

Right-off-the-bat, I’m just going to say that you DON’T need to visit the casino in order to dine in the restaurant; literally anyone can turn up and eat there. The MPW team have got some rather juicy dining offers on, including a very generous 20% discount on the A la Carte menu for those visiting any theatre in the city or enjoying an over-night break, Tuesday-Friday – you just need to pre-book in advance and show your ticket or hotel confirmation on arrival at the restaurant. There’s also a rather nifty ‘early bird’ and Saturday lunchtime offer that comprises a two-course, set menu for £20.23 per person….and there’s a good choice of dishes on the set option. Steak lovers will rejoice at the ‘Steak and Chips for £14.95’ offer, available Tues-Thurs 5-9pm; again, you need to pre-book this. 

Children aren’t left out either, they’ve got their own menu that gives them the option of 2 courses for £12.50 or 3-4-£15 from a selection of kids’ favourites – even teeny-tinies are welcomed: high chairs are available on request for them to dine in comfort. Even Sunday Roasts get the special treatment, price-wise at MPW; served 1-3pm on Sunday (obvs!!), you can indulge in the iconic British roast and all the trimmings for £16.95, have 2 courses for £23.95, or go all-out and have 3 courses for £29.95!

Paul had given us an allowance for our meal, and none of the team knew we were coming (other than management) so we were ‘incognito’ so-to-speak. A lovely lady greeted us warmly as we stepped inside and, whilst she was checking our booking on the system, one of her colleagues took our coats and put them in the coat closet for us. We were handed numbered tickets for our garments and then shown over to our table: so far, the service was perfect.

A young man named Will was to be our server for the evening and he soon got us sorted out with some drinks, offering table water without us needing to ask. I had chosen to have a glass of Tempranillo, and His Nibs fancied a pint of Stella Artois; both were soon with us, presented on a tray and carefully placed on the table. As well as the regular menu, there was also an Autumn Specials offering, so we settled in and took a few minutes to make our selection.

To start, I went for the Onion Bhaji with Shrimps A l’Indienne with Mint Yoghurt and Lemon Cheek (£9.50) which was from the specials menu, and The Man had Mr White’s Scotch Egg with Colonel Mustard Sauce (£7.95). As you would expect in one of Marco’s restaurants, the presentation of both dishes was excellent.

I don’t know quite what I was expecting from my dish, but it was way above what I’d imagined. The pair of Bhajis had a sweet, plump Shrimp (more like a King Prawn in size, actually) at each centre, that had then been cocooned in a spicy Onion mixture and deep-fried to crispy, golden perfection. Spice fans will appreciate the level of heat in this Bhaji, but those who like it milder will also be able to savour this morsel, thanks to the cooling, creamy Mint Yoghurt: win-win, all round. A scattering of fresh micro-herbs completed the ensemble visually, and added an extra zip of clean flavours on the palate.

His Nibs was happily chowing down on his Scotch Egg, comprised of a perfectly soft (not runny) yolked-egg that was swathed in a generous layer of seasoned sausage meat, rolled in a super-fine coating and then fried. There was absolutely no residual greasiness at all, which allowed all the taste to shine in the mouth. The richness of the egg yolk and the sausage meat could easily have been over-whelming but the clever addition of a wonderfully punchy mustard sauce cut through the indulgence brilliantly without dominating the dish. At first glance, you don’t think this will be particularly satiating, but underestimate it at your peril: this was deceptively filling!

Will had checked we were enjoying our starters and, when he came back to clear the plates away, took the time to have a little natter to us. Whilst we waited for our mains to arrive, I had a little gleg around at the décor, and nothing drastic had changed since our last time here but then, when it’s timeless, décor doesn’t need changing, does it? At the front of the restaurant is THAT massive, iconic black-and-white stripe upholstered chair, with a photo of MPW himself sat in it. The wood floors are matched by the wooden venetian blinds at the windows and lighting comes from recessed lights and a central, back-lit console; the effect is sleek and cosy, emphasised by the tealights on each table that are housed in glass dome-topped stands. I cooed over the double-cloth dressing of the table; it just adds a bit more refinement, I think, and the music was at a lovely sociable level. Yep, the ambience is pitched just-right…. which is no easy task, given that the Alea Casino is the other side of a frosted door, with the large, modern bar marrying the two spaces together.

Both of us had gone for Fillet Steaks as our mains: His Nibs had the 6oz Steak Au Poivre (£31.95) and I fancied the 6oz Fillet with Garlic King Prawns (£33.50); both dishes come with Koffman Chips, so we just ordered a side of Onion Rings (£3.75). My choice normally comes with Bearnaise sauce - which I do enjoy - but when Will offered me the choice of Blue Cheese sauce instead, I jumped at that! Before our steaks arrived, though, it was time to select our weapons-of-choice (knives) from the variety on a magnetic board; I picked out a slighter, more ergonomic knife to His Nibs, who went for a chunkier, heftier one.

Truth be told, the knives were pretty much redundant; the fillets were both super-tender and needed no coaxing to be cut.  I had asked for my steak to be rare; The Man goes a tad more done at medium/rare, and Chef did both absolutely bang-on. A lot of folks shy away from having their steak rare as they think it’s going to be bloody on the plate and, if it’s not rested adequately, it can be. Thankfully Chef at MPW Steakhouse in Nottingham knows his craft and there wasn’t any oozing at all: not a single millilitre. Hiding underneath the steaks were thin pieces of Garlicky Ciabatta and they partnered the meat beautifully, as did the roasted vine Tomatoes that were exquisitely sweet and intense in their taste. Crisp, fat Koffman Chips came in a separate cast-iron bowl, which kept them deliciously warm until the end of the meal…another nice touch. 

What about the Onion Rings, I hear you ask? These beauties were stacked in a perfect tower and they were superb: crisp, crunchy, not greasy and still slightly firm Onion at their heart. Staying as classy as ever (!!), I used my thick, unctuous Blue Cheese sauce as the ideal bath for dunking my chips into – yummy, yummy, in my tummy. The Man Birds’ Steak Au Poivre had wilted Spinach and sauteed Mushrooms with it (I got the ‘shrooms, yay!) and he was raving about the heat that his pepper sauce had – it was right up his street. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the plumptious King Prawns; nothing this scrummy could be forgotten, trust me. Their sweetness shone against the richer, deeper flavour of the Fillet steak and I took my time beheading them and peeling off their shell. If you really don’t do ‘whole’ shellfish, just ask the team; I’m sure Chef will serve the King prawns trimmed for you.

Paul came over just as we were putting our cutlery down, and asked if we’d enjoyed the food so far. Both of us were waxing lyrical about the fillet steaks, and were unsurprised when we were told that this particular MPW is supplied by Owen Taylor’s. For those unfamiliar with Owen Taylor, Richard Taylor and his team win award after award for their trade supplying and, having scoffed many an item from them, it’s easy to see why (better still, we only live a mile and a half down the road from them!). Needless to say, Will was loving this shift – he was carrying light loads back to the kitchen: empty plates = happy servers. Fact.

For dessert, I wanted something light but delicious: enter Mr White’s Classic Cheesecake with fresh Blueberry Sauce (£7.95). I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect pud: the base was rich, buttery and soft enough to cut with a fork; the body was magnificently creamy and indulgent, and the fresh fruit sauce was bright and tart enough to cut through the richness whilst adding a subtle sweetness at its finish. A fancy, leaf-shaped tuille topped this treasure, both in visual and texture terms. Utterly magical is an apt description.

You all know how much His Mushness loves a Sticky Toffee Pudding, so you could’ve knocked me down with a feather when it got swerved in favour of the 70% Dark Chocolate Mousse with Crème Chantilly and Fresh Raspberries (£6.95)! Clearly, it was the right choice though, given the Cheshire Cat grin that spread over his face as he took that initial spoonful. This dessert was stylishly served in a cocktail glass to showcase the contrasting tones; at the bottom was the decadently dark mousse, topped with a pristine white Chantilly Cream and garnished with halved, jewel-coloured Raspberries. The wildly opposing flavours of the intense cocoa and the exuberant fruit had The Man Birds’ senses working overtime, roiling in delight as the tastes flooded over his taste buds. Yet again, this was a triumph from Chef; even more so, because the desserts are now all made in-house.

Will was laughing as he’d come to clear our dessert platters away; we were gabbling away like total ninnies, in raptures at what we’d just eaten. With our senses at capacity, we needed a couple of black coffees to buy us time to compose ourselves! Thankfully, the coffee served at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill is a sumptuously rich blend and skilfully brought us back to earth…just as well, cos we’d got to drive back to the nest yet!

Barring the Tomahawk and Chateaubriand steaks, all the other ones on offer are around the £30-mark, give-or-take a few quid which is certainly on-par with other steak venue. What gives it the edge, though, is the quality of the meat served and the skill of the Chef team… and the setting and service – mustn’t forget those! Oh, and if you’re interested, our total bill came to £119.70 which, for everything we had, we thought was great value. Hot Wings happily given again to this fab Nottingham restaurant.

To book your table and/or to take advantage of the excellent offers, ring the team on 0115 872 0602 or visit the website www.mpwrestaurants.co.uk and select your desired venue from the drop-box list. Many thanks, again, to Paul for his kind invitation to visit – we had a wonderful time.

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