- Tablescaping: The Instagram trend setting dinner parties at home apart - 25 August, 2020
- Preview: Come As You Are @ The Refuge, Manchester - 25 August, 2020
- Interview: Divina de Campo: ‘A clash of cultures’ - 29 May, 2020
Featured image: Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill Facebook page
Chester’s own little slice of Marco Pierre class, the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, is the on-site hotel at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chester. Affordable yet very, very stylish, the restaurant was packed out when we arrived. We were invited to enjoy cocktails in the bar before being taken to our table, where the mixologists whipped up some fierce cocktails with speed we’ve not seen in a while. This means you’ll actually want to sit in the bar before going through to sit down, and it’s a great time to check out the menu and work up an appetite.
The restaurant itself is an 118-seater venue arranged into smaller sections, so that the atmosphere retains its intimacy. Head chef Ben Finchett presides over a fabulous menu, while the waiting staff are exceptionally friendly and clued up about the dishes on offer. We spent half the night chatting to our hosts and asking questions about the menu – which they were pleased to answer.
Ordering from the a la carte menu, we started with a basket of homemade bread. This was absolutely delicious, although rather filling if you intend to have three courses (as we did). Good bread is always a sign of great things to come – being, as it is, the simplest and, if we’re honest, often the most boring course at any restaurant. The breads included a cheese and onion, doughy delight which we heartily recommend for its almost pizza-like qualities.
For starters we tried the crispy fried calamari with sauce tartare, and the beetroot and goat’s cheese salad with walnut dressing. The calamari was tender and avoided being at all chewy. It tasted fresh and light. The salad was creamy, slightly tart and a little nutty, with plenty of richness and balance between the ingredients. We were also tempted by the potted duck with prunes d’Agen and toasted sourdough. The starter menu also includes smoked salmon, a potage of mussels billy, pea and ham soup, pear and chicory salad with blue cheese, prawn cocktail, slow roasted tomato soup, bresaola with buffalo mozzarella, baked camembert and finest quality parma ham with avocado. (As you’ll see, the menu is such that it lends itself to repeat visits, just so you can try everything that catches your eye!)
The MPW Steakhouse has its own handy guide to beef to help novices understand their meat a bit better, so you know they mean business. For main course we shared a delicious chateaubriand with all the trimmings. The roasted seasonal vegetables were more than enough for the side, although we opted for sautéed rosemary potatoes as well.
Being called the MPW Steakhouse Bar & Grill, it was clear the beef was going to be fab, but we were unprepared for just how finely done it was. We had seen the fillet steak, rib-eye, T-bone and sirloin on the menu, but opted for the tenderloin cut as it is the most flavoursome and is perfect for couples to share. The portion size was perfect and the meat was cooked just so: seared on the outside and practically brimming with juices inside.
The grill menu is, of course, also meaty: pork chop with baked apple, pan-fried duck, belly pork, chicken kiev, roast rump of lamb a la dijonnaise, beef burger and rare breed pork sausage and mash. If big slabs of meat aren’t your thing, you can, if you so choose, go for a hearty pie: Wheeler’s of St James fish pie, shepherd’s pie and steak and ale pie are all on the menu. You could also check out the fish menu, which includes fish and chips (with haddock, not cod), a fillet of seabass with saffron and chorizo salad, saltimbocca of cod, a fillet of haddock with poached egg and new potatoes, and fresh fish of the day.
Sides include creamed potatoes, onion rings, rocquette salad, creamed cabbage and bacon, creamed spinach, green beans, minty peas and real chips in beef dripping (just like the chippy used to do!). We could’ve gone wild with sides and made a feast of those on their own, but the chateaubriand came with enough trimmings that we were glad we hadn’t.
The cheeseboard includes a choice of local cheeses, such as Blue Cheshire, Kidderton Ash, Joseph’s Gold and Hatherton, and comes with quince jelly and biscuits. These are more than enough to sate lovers of regional cheeses and provide a tasty alternative to a sweet (or another course you can squeeze in, should you have a bottomless stomach).
For dessert we had a Boxtree Eton mess, which was light and fruity, and the bread and butter pudding, which was warming, homely and indulgent. Other options include classic bitter chocolate mousse, sherry trifle Wally Ladd, Mr White’s apple pie, sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce, Cambridge burnt cream and seasonal berries with blackcurrant sorbet. The desserts were decent portion sizes, so when we left we literally had to let our belt out two notches before crawling into bed to dream about the wonderful experience we’d just had. (The Doubletree by Hilton in Chester is a great hotel with its own spa, which we reviewed yesterday, so you can book a lovely room at the same time if you want to make a weekend of it.)
Starters are price from £6.95-9.95. Mains range from £15.95-20.50, although the finer steaks are priced from £20.50 (rump) to £31.95 (fillet), or £59-63 for the sharing cuts. Desserts are £5.95-8.95. Afternoon tea is very reasonably priced at £9.50-25.00 each.
Steakhouse Bar & Grill Chester Doubletree by Hilton Chester Warrington Road Hoole Chester, CH2 3PD. To reserve a table call 01244 408 830 or email@example.com.
Visit the MPW website for more information.