MARCO PIERRE WHITE STEAKHOUSE AND GRILL: WILL THE LAST PERSON TO LEAVE TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
Q:When is a grill not a grill ?
A:When it’s a frying pan.
I will accept “When it’s Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill”.
Actually, my T-Bone didn’t suffer too much from being fried - it was cooked rare as requested - but that extraordinary range of tastes you get from grilling a piece of bovine flesh was notable by it’s absence.
The meat, from Donald Russell, was also ok but tasted underhung and made for unexciting and expensive eating. What’s that you say Hermano, Donald Russell ? Donald Russell the mail order place ? Yes, the very same.
Actually I buy some meat from Donald Russell myself at Christmas time but when I’m paying £30 for a 16oz Steak I’d like the restaurant to try a bit harder to source their meat. Buying from DR just smacks of laziness. That lack of attention to detail and seemingly, enthusiasm, for the whole project pretty much sums up MPW Steakhouse and Grill.
Take the frontage. There’s a nice new neon sign and below it the iconic picture of a man who likes to think of himself as some sort of latter day Don Vito Corleone (Someday, and that day may never come etc), but the awnings still proclaim the place as Lanes.
So you go along thinking you’re visiting a nice, newly relaunched restaurant only to find it’s the same old place that you never really liked but this time decorated with a lot more pictures of some loony holding his chopper. Words that spring to mind are thin, veneer and sham.
As with the Steak the rest of the food was more or less ok. It’s pretty much what you would have expected of an eatery in the Square Mile before places like L’Anima upped the ante considerably.
Potted Duck was a little underseasoned but tasty enough. It was overpriced and the portion was just too big. Much as I like fatty dishes this one just seemed to go on and on. Compare with the sensibly-sized starter I had recently at L’Absinthe.
I was assured the Triple Cooked Chips really were (Triple Cooked Chips). But I had a sense that they were on the menu for effect. I can’t believe that the Chef or the Owner actually thought they were the real deal. Not unless they were seriously deluded.
But more than the food it was the whole MPW thing that worried me. I mean, I didn’t expect the man himself to be cooking there but, you know, if he’s a friend and if he’s going to put his name to something you’d expect something more than a faxed menu suggestion. Something that showed a lot more intent.
With just a few tables occupied the restaurant had the doomed feel of a nascent Marie Celeste. Then I remembered that MPW has a company called White Star Line.
Q:What was the flagship of the White Star Line ?