On arrival my guests and I decided to sit in the garden to take in a drink and some sunshine.
The first clue that this was not going to be the elite dining experience I had anticipated, was the lack of choice of available draught beer. They were all unavailable apart from the Becks Vier.... I'll just have a half for now thanks!
As 12.30 arrived we headed to the restaurant, which had pictures of our hero everywhere. Some may say a little too much, but hey, he's a good looking chap! We chose a table in the corner which was beautifully laid. A drinks order was taken. I hadn't noticed, but my guests pointed out that the waitress didn't seem very confident. I joked that it was probably the Monday staff.
As the meal went on this became more and more apparent. This is not to say she was bad, she just didn't exude the confidence associated with high end food service.
We ordered starters. I went for a prawn cocktail. I'd never normally go for this, but I was keen to see what Marco Pierre White had chosen to do with this classic and at £9 something I thought it would be great.... It wasn't. It was pretty normal. In fact I've had more impressive prawn sandwiches from Morrisons. It was this point the penny started to drop with me and my guests. Our starters were all "just ok". Being a fan of Marco for years, I realised that this establishment was more like a tribute act, not the real deal. Akin to thinking you were going to see U2 and then finding out its "You Too". Marco would not approve of what we were served. We had all ordered steaks. We were all under the impression that MPW steak house would be the best steak we'd ever eat, cooked to perfection. I ordered a medium rare Rib eye steak as did my friend, our wives went for medium well done steaks.
My steak was cooked perfectly but lacked seasoning. My Friends was closer to medium well and as for our wives steaks.... Both closer to medium rare, if not rare. Did we get the Monday chef too?
Our meals were not hot, seasoned well or impressive. I felt let down. This was, for me, a once in a lifetime experience. We can't afford to eat out like this very often.
The wine was great though and the company was brilliant. The social side of the day far exceeded the meal. We were all on the same page when it came to our view on the meal. Some hotel had paid Mr Pierre White a lot of cash to use his name and image, but not enough cash to pay for his ethos, passion or quality.
We were offered desserts, which we declined. Once we acknowledged to ourselves that this was not what we were expecting, my wallet closed. We mentioned the issue with the steaks to the young waitress when she asked if all was ok? We didn't want to make a fuss at all. But she did apologise and gave us 4×£10 vouchers. Which we though were a lovely gesture... until we read the small print. (one voucher between two people per visit) what?!
The lesson learned here is. Do research on who owns a restaurant? I wasn't expecting MPW to be at MPW but maybe his "belief" could have been.
"when I go out to eat, I'm the ideal customer. I eat the meal and go home and don't complain.
I'd never make a fuss. But the difference between me and the other customers is that my expectations are realistic" - Marco Pierre White - White Heat.
just wanted to share that with you.
(I will be sending this to MPW too)
But the difference between me and the other customers is that my expectations are realistic.