Located at the very top of The Cube, in the centre of Birmingham, Marco Pierre White‘s is well known for being a hotspot for diners in the city. As the restaurant is a ‘steakhouse, bar and grill’, I had always assumed that, as someone who doesn’t eat meat, there would be little point visiting. When, however, I was invited down to try out some of the new additions to the menu, I realised that there is certainly more on offer at Marco’s than just steak, and I was interested to see if these options were worth shouting about.
The atmosphere on our visit was buzzing, even though it was a weeknight, and the views from the prime location were certainly breath-taking. We were shown to our window table promptly and met our server for the evening. Though we didn’t mind so much, the style of service we received may not have suited everyone, as, in her own words, she ‘talked our ears off’ throughout the night and certainly wasn’t one to stay in the background and leave us to it. We also felt that the chart music that was playing quite loudly stopped the restaurant from feeling particularly sophisticated, and at times felt like it belonged more in a club.
After ordering wine, the food got off to a great start. We had olives and bread whilst choosing from the menu, which went down very well. For Jack’s starter he went for the Welsh rarebit with poached egg, on toasted sourdough. This course was all cooked perfectly, with eggs that burst open and a thick, strong, cheese sauce. I went for the smoked salmon, which came with half a lemon and more bread. The salmon was incredibly fresh, having been sourced on the river Servern or Wye, and garnished with shallots and capers, which really added to it. The portion size, I felt, didn’t need to be quite so big, as I couldn’t finish it – and I LOVE smoked salmon.
For his main Jack opted for the yellowfin tuna steak, which was served with panzanella salad. The tuna was lightly seared and tasted incredible. This was certainly the highlight of the meal for both of us (because, of course, I got in on some too!). Unfortunately, the dressing did slightly spoil the salad of tomatoes, capers and croutons, as it was far too vinegary and meant Jack couldn’t quite finish his main.
I opted for the fish curry, another new addition to the current menu. This curry was very light and mild, more like a Thai seafood dish than an Indian fish curry, and was served with buttered rice. The fish was cooked to perfection and the mango chunks brought a sweetness to the dish that worked beautifully. I really enjoyed my main, but whether I thought it was worth £17.95 is another matter.
Next we both ordered desserts. The new additions to the menu, and, in fact, the entirety of the dessert selection, can only be described as boring. It seems a real shame, in a celebrity chef restaurant, to offer the bog standard options of Eton mess, New York baked cheese cake or rice pudding. We hoped that there may be something a little bit special about these desserts upon trying them, but unfortunately the Eton mess and cheesecake were, though very pleasant, as unimaginative as they sound.
Finally, to round off the evening, we ordered a couple of cocktails to sip on whilst we enjoyed the view. Jack went for a Negroni and I had the Hendrick’s cooler – a refreshing concoction of gin, lemon juice, mint, cucumber and elderflower cordial. Both cocktails were well balanced and enjoyable, but the prices on the menu seemed totally unjustifiable. With most coming in between £12.50 and £14.50 (and a long island ice tea setting you back £17.50?!), we couldn’t work out what warranted the price tag, as the cocktails were neither creative, original recipes, nor made with particularly premium ingredients.
Overall, our experience at Marco Pierre White was a a very pleasant one – some great food, good service and an exclusive skyline setting. Unfortunately, however, we weren’t blown away, which is what you might expect from the price point, and had we been paying guests, I think we would have left feeling pretty disappointed. That being said, if you’ve got the cash to splash, the food was very enjoyable and the views certainly add something special to the evening. Thank you to everyone at Marco’s for having us!