Food review: Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Pentonville Road
- Credit: Archant
Before doing this review, I had pledged that from the morning after, I would go vegan for a week. So I arrive at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse needing seven days’ worth of protein.
Newly opened and adjoined to the Doubletree Hilton hotel near Angel station, the restaurant is as plush as you’d expect in the heart of Islington. Nonetheless, two things surprise me. One, it smells like a new car. Two, there is a DJ playing soothing house music.
My friend and I start with a bottle of Shiraz Cabernet (£39) recommended by our cheery waitress. This wine is intense. It’s so full bodied that it easily lasts our two-and-a-half hour stay.
For starters, I choose French onion soup (£7.95) and my friend goes for crispy “devilled” whitebait (£8.50). In fancy restaurants, I usually fume about poor portion sizes, but this doesn’t apply here. My rich - almost sweet - soup is a filling dish by itself, while her plate is full of the freshest tasting fish.
Things get serious for our fillet steak mains (£31.95, including fries and salad) because my friend’s appetite is a quarter of mine. It means I know I’m going to be eating one-and-a-half steaks, and I’m seriously excited. Cooked medium rare, it’s actually perfect. My standard for steak is nearby Meat People in Essex Road, and Marco matches it.
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Much like Donnie in The Wolf of Wall Street film, we go overboard on the sides – I actually feel a little guilty – and the highlight is the buttery wilted baby spinach.
We order chocolate brownie with milk ice cream (£6.75) and sticky toffee pudding (£7.25). Portions are just as generous as the previous courses, and after eating one-and-a-half steaks, this course is about to send me over the edge.
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My brownie can only be described as a big slab: a gooey, deliciously rich slab. My friend, as a passionate fan of “sticky”, is less impressed with her pudding. It tastes a bit like supermarket own brand – which is exactly the kind she loves. But, as she quite rightly gripes, one would expect better at a Marco Pierre White restaurant.
That one small blemish matters little, though. It’s the steak that matters. The menu makes big play of Mr Pierre White’s council estate background. And though the food is not exactly council estate prices – our two steaks and bottle of red alone exceed £100 – this restaurant is a winner.