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Review: Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill

It's not rocket science. If you want a decent steak, head for a steakhouse.
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It’s been a while since we ate at Marco Pierre White. The main reason? Last time we were there was somewhat of a disaster. Quite simply everything, and I mean everything, was disappointing. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The decor was okay, and the water was good.

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We’re not vindictive. We don’t enjoy posting bad reviews. Poor reviews hurt businesses and, sometimes, restaurants need a second chance, an opportunity to redeem themselves. We all have off days.

At the time, we reported our experience to the restaurant, and they appreciated and accepted our findings. They were, naturally, disappointed. They asked us to return at some point and we assured them we would.

Skip forward several months, and we were ready to give them another shot. This was early in 2020. The rest, as they say, is history. Covid arrived and besides the obvious effects on the population, economy and, in particular, the hospitality sector, our return was delayed by two years. Now seemed a good opportunity to catch up.

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Marco Pierre White’s is on the sixth floor in Dominions Arcade above Hotel Indigo, and, as we took the lift, we were quite naturally concerned that they might repeat the previous performance. There was a lot at stake (steak pun intended).

Clearly, since our first visit, things had changed. There were staff changes. That was expected. Hospitality has been decimated. This new team greeted us with lovely smiles and made us feel very welcome. Drinks were ordered, menus arrived but we knew exactly what we wanted: steaks and a cheeseburger. Just nned to decide on the starter.

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Calamari all ’round and for mains, Rib-Eye steaks for Jennifer and I and a plain cheeseburger and fries for our son. The Calamari was perfect – lightly battered and cooked to perfection. Our steaks were even better. Jennifer likes hers rare and chef duly delivered. I asked for it “as chef prefers to cook it” and a medium rib-eye with its fat beautifully rendered arrived accompanied by some nice fat perfectly presented chips. On top of the steak were some uncooked cherry tomatoes (on the vine) which looked very pretty. I did think that these might have been better oven roasted. It would have been my preference, but it didn’t detract in any way from the dish.

Jennifer’s steak was, and I quote, “delicious”, ably assisted by a pretty decent glass of Malbec. Mine was equally good. Our lad’s cheeseburger was pretty good too and he wolfed it down along with a decent portion of chips.

We were quite relieved at this point. Marco Pierre White’s good name and reputation was, at last, being referred to positively. Marco wasn’t cooking this particular evening, but we felt that his team were channelling him with enthusiasm.

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To bring things to a close, we ordered the sticky toffee pudding which was very sticky indeed. And quite rich. It hit the spot. We also added a cheesecake into the mix. I think we all tucked into both in the end. The sweet cheesecake was a good contrast to the rich pudding.

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The winner on the night? The chargrilled rib-eyes. If you’re visiting a steak house, you just want a decent steak – it’s not rocket science. Cooking is basically physics and chemistry, and on this Thursday evening in October, the backroom MPW boffins (the brigade) delivered.

We mentioned the decor earlier. It is quite moody. Neutral greys with a little colour blocking. Stylish but, dare I say, a touch oppressive, at least where we were seated. There is a sloping ceiling which made us feel a little like we were in a bunker, albeit quite a stylish one. Even though we were on the top floor, we felt like we were in the basement. We couldn’t quite put our finger on the problem – but, as we got up to leave, we noticed the city lights through the curtains. We wondered whether letting more of that night time cityscape into the room by opening the curtains might create a more dynamic ambience. Just a thought.

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Last, and certainly not least, we have to praise the staff. Our waitress Lauren was lovely and Millie, at the bar, was a delight. Funnily enough, a few days later, we were chatting with a friend, and they mentioned Marco Pierre White, saying it was one of two restaurants in Cardiff they visit to enjoy a good steak. It’s certainly back on our list.

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill
6th Floor, Dominions Arcade
Dominions House
Queen Street
Cardiff CF10 2AR
02920 102 711

www.mpwrestaurants.co.uk

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