A company away day at the Doubletree Hilton a few weeks back proved to be the perfect opportunity to sample the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse situated inside the hotel. With a group of around 30 people dining together you’re never going to come to a consensus about the evening, but I think the general feeling was that while the food was, for the most part, great, the evening was slightly marred by the service…
We’d pre-ordered our meals a week or two in advance, having opted for the set menu, featuring three choices for each of the three courses. Those who had chosen the steak informed the kitchen of how they wanted it cooked, their choice of side order and sauces at lunchtime on the day. At just £25 per head for three courses at dinner, the set menu is a great option if you fancy dining at the Steakhouse but don’t fancy paying for the a la carte menu, where mains range from around £12 to £27.
I started my meal with a smoked haddock Welsh rarebit served with a tomato salad: a decently-sized chunk of fish with a strong but not overpoweringly-cheesy rarebit topping. All good so far, and similarly appreciative noises from my colleagues who ordered the parsnip veloute and confit duck salad options.
My main issue was with the service, which felt more “American diner” than “big name chef”, and got worse as we progressed to the mains. At our company Christmas party, where we had also pre-ordered our meals, cards on the table indicated what each member of the party had chosen for each course. This meant that the servce was fairly unobtrusive and not a key feature of the evening, as it was on this occasion.
Waiting staff walked around our three large tables, yelling out details of what they had in their hands. Doing so with the starters was bad enough, but the mains were worse. The steaks were served independently of the sides and sauces, which were brought to the tables a fair amount of time after the steaks themselves.
The majority of our group seemed happy with their steaks, and the sauce au poivre drew compliments from the steak eaters at my table. A few, however, ended up with meat that turned out to be more well-done than they’d asked for. I didn’t order a steak (shocking in a steakhouse, I know!), instead opting for a beetroot and goats’ cheese risotto. No complaints here: the rice was perfectly cooked and still had a nice bite to it, and the chunks of sweet beetroot combined well with the tangy, creamy goats’ cheese melted into the rice.
Dessert, for the majority of my table, consisted of the biggest bowl of Eton Mess I’ve ever seen! Served in a large sundae glass, it was a slightly overwhelming amount of what I believe was vanilla ice cream (it had melted, and we’d had a few drinks by that point…), topped with mountains of cream and fruit. The meringue chunks were delicious, but so large that it was difficult to eat them in one mouthful! Definitely an enjoyable finale to the meal, though.
It’s a long way to travel out of central Bristol just for a meal, but if the opportunity arose, I probably would head back. I think our disappointments were caused by the fact that we were a large group, which couldn’t have been easy to serve! Next time, though, I think I’ll order the steak… 🙂
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse
Telephone: 01934 839 019
Address: Doubletree Hilton, Frost Hill, Congresbury, Bristol BS49 5AD