A few weeks ago an invite arrived in my inbox to visit Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill on Level 25 of The Cube. The reason? Christmas.. obviously. Despite being July, and about 25 degrees on the day I got the email, the invitation was to come to Chez Marco for a summer lunch with a difference; instead of salads and cocktails we’d be sitting down to a three-course festive feast with wine. Regardless of the seasonal switch around, I accepted the offer with the same understated coolness people know me so well for (“Absobloodylutely, best email I’ve had all week!”) and began daydreaming of pulling crackers and paper hats.
I like the festive period (mainly because I spend the majority of December eating and drinking my way around the Frankfurt Market and getting lightly toasted at lunchtime) and I was keen to see the MPW take on the traditional Christmas lunch. Jumping in the lift to take me to level 25, I was quite excited to get my Christmas on. After being directed to the small but fabulous Champagne Bar (suitably decked out with sparkling festive trees and with a chap singing festive favourites) I was reminded how chic this secondary bar is, and I made sure to take in the panoramic views with my glass of bubbly. It’s definitely one of the best viewpoints of Brum.
As part of the three course meal at Christmas or New Year, guests will choose from a selection of starters and desserts to go alongside the traditional Turkey Roast roast. (For the vegetarians a Wild Mushroom Risotto with peas, asparagus and an Italian hard cheese crisp was available). Starters will include a Mushroom Tartlet with poached hen’s egg and Hollandaise sauce, or an Atlantic Prawn Cocktail in Marie Rose sauce with brown bread and butter; the latter is what my mum gives us every year. Feeling a warm sense of festive cheer (it might have been the free flowing wine) I was delighted to see the prawns would be our starter.
I must confess I do love a prawn cocktail; there’s something comfortingly retro about the dish and it reminds me of being a kid in the early 90s. Despite my nostalgia I was delighted to see a modern take on this seafood classic, with the dish arriving looking more like a fancy ice cream sundae. The layers of cold water prawns, shredded iceberg lettuce and pink sauce were distinct and it all tasted as you’d expect, although there was perhaps a tad too much lettuce for me. I’d also have liked some of the sauce on the prawns rather than just at the bottom – to be honest I was just scared I’d get more on my shirt trying to mix it all up because I’m clumsy.
Time for the main event, and as we regaled stories of Christmases past our Turkey Roast with Festive Trimmings arrived. The first things I noticed were the duck fat potatoes (the best bit of any roast dinner: fact) and the always welcome pigs in blankets. The individual roulades of turkey and sage stuffing proved to be tender and moist, and I couldn’t argue with the portion. As hoped, the roasted potatoes were both crispy and fluffy, and extra delicious when smothered in the thick bread sauce and meat juice gravy. All elements of the Christmas dinner were cooked well and it was an enjoyable main, although I would have liked more vegetables, especially sprouts.. because I’m greedy and they are Christmas.
Dessert time arrived after another glass of wine, and I admit I was moderately terrified I’d be faced with my food hell: Christmas Pudding. Thankfully the choices available don’t involve the black blob of doom (my words, not Marco’s) and instead guests will be offered sweets such as Black Cherry Sherry Trifle, and Caramel Creme Brulee. We had the former and I can say hand of heart it’s both delicious and satisfying; it could easily feed two. The sweet creamy custard specifically was all kinds of fabulous – I’d go back just for that alone.
Despite the lack of port-fuelled family rows about politics or a heated game of Monopoly (I did offer!) I enjoyed my mini Christmas up in the clouds. It really is a beautiful venue and the views are just stunning, plus there’s something quite special about the entire experience the MPW team provide. Don’t forget the newly opened Haig Club Bar is situated next door to Marco’s, and they do some seriously sexy whisky cocktails.
Prices will vary depending on what and when you book; I’m told early bird discounts apply. Merry Christmas! *breaks open the port and cheese board*
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, The Cube, Birmingham, B1 1PR
*Disclosure: I was invited by Santa (Rewired PR) to attend this event and therefore the food/drink was complementary. I wasn’t required to write about my visit but being that they provided my beloved sprouts in July I think they deserve it*