Marco Pierre White Steak & Alehouse
East India House, 109-117 Middlesex Street, City, Central London, E1 7JF
Class and simplicity are the keywords at Marco Pierre White's Steak & Alehouse. Hidden away down a quiet back street, and yet just a five-minute walk from Liverpool Street station, this traditional English steakhouse surrounds you in effortless style from the minute you pass through the front doors. Nothing, from the food to the decor, is over-baked. Marco has opted to do away with side plates, for example, as they 'clutter up the tables', and this no-nonsense approach carries through to every aspect of the dining experience. A dish of delectable Whitstable oysters, served 'au naturel' on a bed of ice, provided the opening gambit for an unpretentious but wholly sophisticated meal. The chicken liver and foie gras parfait with Madeira jelly melted in the mouth and was sumptuously rich, beautifully complemented by a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc from the restaurant's extensive wine list. The hand-cut steaks, dry-matured on the bone for up to 21 days, were of course the main event, and the tender 8oz fillet certainly didn't disappoint. Similarly, the grilled tuna, served rare with rucola, olive oil and balsamico, was juicy and sweet; each mouthful proffering a deep, meaty flavour. The quintessentially British dessert, Eton Mess, left a pleasant zing on the tongue and rounded off a thoroughly enjoyable evening in the company of knowledgeable staff and an enthusiastically charming maître d'. We'll certainly be going back.