Steak out in the Warwickshire countryside

Visiting Marco Pierre White’s new incursion into Meriden.

Marco Pierre White’s a busy man. His website cites a plethora of activities from books to a hotel and a chain of restaurants, in addition to monitoring new foodie talent down under in Masterchef Australia. You can even dine under his name at sea through his collaboration with P&O Cruises, which sees his menu across the ship on Gala nights. He’s also masterminded the Ocean Grill restaurants on the P&O ships Adonia and Arcadia.

The Meriden branch of Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill is located on the edge of the village, within the Manor Hotel. Arriving there on a Thursday evening after a rather hectic day, and a slight unplanned detour via the outskirts of Coventry, we were pleased to find the restaurant calm and serene.

Fellow diners that night fell into many different groupings: solo diners catching up on work between courses, a chatty celebratory group in the corner, couples, and friends. We were shown to a pleasant booth under a rectangular ceiling lantern. The restaurant is decorated in calming greys, with a rather unusual blue light at floor level, creating a good ambience.

From the ‘for the table’ selection, we chose Devils on Horseback. It would appear that the Devil really does have all the best tunes, as these were magnificent: plump with prunes and mango that exploded with juice in the mouth. The bacon tasted more Serrano than bacon, and was absolutely delicious.

Our waiter came to take our order, and was quick to organise a curfew for the air-conditioning, as it was a bit bracing when we arrived. The swift attention to our needs was typical of the excellent service throughout the evening. Division of labour in the restaurant sees dishes transported from the kitchen by a different team from that dealing with customers in the restaurant itself. That works extremely well, and we noted the attentiveness of the restaurant team to all diners throughout the evening.

From the main menu, we chose prawn cocktail and smoked salmon starters. The prawns were plump and numerous. Salmon sourced from the Severn and the Wye – a very short swim indeed – was delicately flavoured and scattered with finely diced capers, shallots and pickled cucumber, proving a great counterpart to the fish.

For main courses, rump steak came with roasted vine tomatoes and triple cooked chips, which were full of crunchy fluffiness. There was a green salad – or to be more accurate a green and purple salad with the addition of diced shallots for crunch and bite. We were also tempted by the delights of a Chicken Kiev, a dish we’d not experienced since a trip to Russia several years back.

This Kiev was suitably crispy and crunchy of casing, with the anticipated herby and garlic-laced interior. Our waiter kindly arranged more of those triple cooked chips instead of the pommes frites suggested in the menu as an accompaniment in addition to peas. A further generous side order of spinach completed this course.

Only one of us had room to accommodate dessert. This was a sticky toffee pudding, complete with butterscotch sauce and a silkily delicious vanilla ice cream. Coffee – and it has to be said very good coffee – came with a moist oozing corner of brownie, which was also pronounced to be excellent.

If you have any food allergies or intolerances, you will find the staff knowledgeable and the kitchen reliable. For those of us used to the customary matrix of allergens, which demands concentration akin to reading a scientific table, you will be pleased to note that this is much more manageable. For each dish, there is a list of all the allergens included in that dish written in narrative form immediately to the right, making choices much easier.

Our waiter was also quick to identify – and check with the kitchen for confirmation – that ingredients could be removed or substituted from a dish in order to make it suitable for diners who require adjustments.

Expect to pay around £80 plus drinks for two. For bookings visit here