Glasgow is, without question, a paradise for foodies. Whatever you fancy – and however fancy you want to go – there’s a restaurant for you. It’s basically the opposite of when I was growing up, in a small town outside of the city – where, if we wanted a dinner out for a special occasion, our only option was a local hotel.
But what if I was to tell you that one of the finest steak dinners in Glasgow could, in fact, be found in a hotel? Sure, Glasgow’s chic, boutique Hotel Indigo is hardly a bog standard bed and breakfast – but what few people know is that it actually hides one of only two Marco Pierre White-branded restaurants in Scotland.
Given that Bake Off is as close as I get to the celebrity chef world, the name Marco Pierre White doesn’t mean much to me – but the fact that it’s a name that I know probably tells you as much as you need to. Still, I wasn’t keen on his glowering visage peering down upon me as I ate my dinner, so I was glad that the cosy little booth Stringer and I were shown into on our recent visit wasn’t in his direct line of sight..!
Glasgow’s Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill promises “familiar dishes that have become synonymous with the traditional steakhouse experience”, the finest quality Scotch beed and a carefully selected wine and cocktail selection – as we would quickly find out.
I am, as you know, a lady of simple tastes – and so I struggled to find something from the starters on offer that I knew I would be able to eat. Crispy calamari, smoked salon and rilettes of duck hinted at every one of the Michelin stars appearing on the Christmas cards of the restaurant’s patron (is that how these things work? idk). Stringer had no such qualms, opting with only minor embarrassment for the most expensive thing on the menu: Marco’s lobster macaroni. After a bit of soul-searching, I opted for the warm baked camembert.
My starter arrived looking incredible: a whole, boxed, gooey camembert, with two slices of toasted sourdough and a balsamic glaze. Who knows how I was supposed to eat it, but when I spread it on my toast like the world’s poshest Dairylea I was in my element. Stringer’s macaroni looked like my worst nightmare (creamy and fish?) but he ate the whole thing up before moving onto my leftover cheese.
The steaks were, of course, the main event – even if a certain member of my party actually gave serious thought to an alternative main (hint: it wasn’t me). I went for my usual ribeye, cooked medium well; while Stringer opted for a “blue” sirloin with a peppercorn sauce. All the steaks come with a “classic” green salad and vine tomatoes – something which, whatever the menu says, is something usually missing when I go out for steak and also a massive bugbear of my mum’s – and lightly salted skinny fries.
Now, I love steak. Because I’m not that great at making it myself – at least not with that medium well chargrill that I love so much – you will very rarely find me complaining when I’m served with steak in a restaurant. These steaks did not disappoint: cooked to perfection in both cases, really flavourful and with a great combination of sides (that salad makes all the difference – everywhere else, take note).
So what’s the Marco Pierre White difference, I hear you ask? Frankly, it’s the service. Nothing was too much trouble for our waiting staff, who were funny, attentive and incredibly knowledgeable about the menu (and no, they had no idea that we were in reviewing, before you ask). Chris, in particular, was great: steering Stringer away from his original choice of cut to one that he assured him would work far better when cooked rare, and staking (ha!) his reputation on the perfect choice of wine for our meal.
As you all know, I’m not a wine drinker – but as we were offered a bottle of wine as part of the review it would have been rude not to. As a general rule I couldn’t tell you the difference between red wines, but there was a smoothness to the Argentinian Malbec that Chris recommended that set off our steaks perfectly.
Dessert is, of course, the most important part of any meal, and Stringer and I stayed true to type: her, with an ice cream sundae; him, a sticky toffee pudding. You can’t beat a knickerbocker glory in a fancy restaurant on a Saturday night, and Marco’s version had a bit of a winter berry theme going on: vanilla ice cream, berry sorbet and Chantilly cream. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t blown away by the combination – I’m not a huge fan of sorbet, and I’m happier to find fruit all the way through. The sticky toffee pudding disappeared before I could sample a bit, but the pouring sauce (which I confess to sticking my finger in once Stringer was done) was a lovely touch.
A word, too, about the cocktail menu: I’ve actually visited the Hotel Indigo bar for cocktails a couple of times, and they’re always spectacular. I get the feeling that they’ve cut back on their options in order to concentrate on what they do best, which for somebody who loves variety as much as I do was a little disappointing – but my tropical punch was delicious, and Stringer will happily vouch for their take on an Old Fashioned.
While I did feel as though our bill was a little on the pricey side – with the caveat that we don’t normally order wine, which obviously skews things a little – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse. Sure, there are a few places in Glasgow where you can get a steak of similar quality – but it’s the service that sets them apart. I’d go as far as to call this place a real hidden gem.
I was invited for a complimentary meal for review purposes, but all views are my own and unbiased.