March 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
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A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get an invite to try the new menu at Marco Pierre White’s Sheffield restaurant.

Marco’s West Bar Green location looks pretty random on the map, but it makes perfect sense once you realise that it’s next door to Sheffield’s Hampton by Hilton hotel. Marco’s definitely feels like the kind of place where you’d treat yourself to a nice cocktail or an evening meal if you were visiting our city on an overnight trip, especially since Marco’s is pretty much built into the Hilton – it doesn’t get anymore convenient than that!

This was my first visit to any Marco’s restaurant and after browsing their website I’d been anticipating a ‘nice restaurant’ vibe. But Marco’s turned out to be even nicer than I was expecting, to the point where I was actually glad I’d booked in for lunch, because if I’d visited in the evening I’d have felt a bit underdressed.

The glossy interior, immaculately laid-out tables, smartly-dressed staff and light piano music tinkling away in the background all come together to create a very suave and sophisticated atmosphere, which would make this the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. 
Marco's interior

Marco’s new menu is a pretty decent size, with the standard ‘Main courses’ section plus separate sections for steaks, pizzas, pasta and salads. The food is on the pricier side, but when you’re sat in such nice surroundings, spotting a £30 steak on the menu doesn’t come as a shock.

For my starter, I opted for the calamari with spring onions and chilli (£7.50).

marco's calamari

This starter is a nicely-sized portion of juicy squid in a lovely light batter. I particularly liked the sprinkling of spring onions and chilli, which gave this starter a burst of freshness and heat that made this much tastier than your typical calamari.

My dining companion went for the New York buffalo wings with blue cheese dip (£7.50).

marco's buffalo wings

The buffalo wings were tasty and not in the least bit greasy, but the best part of this starter was the accompanying blue cheese dip, which was insanely strong. If you love your blue cheese, then you need to try Marco’s blue cheese dip – you won’t be disappointed!

Onto the mains and I couldn’t resist the incredible-sounding yellow fin tuna steak alla Sicilian, which came with lemon, black olives, spinach, capers and fresh coriander (£18.25).

marco's tuna

Just looking at this photo is making me crave this tuna steak all over again – no mean feat, considering it’s currently 7.30am!

Marco’s tuna steak is pretty much happiness on a plate. It was lightly cooked so the insides were pink and juicy, and all-around melt-in-the-mouth perfection. This tuna is served with seriously sweet, juicy tomatoes and moreish creamed spinach (who knew spinach could ever be described as moreish?)

My only gripe is that the tuna also comes with capers, and although the capers do add an extra vinegary dimension to the dish, this just didn’t work for me as I hate capers.

But capers aside, this tuna steak is incredible and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who loves fish in general, or tuna in particular. My only problem is that after eating tuna this good, my home-cooked tuna steak (which I’d previously been pretty proud of) tastes like the most boring thing imaginable. So, cheers for ruining that for me, Marco’s!

My buddy went for the Hickory smoked baby back ribs, which come on a bed of fries with a crunchy, tangy Russian coleslaw (£17.25).

It looked downright terrifying.

marco's ribs

The plate itself was enormous – and the rack of ribs was still hanging off the sides! My friend said this was the only plate of food that had ever scared them, and it’s easy to see why.

Even after they’d gnawed their way through this super-sized portion of delicious smoky ribs, they still had to contend with an equally ridiculous amount of fries. Despite being described on the menu as a ‘bed’ of chips, this was more like a meal in itself.

Only order Marco’s ribs if you have a serious appetite, because this is a truly daunting amount of food.

So what do you do after tackling a mountain of ribs and chips? Order hot Italian donuts with chocolate sauce (£5.75), of course!

marco's donuts

These donuts were fresh and tasty, although a tad doughy in the middle. The accompanying chocolate dipping sauce was perfect though, rich, dark and silky – basically everything you could ever want from chocolate sauce.

After initially telling the waitress that I didn’t have any room for pudding, she somehow managed to twist my arm into ordering the Sicilian lemon sorbet with frozen limoncello (£5.95) by promising me a light and refreshing dessert.

And she was absolutely right, as the lemon sorbet delivered exactly the blend of icy, citrusy goodness I needed after so much rich and filling food.

marco's lemon sorbet

The sorbet itself was eye-wateringly sour (yum!) and soaked in lots and lots of limoncello, so this was basically a dessert and an after-dinner cocktail rolled into one. And really, who doesn’t want that?

The whole thing was topped off with a few curls of sweet-and-sour candied lemon that added a nice bit of crunch to this otherwise smooth dessert.

Despite being light and refreshing, this lemon sorbet was packed with flavour, and I’m so glad the waitress recommended it to me – especially since this isn’t something I’d normally order.

And so concluded our experience of Marco’s new menu.

Despite putting away a whopping 6 courses between us (!) we left Marco’s with very little to nit-pick about. The only thing I wouldn’t order again was the calamari, because although it was good it wasn’t quite as good as the tuna steak and sorbet. And “I liked the starter, but I liked the main and dessert so much more” isn’t much of a criticism!

True, Marco’s is a bit more expensive than your typical restaurant so it’s not the kind of place I’d eat at every week, but the quality of the food and general loveliness of the surroundings means that it feels well worth those extra few pounds.

If you have a special occasion coming up, or you just feel like you deserve a treat then I can highly recommend a trip to Marco’s Sheffield.
four stars


Anchorage: Spring/Summer Menu

April 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 1 Comment
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I’ve pretty much fallen in love with Anchorage over the last couple of weeks following a string of amazing meals there.

On my last visit, I had one of the best vegetarian Sunday lunches I’ve ever eaten, and my friend had a hanger steak they’re still talking about weeks later. So when I heard Anchorage were releasing a new spring/summer menu, I had high hopes.

Anchorage’s menu is “East Coast” inspired, so the food has an American feel. They also offer a “build it yourself” meat and cheese platter, where you get to choose exactly which cured meats and cheeses you want. Doesn’t a bottle of wine and a build your own cheese platter sound like the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon? Yet another reason to look forward to summer!

But today wasn’t the day to eat cheese and drink wine, I was here to sample Anchorage’s new menu – and drink wine.

anchorage wine

Since it was early on a Wednesday afternoon, I was sensible and resisted Anchorage’s cocktail menu, but if you’re in the mood for a cocktail then I highly recommend their dirty martini (£8).

I’m not usually a fan of martinis as I always feel like they’re burning my taste buds off, but Anchorage’s martinis are smooth and dangerously easy drinking. Plus each dirty martini comes with a side of strong blue cheese, so it’s a drink and a snack!

anchorage martini

After taking a look through Anchorage’s new menu, I opted for the 6oz Tuna Nicoise steak, which came with green beans, egg, olive, anchovy and tomatoes (£15).

anchorage tuna steak

The 6oz tuna steak looked incredible – and it tasted every bit as good as it looked. The tuna was delicately cooked, so it was still juicy and pink on the inside, and it was heavily seasoned with lots of salt, so every bite was packed with flavour.

Just how good was the tuna steak? Well, since my visit to Anchorage I’ve found myself craving tuna and cooking it at home at least a couple of times a week. Anchorage has single-handedly got me hooked on tuna steaks!

The tuna came with a long list of added extras, including sun dried tomatoes and a breadcrumb-covered egg. Beneath the light breadcrumb coating, the egg yolk had just the right amount of runniness. I wish I could cook eggs this perfectly!

My tuna also came with a salad of lettuce, green apple, and pear. The pear slices were melt-in-the-mouth ripe, and were a nice contrast to the crispness of the green apple. This isn’t your typical boring salad of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes! Why can’t all salads be this good?

The tuna also came with a handful of walnuts, which turned out to be the most unusual and interesting part of the meal. Some of the walnuts had a tart, vinegary flavour, as though they’d been pickled, while others were crunchy and sweet. Whenever I picked up a walnut, I had no idea whether I was going to get sweet or sour.

The whole thing was finished off with fancy swirls and dollops of different purees and mousses, which brought even more flavours into the mix.

If you have a passion for new and interesting flavours, then Anchorage’s tuna steak is your perfect meal. After wolfing down the delicious steak, I thought the best part was over – but then I moved onto the different accompaniments, and every forkful was something new and interesting.

At £15, this tuna steak is at the top end of Anchorage’s menu, but it’s worth every penny. I can’t think of one negative thing to say about my meal – it was perfect.

Also arriving at our table was the Amish Chicken (£13) which promised half a chicken served with cream sauce, whipped potatoes and green beans.

When Anchorage say half a chicken, they mean half a chicken.

amish chicken

Even the photo doesn’t do justice to just how much chicken was on the plate. This is one of those mountains of food where no matter how much you eat, you never really seem to make a dent in it.

As if half of the world’s biggest chicken wasn’t enough, this meal comes with a super-sized portion of rich and creamy mashed potato.

Only order Anchorage’s Amish chicken if you’re seriously hungry – you’ve been warned!

After our massive main meals, we didn’t have room for pudding, so we wrapped up our Anchorage experience with a round of lattes.

anchorage coffee

Anchorage’s coffees are beautifully presented, with a few sugar cubes and a bourbon biscuit on the side. If you don’t have room for pudding, then this is the perfect way to end your meal.

I’ve never had a bad meal at Anchorage, and their new menu continues this tradition. The tuna steak is perfect for an adventurous eater, and the Amish chicken is guaranteed to leave you stuffed.

While looking through the new menu, I spotted a few more things I’m eager to try, so I’ll definitely be returning to Anchorage again soon. And of course, as soon as the sun comes out I’ll be treating myself to that long-awaited Anchorage cheese platter and glass (bottle…) of wine!


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