A few years ago I could easily head to a restaurant and always effortlessly glance by steak on the menu but since ‘meat-ing’ Jonny (love a good steak pun) if the place is renowned for good steak I will likely opt for that these days. So when I was asked if I would like to come to the newly opened MPW Steakhouse Bar & Grill in Windsor I jumped at joining a few other bloggers for a socialised evening of dining right on my door step. I mean if it was anything like the one we had been to in Chelsea on the King’s Road I knew I would be in for a lovely meal and great service.
Marco Pierre White, the michelin stared chef who gave his stars back. Hung up his apron in 1999 and more recently you’re more likely to see him gracing the screens while helping judge and mentor on Master Chef Australia, a film favourite in our house. In the time since he has opened up 26 restaurants across the UK, not just the MPW Steakhouse Bar & Grill chain but also, New York Italian & Wheeler’s and Chophouse all set within hotels. Making what can often be a drab hotel bar serving OK ish food a real lashing of luxury for guests and the general public alike, bringing in a whole new world of guests. Nice isn’t it to stay and eat somewhere sometimes rather than heading out and about you can go back to your room if you’re staying and curl up in bed, full and content.
After being greeted and being very well looked after in the bar with a delightful gin cocktail in hand and a flow of conversation in the air, our group was taken to our table where we sat alongside our hosts a chatted about everything you could imagine most as if we were just old friends catching up. I always find this lovely and I really do think the atmosphere of the restaurant that was half full for a Thursday aided in the relaxed feel of the evening. There was a buzz in the room of a few couples and a table of businessmen all enjoying the prospects of good food and just revelling in good company a real easy going evening, a world away from your working day
To start I had this beautiful french onion soup, it was very large but the cheese was oozing and my eyes were pleased as soon as it was being carried to my place. As I mentioned I am now a steak lover so next up for me was of course going to be a steak. We shared a bottle of red between the table while waiting which had to be Malbec, Marco loves Malbec as you will see. I am not a lover of red but this was nice and not too overpowering for my normally white wine only palette.
I then for main had a perfectly cooked filet of steak, a huge filet of steak at that which I couldn’t for the life of me finish was accompanied by onion rings and triple-cooked-chips I switched out my tomato for a side of cabbage with bacon which may just be the best side I have ever had, our Irish host was rather pleased with my choice of this I think too! Sauces are served at an extra cost but you get a huge helping and quite possibly a jug would easily go between two people with extra to dip your chips in. Unless you’re like me and need a little ketchup to accompany your dish. Denise who kindly invited us to the event recommended the Chateaubrienn to share (I shall be getting this on my next visit) but if steak isn’t your thing then gnocchi, half a roast chicken or even a traditional fish and chips are some of the other choices on offer.
Having been to the branch in Chelsea before I knew what desert was going to be! The Cambridge burnt cream which is essentially a creme brûlée, it is probably the size for two sharing but I could never let that stop me, there is always room for desert especially this. Though when I saw two of the other people on our table’s sticky toffee pudding arrive I did maybe drool a little. Another reason to return in my eyes just to make sure I give everything a try.
I love that the team cooking all of our food were not brought in from some fancy school and just replaced all of the kitchen staff. What is really special about this chain is that Marco has a team come in a train the kitchen staff to cook his menu. This not only develops peoples skills but opens up a whole world of opportunity, passion and drive to people who obviously love to cook and are very good at doing so.
The decor was just beautiful, it was simple clean and elegant and was a world away from having a hotel feel. It is set almost directly opposite Windsor castle in ‘The Castle Hotel’ which ironically i had a christmas part at a few years ago on their hotel bar before it had this fabulous makeover and what an incredible transformation it has made. What I do find charming in the decor was the attention to detail and heritage. The 21 service bells on the wall are to mark each of the original rooms, which in comparison to the 108 it now boasts is rather astonishing, the only negative was the private dining room which you can hire at no charge for larger parties kind of lacked the charm of the main dining room, though you don;t have too book that if you are a large group its just an option.
I would also really like to say how wonderful everyone was and thank them for giving me the opportunity to book this lovely place for my parents who are going to be going for a rather special exclusive dinner here early next month where, they can not only dine but meet Marco himself, a lovely anniversary gift from me to them and a big tick for me in their good books. Aaron from the hotel team joined us for our meal and you can tell he’s the life and sole of a party, his energy was wonderful and he was so helpful and just a blast to dine with. Karolina who was looking after us for the evening really did give first class service and makes guest feel like royalty, if she was after a new job I am sure she could pop across the road and Liz would love her at the castle! Of course also Denise who looks after a number of the MPW restaurants and the lady who invited us, she was a font of knowledge and really did make sure we wanted for nothing while there, all adding to a really informative a relaxed night.
A wonderful evening in all and a lovely break from the hustle of a working week. I will certainly be back and have recommended it already to a host of people. I can’t wait to see what my mum and dad think when they visit, I am sure they will adore it all just as much as me. Next on my list to try here is the afternoon tea, which is supposed to be incredible so if you’re in Windsor do be sure to book that into your trip, if local just book and go now!
Will you be visiting a MPW restaurant near you?