With a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse on our doorstep in the centre of Newcastle, we’re pretty damn lucky.  If you’ve ever eaten in one you’ll know that the steak there is out of this world, in fact their Chateaubriand is to die for; soft and tender on the in side, with a little of that pan fired crust on the outside.  It’s a given that an Marco Pierre White Steakhouse is a beef steak lover’s dream.

But what about those times you just don’t fancy a steak?  Or you’re dining with someone who isn’t a fan?  Hey, those people do exist, believe me I know some of them and I’m as horrified as you.  Well, Head Chef Paul Amer at Marco Pierre White Newcastle has talents that span much further than the art of the perfect cooked to order steak.

When Marco Pierre White opened his Newcastle Steakhouse at Hotel Indigo, chef’s were given autonomy and personal discretion to prepare off-menu dishes according to customer tastes.  But things changed over the years as the venue became a victim of its own success, customers would arrive wanting nothing more than the perfect steak accompanied by that awesome creamed cabbage (seriously, try it) and that autonomy was buried deep in a pile of beef off cuts.

Fast forward to today and Paul Amer has created a Steak Alternative Menu and I was invited along to a tasting session to find out if it’s as good as it sounds.  Seated at a long table with a whole host of North East Influencers, we all agreed how unusual it was for us to be seated in such a civil way, and able to chat to each other rather than running from one place to the next.  We were greeted with a welcome cocktail followed by bread and olive table starters as we chatted and caught up.

Paul talked us through his alternative five course tasting menu which is exclusive to the Newcastle Marco Pierre White steakhouse and entirely his own creation, it’s something he feels is necessary for the brand in order to diversify and bring in new clientele.  We started with Rillette of Smoked Mackerel accompanied by Lightly Pickled Vegetables which I’ll admit, I didn’t like the sound of as I’m not a big fan of fish.  I was pleasantly surprised as this was actually delicious, in fact it tasted as good as it looked and was light enough to leave me not dreading the next course as I’d stupidly eaten seven pieces of bread before I’d even sat down.  This was followed by a slow Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (my favourite kind of soup) which was thick and rich in taste; the perfect palate cleanser to prepare us for the next course.

Surprisingly, the middle course of creamy Curried Haddock Risotto was the highlight of the whole meal for me, the rice was perfectly creamed as it should be in a risotto and the lightly curried haddock didn’t leave me with that ‘heavy’ feeling you sometimes get after eating rice dishes.  It’s not something I would have ever chosen for myself but it’s definitely something I’d have again, and that’s the beauty of these Taster Menus, they allow you to explore things you would have never considered.

Slow Cooked belly Pork, black Pudding and vegetables was next up from Paul Amer, something I usually steer away from because of just how filling belly pork can be.  Being a black pudding hater I glared at it on my plate for a little while, wondering which of the other foods it had come into contact with before picking up my flatware.  The vegetables and meat were cooked to perfection but with three courses prior, I was already pretty close to tears (if you don’t know me, I tend to have a hissy fit followed by a little cry when I get too full) so I only ate a little bit of this course.

I employed every child’s favourite tactic of claiming to be too full to finish the main course in order to skip straight to dessert which in this case was Raspberry and Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sorbet and Mini Meringue.  Definitely worth ditching the main course for as panna cotta is one of my favourite desserts, and maybe even worth the tears that immediately ensued.  If you’re looking for an alternative to steak, but something that’s prepared with as much love and thought, then the alternative menu by Paul Amer at Marco Pierre White Newcastle is something to check out.  With large, semi private dining booths you can dine as a large party, or more informally at the area directly in front of the bar.  Marco Pierre White Newcastle also has an extensive cocktail menu and carries stock of some pretty rare gin brands.  Winner.

The restaurant is located in the same building as Hotel Indigo too so if like me, you’re prone to a ‘Too Full Freak Out’, you can sleep it off in privacy instead of having a meltdown in the parking lot like I did.  Kim Kardashian ain’t got nothing on this ugly crying face….

Pixie xo

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