Before Christmas, Josh and I got our glad rags on for a very special date night, as we made our way to the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes to enjoy dinner at the newly opened Marco Pierre White's New York Italian restaurant.
If there are two food cuisines I enjoy the most, it's New York and Italian. Both consist of carbs, wine and oh, so much cheese. I have never dined at a New York Italian restaurant, so I was intrigued to see how the two would combine together.
Not only that, I had the privilege of being invited to Marco Pierre White's restaurant to review it for the first time.
Bloody. Marco. Pierre. White.
The award-winning chef who was the youngest chef to ever have been awarded three Michelin stars and has trained notable chefs like Gorden Ramsey.
It was safe to say, I was expecting BIG things from this experience.
Walking into the restaurant, it was so clean and minimalistic in appearance, with marble tables, wooden interior and the touch of yellow leather sofas and black and white imagery of Marco himself in action in the kitchen.
The atmosphere was elegant and relaxing; perfect for date night and definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion.
We were greeted by a young waiter who asked us what we liked to drink. Josh and I decided in the car on the way to the restaurant (as you do) that we were going to share a bottle of the house red wine, hoping it would complement any dish we’d choose.
The wine was one of the highlights of the evening as I’m usually really picky when it comes to red wine. It was a Lavender Hill Merlot which had a fruity essence, was very light on the tongue and very easy to drink!
We hadn’t looked at the menu prior to visiting, so it was a complete surprise what was on the menu. The menu consisted of a mixture of New York and Italian delicacies, from pasta’s, to pizza and buffalo chicken. The menu was certainly versatile and full of choice.
We were kindly offered some breads and olives to start with, which we don’t usually take advantage of but we were hungry!
We nibbled on some fluffy squares of Focaccia bread covered in flaky rosemary, dipped in olive oil and balsamic - subtle, light and delicious!
Our starters came out much quicker than anticipated whilst we enjoyed our nibbles, but we forgave it as the food was all cooked fresh and ready to serve.
Josh went for the crunchy chicken goujons with a mustard mayo dip, which didn’t fail to be crunchy on the outside, but smooth on the inside. Josh was very impressed with them and loved the dip to complement.
I went for Calamari Fritto Misto with a tomato salsa mayo. Now I didn’t realise my calamari would be so fresh and not covered in deep-fried batter, but I don’t think I want my calamari any other way as it was so fresh and tender with every bite. Oh and that salsa mayo was sweet and zesty!
About 10 minutes after our starters were cleared away, our mains came straight away - again, we commented on how quick the food came, which could be seen once again as a good thing if it’s cooked fresh.
Upon appearance, both mains looked great. Josh opted for a classic Steakhouse Monterrey Jack burger which looked juicy and sublime covered in melted cheese, stacked with a crispy onion ring wedged in between.
Josh mentioned how the burger was big, juicy and full of meaty flavours. The Monterrey jack cheese was his favourite bit.
I went for a dish that I can’t resist if it’s on the menu: lasagna. Usually, I say no to it if I’m doing a food review, as I like to expand my horizons. But as this was Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian - this was a dish that I wanted to try in this specific restaurant.
Upon first taste, it had all the elements of the perfect lasagna: meaty, cheesy, the right amount of Al dente on the pasta sheets and the right amount of layers.
However, I was disappointed in the lack of beef filling inside the dish itself. What looked excellent from the outside was underwhelming on the inside. It felt like they had forgotten the filling entirely.
However, despite this, you can’t deny the beef flavour was still there and I was covered in cheese, so I did end up eating the whole dish.
After my main, I was still hungry as the lack of beef didn’t satisfy my hunger. So the dessert menu was well needed.
The desserts definitely didn’t disappoint and it made up for my main course. Josh went for a vibrant red classic 1930's New York Knickerbocker Glory with raspberry and vanilla ice creams and sorbet, vanilla cream and fresh raspberry sauce.
As I'm not a huge fan of sorbet, I let Josh dig right into his dessert, but he said it was his highlight of the evening and was seriously impressed with the huge wafer he received on top of his sundae.
As for me, I went for a slightly less extravagant, but no less yummy, Banoffee Pie with toffee sauce and milk ice cream. It was heavenly.
There's something about milk ice cream that is so simple, yet so effective that it can turn any dish from a good one to a memorable one - bravo, Marco Pierre White!
Every flavour blended so beautifully together, without being too sickly sweet as expected. It was the nicest Banoffee Pie I've had in a long time.
There was the option of having an after dinner tipple from Italy like a Frozen Limoncello or a traditional Espresso Affogato.
Overall, the experience felt very sophisticated, we received a good amount of customer service, despite the fast food service, but the food was freshly cooked, extremely tasty and good value for money.
I believe if I had ordered a different main, I would have enjoyed the experience a bit more - Josh very much enjoyed his, so I know the restaurant has so much more to offer food wise.
I would definitely come back for a date night, as it's continentally located in the centre of Milton Keynes with plenty of parking (and good access to taxi's if you want to drink a bit more!)
Have you ever dined at Marco Pierre White's restaurants? Will you be trying New York Italian cuisine soon?
*Disclaimer: Our meal was complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and photos are my own*
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