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REVIEW: Marco Pierre White's New York Italian | MediaCityUK

Jonathan Schofield is in fantasy land amidst rationing

Written by . Published on November 10th 2014.


REVIEW: Marco Pierre White's New York Italian | MediaCityUK
 

SO after the meal MPW, as us industry insiders call Marco Pierre White, swanned out of the kitchen and over to the table at the Holiday Inn in MediaCityUK. Instead of his usual chef whites and a tea towel around his noggin he was sporting a very handsome Cockney pearly king’s outfit and playing the spoons.

As it stands this is the most dispiriting menu I’ve ever seen attached to a ‘celebrity’ chef’s name.

Towel-headed Marco Pierre WhiteTowel-headed MPW“Hello MPW,” I said, “call me a sinner, call me a saint, but ain’t this manor the dog’s."

He smiled as he jumped on his supersonic hoverboard and called, “So glad you like it, but must dash, I have seventeen more franchises to open.”

Harsh reality imposed itself.

I’d fallen asleep facedown in Marco’s New York Chicken. This was chargrilled with crispy prosciutto and Monterey Jack cheese served with lazy fries was priced the somewhat lively £16.25.

Pricewise everything was lively in MPW’s MediaCityUK homage to mediocrity. A bread basket for two was £3.25. Pizzas were mostly over £9, burgers mostly over £10 and even a hotdog was £9.75.

The next flight leaving from Gate 20 is...The next flight leaving from Gate 20 is...

The main problem with the place, despite two very good restaurant managers, was the food. That chargrilled chicken (main picture top) was both meagre in size and meagre in ambition. The tiny little thing was dryish, the cheese and prosciutto were flavourless and why there was a tub of sickly coleslaw on the side is anybody’s guess - probably to bolster the size of the dish given how small the portion was. A gravy boat of what may have been weak bbq sauce, I really had no idea, didn’t help.

This dish appears to be on all the several MPW New York Italians around the country. It’s a proper shocker.

A calamari starter (£5.95) was all right but clumpy, claggy. The crab cakes (£7.50) were decent enough, lifted by a salsa which should have been three notches hotter. The mozzarella, basil and tomatoes (£5.50) suffered from wholesale ingredients. Restaurants aren’t canteens or cafes, if a dish hangs on good raw materials then school dinner standard mozzarella is not good enough. The tomatoes were tight and hard and wrong, cheap too.

Various starters and poor mozzarella and tomatoesVarious starters and poor mozzarella and tomatoes

A seabass with chips (£16.75) was described as ‘fine but totally lacking in any sort of character. Functional. Dull.’ It was another small plate for more than sixteen quid as well. At least the tuna (£16.75) had colour and moisture with its olives, capers, herbs, tomatoes, but it was clearly asked for as pink inside. It was cooked through.

Seabass and on and onSeabass and on and on

By this time all three diners wanted to leave but dessert had to be taken. A cheeseboard was chosen with honey (£4.95). The taleggio was good but at last with the gorgonzola there was real flavour.

It’s a strange thing this franchising business. If the chef were allowed to cut loose here and develop his own menu, the place might have a chance. As it stands this is the most dispiriting menu I’ve ever seen attached to a ‘celebrity’ chef’s name.

It reminds me of menus in one of those suburban pubs that still mess up British dining. It’s a menu designed not to offend, it’s consciously cautious because you suspect it was created to appeal to the sort of people who faced with chilli con carne say, “I don’t like this fancy food, have you got something more simple?”

The gorgonzola was goodThe gorgonzola was good

The food needs more flair, more colour. And more ingredients. Compare this review to this one of the Lawn Club. Maybe rationing was never lifted in MPW’s household. But if you’re going to serve dull food you might as well make sure it fills people up.

I was left scratching my head over this one, scratching my head over the price, the portion sizes, the airport lounge dining area, and the lack of flavours.

The gamble for Holiday Inn must be that during United match days or when the Beeb's studio audience next door leave, say, a recording of The Voice, passing punters will be lured up to the floor by the magnetism of MPW’s name. Maybe, but there’s nothing here to entice food loving locals back after a first visit.

Gordo's review of the Chester MPW is here, and his interview with MPW is here.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

ALL OUR SCORED FOOD REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY MANCHESTER CONFIDENTIAL. REVIEW VISITS ARE UNANNOUNCED AND COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF ANY COMMERICAL RELATIONSHIP.

Marco Pierre White's New York Italian, Holiday Inn Manchester, MediaCityUK, 0161 813 1040

Rating: 11.5/20

Food: 5.5/10 (calamari 5, crab cakes 6, buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes 5, tuna 6, chicken 5, sea bass 5, cheese 6.5) 
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing, 14-15 worth a trip, 16-17 very good, 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

The menuThe menu

Calamari by numbersCalamari by numbers

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mark Garner, The PublisherNovember 10th 2014.

Mr. Pierre-White is no longer associated with quality restaurants I am afraid. He could so easily have gone into a quality partnership with some of the fabulously well organised and passionate food operators down in that there London; it is clear, however, that he has chosen his partners poorly. I feel unclean whenever I see one of these restaurants pimping off his name.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AVONovember 10th 2014.

Surely the evidence that he's sold his soul is that he appears on adverts for those Knorr Stockpots.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

I used one of those Knorr Stockpots once. Bloody awful. I'm no chef, but I'd be disappointed in myself if I'd cooked that chicken dish for my own tea.

Steve5839November 11th 2014.

Agreed, too much salt or is that too much detail?

DarrenNovember 10th 2014.

Gino D'Acampo announces plans to open YAFI In Manchester! How many do we need?!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

I can always use a decent Italian restaurant. My personal hatred is a YABBB....Yet Another B***** Burger Bar. Dirty food is a vile concept with ground up meat slathered in all kinds of gloop. And who came up with the idea of throwing Monster Munch into the mix? The sooner they all close down the better.

Daniel JamesNovember 10th 2014.

the food in the photos looks awful - and far too expensive

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

£16+ for that chicken dish! It looks like something you'd expect to pay about £8 for in a suburban pub chain.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

looks terrible.

SquirrelitoNovember 11th 2014.

New York Italian? More like Luton Posthouse. Looks boring and bland - and chips served in a pan, might as well go to a Joey Holts pub. I hope Knorr are getting a cut of this tripe.

Trish KarneyNovember 11th 2014.

Probably only children in pubs/restaurants annoy me more than a restaurant bearing the name of an absentee celebrity chef. If I go to "Gordon Ramsay" then I expect him to have some part in the kitchen. MPW seems to lend his name to anything simply to make a few bob, making him look like a disingenuous sell-out who's as much of a marketing man for Knorr stock cubes as a chef. Seems such a wasted opportunity for this unit, however, it could have been worse, it could have been a Nando's....

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Siobhan FarrarNovember 11th 2014.

you are right Trish children should not be seen or heard outside of the home

Trish KarneyNovember 11th 2014.

Plenty of "family-friendly" places around, Siobhan

Richard HJNovember 11th 2014.

Yeah, like most of Europe Trish you plank.

AnonymousNovember 24th 2014.

Wow. So if I have kids I can only take them to "family-friendly" places? How very patronising of you.

Steve5839November 11th 2014.

I have very little to say about restaurants that us a big name when the big names influence is limited to the name over the door.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

Gino d"campo stole Paul youngs guitar

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