On Saturday 5th September I attended a special Pop-up Restaurant in Southampton at the Grand Harbour Hotel. Marco Pierre White and the Hotel have worked In Collaboration to create a one of a kind dining experience during the Boat Show festival this September. Having never dined at a Famous Chef’s restaurant my thoughts immediately were “I have to book now!” Having made my reservation for Emma & Myself I then proceeded to look through what I should eat. As soon as the menu was made available I had a look and I was amazed by how good value £28 for three courses was, although a little concerned because I thought the price cannot reflect that of a well established chef.
Having made my decision on what I was eating a week ago we just needed to get ourselves, and get to the hotel for 6.30pm. Making the 30min journey from my house to the closest car park was easy on that night (although it isn’t always!) and after a short walk we arrived to be greeted by lots of interesting black & white photos of Marco through the years of his career.
I actually think that this entrance is pretty unique in the sense of a foreboding nature of the man behind the cooking it also makes you stand to attention, although unfortunately not cooking himself the restaurants kitchen is run by Marco Pierre White trained chefs and they have effectively become the head chef for the few weeks it features. Having made our arrival we were then taken to our table where I was becoming rather excited with the anticipation of the meal.
We were served promptly within 2 minutes of us sitting down our Waitress Danielle came over and took our order as well was the drink order. I will now comment on each individual course below under the name of the dish as this will hopefully make it easier to read.
Rillettes Of Duck, Prunes D’argen served with toasted Sourdough:
I shall start by explaining that a Rillette is a form of pate where a meat normally pork is cooked in fat & salt to bring out the flavour and turn it into a soft paste. It was served in a mini pate dish with a duck fat top to the pate; rich & delicate with the sweetness of the prunes this was delicious. It came with sourdough bread wrapped in a warmed napkin to keep the breads heat in and it was nice to have some warm bread. I really enjoyed this starter and it certainly got me excited for the rest of the meal.
Classic Wheeler’s Fish Pie served with Buttered Garden Peas:
When reading reviews online about Wheeler’s most of the restaurant goers raved about the Fish Pie, although I’m really not a big seafood lover I had to order it as it was a must try. I’m so glad I did! This again was served in a little pie dish with piped & browned mash potato on top and when I put my fork into the pie the gooiness from the cheese made me tingle with cheesy excitement. There was a selection of salmon, prawns, cod or whitebait and I think maybe trout? The creamy white sauce and the cheese combined with the potato & fish flavours made me keep going until it had all vanished. If all fish pies tasted like this I certainly would order it more often. Served with buttered peas it added a little texture to this otherwise smooth & runny main course. I enjoyed this course with a cabernet sauvignon from New Zealand.
Cambridge Burnt Cream:
An english take on what effectively is a creme brulee; just like the rest of the meal it was delicious. The freshly caramelised sugar to form a breakable top added a treacly flavour, with the vanilla custard centre being light & fluffy. It is a lovely way to end a meal because it wasn’t too heavy or too sweet and was a perfect send off to this beautiful meal.
This truly was a wonderful meal and for £38 (Incl. A glass of Wine I ordered & service charge) I think that it is excellent value for money, with both Emma & Myself agreeing that it is the best meal we have had out in our 3 years together. So if you’re heading to Southampton in the next few weeks head over to http://www.grandharbourhotel.co.uk/mpw book your place at this pop up restaurant for a unique dining experience and a memory forever.