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Taxi Noir: Marco Pierre White Steak House


You know the celebrity chef, Marco, right? He was brought up on a Leeds council estate, and left school with no qualifications (as the best people do). After chef school he stayed for a while in Yorkshire, working at Hotel St George in Harrogate, then the Box Tree in Ilkely. When he opened his own restaurant, young Gordon Ramsay worked in the kitchen. Ramsay comes over as very disciplined and controlled, while Marco promotes a flamboyant bad boy image: the Keith Richards of cookery. The two trade insults, but I reckon they text each other to discuss what they’re going to say, like teenaged girls talking about what they’re going to wear at school. Any publicity is good publicity. Marco has expanded his restaurants amazingly. Time will tell if an over-expansion will result in disaster as it did with Jamie Oliver.


Anyway, I parked on an industrial estate on the edge of Milton Keynes and we walked in the drizzle to the unfashionable town of Bletchley and on to a leisure park: Primark, M&S, Next – it was all here. Food options included Pizza Express, Nandos, and a decent-looking Turkish place (MK seems to be the mecca for Turkish food with the three top Trip Advisor restaurants being Turkish). My wife, Mo, didn’t believe there was a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse here, but there was.

The steak house was inside the Milton Keynes Dons football stadium. We found it all right, but the automatic doors stayed automatically shut. There were blokes in yellow vests shuffling around inside, but it looked closed. Strange, as I only confirmed my booking yesterday. Still, we turned up to a nearby restaurant in the summer to find it in darkness and with a notice saying their staff had gone down with Covid. We circuited the stadium again and asked at the Double Tree Hotel. They assured us the restaurant was open. We walked around again. I joked that we’d be eating from one of the burger vans if it remained shut.


There was increased activity with stadium workers rushing around. One directed us upstairs to the restaurant. I don’t know whose fault it was that we were ten minutes late: the restaurant or security staff.

It’s a nice restaurant: clean, modern, and very comfortable. A bit minimalist for my tastes, but the framed photos of old Milton Keynes and magazine covers of Marco added a bit of interest. Mo loved it. I still thought the environment wasn’t quite far enough removed from that of a hotel conference room. I half-expected a flip chart set up in the middle of the room. It needed some atmosphere, but there were only a handful of us. Sure, 6.10 is early, but there was a football match on at 7.45. I thought it’d be full. Maybe Marco’s restaurants would fare better at a Premiership stadium?


A pet hate: piped pop music in restaurants. Docked two points.

Service was a bit slow considering the place was almost empty. The food was excellent. Mo’s chicken in mushroom sauce and my ribeye were first class.

I got a Fuller’s London Pride and a Camden Town pale ale under my belt, but we had no time for dessert. We were attending the football game afterwards.

There was no option to pay with cash, and an automatic 10% tip was added to the bill. It’s a sad state of affairs when businesses won’t accept Her Majesty’s coin of the realm. They’re still blaming it on Covid.

Like the football team, it was decent, but not quite Premier League. A nice restaurant and excellent food though. We’d go again.