In a nutshell
Inspired by the chophouses of 18th Century London (where businessmen would meet to hash out deals over meaty plates and jugs of ale), Marco’s Chophouse is situated in Birmingham’s stylish Hotel La Tour and specialises in high-quality, locally sourced British cuts of meat. That’s everything from roast saddle of venison to pork belly, lamb chops and 28-day aged steaks (ribeye, sirloin and fillet) with five different sauce options.
Head chef at Chophouse is Sam Lancaster, who came into the position after working as head chef at Horwood House (a luxury hotel in Buckinghamshire) for 15 years. During his extensive culinary career, Sam has done everything from working at fine-dining restaurants in France to catering for the Royals at a charity polo match.
What’s the room like
Deep red in colour, with mood lighting and shiny new leather interiors, Marco’s Chophouse is a far cry from those stripped back, hipster joints that have recently graced the Birmingham food scene. The high ceilings and lavish finishing touches give it a feeling of grandeur.
British meat cooked using French techniques adds flair to a menu dominated by steaks, grills and chops. The butcher’s block with four cuts of steak is the most lauded, but don’t skip the starters – potted duck with green peppercorns and a beetroot salad with goat’s cheese and candied walnuts were both clean in flavour and prettily presented.
Menu must-orders and misfires
Cream of cauliflower soup teamed with a soft quail’s egg was an unusual but delicate combination, soft and velvety in texture. The Welsh rarebit starter, on the other hand, lacked kick – it needed far more mustard to make us happy.
For mains, the sharing chophouse cuts were worth the extra splurge (starting from £49.50 for two). Try the perfectly pink roast saddle of lamb a la Dijonnaise, served drizzled in rosemary roasting juices for a fragrant and flavoursome cut. A side of creamed gratin dauphinoise was well seasoned and appropriately decadent.
If you’d prefer seafood (although if meat’s not your thing, why are you here?), give Mr White’s fish curry with mango and coriander a go. Juicy chunks of salmon and cod are jumbled together with shrimps, buttery fluffy rice and fresh mango to create a vibrant dish. But bearing in mind the price tag (just shy of £17), you’d better enjoy it.
With fierce competition popping up in the city, we’re not sure Marco’s latest venture does enough to stand out from the crowd. However, if you’re desirous of great meat – the flavour, texture and juiciness of what we ate was undeniable – and a swanky setting, you will find it here; just expect a large bill at the end of it.
Written by Charlotte Philpotts, July 2016
Hotel La Tour
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