REVIEW: Marco’s New York Italian, Hoylake Wirral

Marco Pierre White at FrankiesFollowing a recent rebrand Marco Pierre White has brought his family friendly New York Italian restaurant to Hoylake’s King’s Gap. With the promise of fresh local produce and an American-Italian inspired menu Rich Denton went along to sample the cuisine.

When the British Open golf returned to Hoylake back in 2005 it reinvigorated the sleepy seaside town. With it came a multitude of bars, cafes and restaurants to cater for the influx of tourists both during the event itself and in the immediate aftermath. Although things have quietened down somewhat since, it was that return to the conscious of world golf and the subsequent announcement that the elite competition will return in July 2014 that led to the development of the Holiday Inn Express in 2012.

Tucked away in the far corner of the town and no more than a stiff seven iron from the Royal Liverpool links, the 56 room hotel built on the site of the old Kings Gap hotel includes conference facilities and also hosts Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian restaurant.

Much more intimate and relaxed than the celebrity chef’s other Merseyside based restaurant (the brightly coloured MPW Steakhouse on Chapel Street, Liverpool), Marco’s New York Italian offers a romantic feel with mirror balls spinning flickers of light around the room and perfectly complimenting the traditional Italian music in the background.

We visited on a Saturday evening so the restaurant was busy but service times throughout our meal were more than acceptable and we only seemed to wait a just a few minutes between courses.

Enjoying a glass of Prosecco and a selection of breads we looked through the menu. As the restaurant name suggests the menu features Italian and New York dishes with an MPW twist. Alongside the classic pastas, pizza and fish dishes, there’s the Big Apple influence with burgers, steaks and even hotdogs! The choice is plentiful, catering for all appetites and times of the day. The prices are not overly expensive, a three course meal for two people with a bottle of wine costing around £70 but a couple of pizzas and beers come in at less than £30.

I have to be honest here, spotting a Vernaccia di San Gimignano on the wine list, a crisp white from the town where my wife and I spent our honeymoon was always going to earn extra points. Add in restaurant manager Aldo’s knowledge of the wine and the Tuscan region and we were already well on the way to a lovely evening.

marcos foodI had decided to opt for a simple selection (after all if a restaurant can’t do the basics…) and I wasn’t disappointed. Starting with a plum tomato and basil soup I was perhaps playing things a little too safe, as tasty as my soup was, my wife chose chargrilled asparagus with poached egg and parmesan crust immediately gaining envious glances from across the table.

Electing to go for sea bass for my main course there were two options on offer; traditional pan fried or an option for ‘acqua pazza’ with tomatoes, olives, capers, fennel. I went down the traditional route and the three pieces of fish served with lemon, potatoes and rocket salad were cooked to perfection. The more flavoursome ‘acqua pazza’ is definitely one I’ll keep in mind for next time though. My better half picked out the chicken stuffed with mozzarella & tomato, wrapped in prosciutto with lazy fries.

Dessert as always would offer up a conundrum. With seven options on offer and at least three recommended by the staff, the decision was a difficult one. My wife chose the ‘naughty option’ of triple chocolate truffle cake, rich and not for the faint hearted (or the calorie counter). I was intrigued however to find out, just how a balsamic ripple would go with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries? The answer is very well and something I’ll be trying at home instead of chocolate sauce.

With quality food and a great atmosphere Marco’s has all the ingredients for a treat or to celebrate a special occasion.

For more information or to book a table visit: www.marcoshoylake.co.uk

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