It was our first anniversary on Monday (Happy Anniversary Mr. C!), but being Monday many of the nicer Birmingham restaurants are closed as it’s chef’s night off. We fancied something with some sparkle so thought we’d give Marco Pierre White’s (MPW) at The Cube another go. Our previous experience of the place was disastrous, admittedly it was on the 2nd of January when most people are still recovering from New Year’s Eve revelry, including the kitchen staff. All of the reviews of it we heard from our gourmand friends reiterated what we’d experienced though – poor service, worse food. We had however heard recently that there was a new chef who seemed to be turning the place around – so we bravely booked again.
The brasserie style restaurant is situated in the glass “crown” of the iconic Cube building at the back of The Mailbox complex. The building dwarfs its neighbours and I’ve always thought it’s a little out of place. It’s browny golds are shamelessly brassy, this isn’t a building that apologises for itself. It’s showy design is now echoed in the new library which follows similar colours and has the same air of more-is-more about it. The view from the generous terrace (the highest in the city) is wonderful, framed by the latticework of the building’s façade. There are better views in Birmingham, but only if you have access to some of the city centre’s more exclusive apartments in the clouds, so MPW is a great place to take in the 360 degree view. Unfortunately it does seem to attract a fair share of think-they’re-playboy types (and if that’s you, just because you wear Prada trainers with your tracksuit, does not make it cool, when everyone else is looking smart in jackets, next to them, you look like a knob, buck your ideas up sonny, and be polite to the staff).
Arriving feels a bit VIP as you take the lift hidden away in The Cube, guarded by concierge. Inside, the restaurant feels fairly sumptuous although for drinks there is no table service which I think is a bit of a miss. It does mean you get to watch the bar staff very artily produce some delicious cocktails. I had the third best Old Fashioned I’ve ever had (number one, should you be wondering, was on the eve of my CP at The Hyatt’s Pravda bar) – third best is a good thing given the number I’ve supped! The cocktails are not massively expensive and seem expertly made compared to those at other Birmingham venues (it’s puts in sharp relief the slow overpriced service at The Mal Maison bar).
We were seated by a window and given a complimentary cocktail as it was our anniversary – good start MPW! I had the parfait of foie gras, followed by the pork belly with butter beans, and my partner the calamari then the fillet steak, served by the friendly and efficient Kirsten. Everything was very tasty. I’m struggling to think of something to fault. I was offered more toasted brioche to go with my parfait when I ran out, nothing was overcooked, it was all seasoned well, the service was speedy but not rushed, and the dishes were plentiful (we did not need the sides). We had a bottle of Brouilly to go with it which was scrumptious. I was as full as an egg once we’d done starters and mains so I can’t report on the puddings.
A three course dinner with wine and a cocktail will probably set you back about £80 per head. If you’re not a fan of the brazen, the place probably isn’t for you (try Andersons, or Hotel La Tour). If you want to take clients for dinner, or go on a show-off date, or go for a rowdy meal with friends, then give it a go.
Thanks to the MPW team for a wonderful anniversary dinner.