Marco Pierre White – Leeds

Cocktail making can be a proper faff to try and do at home; there’s getting all the ingredients in and then actually figuring out how to make the damn things. Before you know it you’ve dropped £100 just trying to buy a few different alcohols to mix things up. That’s why I usually leave cocktails to the experts. It most definitely doesn’t dampen my love affair with cocktails though. I am ALL about a tasty drink which is why I found myself in Marco Pierre White’s newest Leeds venture; Marco’s Italian – learning how to make cocktails!

Along with a group of other bloggers gathered around an Instagram worthy marble table we were talked through the history of cocktails (easy to down during the prohibition dontcha know) and then demonstrated a few different types. Personal highlights were the Porn Star Martini; a delicious mix of vanilla vodka and passion fruit. Served with a shot of prosecco on the side – who can say no to that? I’m also a big Daiquri lover so that went down a storm. We had some nibbles to line the stomach; the Garlic Pizza Bread with Rosemary (£3.75) was especially tasty – really crispy with a good drizzle of garlicky oil and rosemary.

I was then let loose on making my own cocktails! I tried my hand at the classic Cosmopolitan first (as famed by Carrie Bradshaw) made from vodka and triple sec with the smallest dash of cranberry – apparently it should be a blush colour, not the bright red you sometimes see. Then an Espresso Martini which finished the cocktail making session off nicely; the recipe the bar uses is really well balanced – a big hit of caffeine and not too rich if you’re having it as an after dinner drink.

We were then taken through to the restaurant to try some of the new menu (apologies for the pic – it was a bit on the dark side!). Highlights were the Spicy Devilled Whitebait (£6.50) which were perfectly cooked. The Wild Mushroom Lasagna (£11.50) was also very tasty; rich without being too heavy. The ribs on the American Platter were melt in the mouth and the Chicken & Avocado Salad (£13.95) was fresh and a great lighter choice. Some of the dishes I didn’t enjoy as much like the New Orleans Crab Cakes (£7.75) which I found lacking in texture and the Quinoa Super Food Salad (£10.95) which was a bit bland. Then came desserts which were a Chocolate Brownie; okay but not excellent. The real star – a Strawberry Milkshake WITH A SLICE OF CHEESECAKE served in it. Yup, you read that right. Absolutely my favourite bit of the meal and I was gutted I’d drank & eaten so much I couldn’t fully enjoy it.

Thoughts on the new Marco Pierre White opening? The cocktails and bar were fab, one I’ll visit if nearby. The food was hit & miss in the restaurant though so I’d be more likely to pop in for a cocktail and snack on some of that delicious pizza bread than a sit down meal. Cocktails and carbs? The absolute dream team!

This meal & cocktails were complimentary, views are my own though.

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