Marco’s express lunch: short and no need for sweet

Marco's New York Italian at the Hampton By Hilton Hotel, Sheffield
Marco's New York Italian at the Hampton By Hilton Hotel, Sheffield
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One sure fire way to minimise the time it takes to do lunch? Cut down on your customers’ options.

The new Express Lunch at Marco’s New York Italian, celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s restaurant to the hotel which now occupies what was West Bar Police Station, certainly keeps it simple.

Aimed at city business folk, the noon-2:30pm £7.50 one-course deal offers a choice of just six things; two pizzas, two pastas and two salads. It certainly makes choosing swift.

Though to be fair, a mini menu is actually about giving the kitchen team dishes they can create in double-quick time - so they can get time-poor diners fed and on their way fast. Head chef is John Cluckie, of the Blue Room and Piccolino’s, “The express menu can be easily turned around within the hour but doesn’t cost the earth or compromise on quality,” he says

If you do want to linger longer, the a la carte is available. American-Italian inspired, it includes pizzas, pastas and posh burgers at around a tenner up to whole seabass and a £28.50 10oz fillet steak. And, if you’ve a mind, you can string out the Express choice to more permutations than my CSE Maths can work out by going 50-50. That’s what we did. And two halfs did make us feel a whole lot better.

The husband opted for half an Americano pizza with half a Caesar salad (both pleasing and tasty but nothing special); I had a gorgeous al dente pasta with rich pomodoro sauce and half a disappointing goat’s cheese, beetroot and rocket salad (nothing more than three ingredients). We ignored the a la carte starters; our plan was to indulge with £5.50 puddings; I know of old they’re fabulous.

This is the third in the Marco’s chain launched by the Leeds-born chef who got three Michelin stars but gave them up in 1999 to become a restaurateur. It is, I think, a very good choice for a business lunch. It doesn’t look much from the outside. But inside, it’s all refined elegance with a classy bar area perfect for after-work cocktails. The dining room is large and perfectly-lit, with an open kitchen far enough away not to be noisy or taint your clothes.

Lunch was so satisfying we were too carbed-up for puddings. The bill is £20.79, which includes £3.90 for two lovely, freshly-squeezed juices and a 10 per cent charge. (Service would have been spot-on had we not had to ask for table water),

Marco’s New York Italian, Hampton By Hilton Hotel, West Bar Green, Sheffield S1 2DA

Tel: 0114 3990990

Ratings out of 6:

In and out in an hour: YES

Free Wifi: YES

Parking: Off Centenary Way

Food: 4

Service: 5

Value: 4

Atmosphere: 6