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Miller & Carter Steakhouse, restaurant review

Fat Git, our gastronomic cabbie, goes in search of some beefy action at Albert Dock

Published on July 12th 2011.

Miller & Carter Steakhouse, restaurant review

“EET has been a while, a while since I tasted any meat with a bone in it...”

Nadia purred, stretched like a leopard, and licked her full, pouting lips lasciviously, peeling her long gloves from her arms.

This was two shells filled with little more than a tablespoonful of thermidored meat. Tiny, not even a semi-lob

Her green, cat-like eyes surveyed me, then the menu, then me again. She sucked slowly from a straw.

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“You know, Fat Git, you 'ave been a let-down. But tonight I give you another chance to make Nadia satisfy.”

I flushed, trying to avert my eyes from the direct gaze of this rare Siberian species. We were sitting on the quayside at the Albert Dock, watching the sunset - as flaming orange as my cheeks, and as garish as Nadia's Mai-Tai, her fourth.

She was right about me failing her. At least on the eating-out front. Nadia likes her fine dining treats, on the arm of a gastronomic expert like me. That's when she manages to give her hubby, a professor at the university, the swerve.

But of late I have neglected her. I have been on the rank, every night of the week, till 6am.

Why? Well, as regular readers will know, I have been on Employment Allowance, or Incapacity Benefit, for 17 years - the same time as I have been on the cabs.

What you may not know is that at Christmas I was hauled before a tribunal in Dale Street and pulled off.

It has been a hard few months, and not in a good way.

It is relatively rare to find a Porterhouse cut, or a T-bone on a Liverpool restaurant menu. With the arrival of steak specialists Miller & Carter to Albert Dock, however, all that's changed.

Now the whole gamut of bovine cuts is only a moo away: from a chateaubriand for £43, between two, to a little weener 6oz rump for under a tenner; with fillets, sirloins and ribeyes in between.

Miller & Carter boasts that all its meat has been matured for 28 days, or as Nadia flirtily inquired of the waiter: “You have well hung every night? No?”

But make no mistake, this is a steakhouse chain. Like a Beefeater or Aberdeen Angus?  A bit, but far, far posher. For a start, a bottle of £7 supermarket Oyster Bay is twenty-five quid.

To pay for this lot I was wondering how many big tips I would need. 

As if on cue, I felt a throbbing in my slacks and we both jumped. It was the electronic pager that the waiter had given us when we first arrived to tell us to go to tjhe table.

LobsterLobsterThere was a full house this Tuesday evening so we'd had to wait.

Loads of restaurants have opened up since the Arena was built, chancing their arm for some post-gig business. However, all was quiet in the plastic-beer-glass palace tonight, so something was driving the meat-loving, polo-shirted world and their wives in here. And it wasn't a chance to have a pelt at Morrissey.

No, steak and chips remains our imaginative nation's favourite dish. It draws a crowd. When it's good, it's very very good, when it's well done, it's horrid.

Creole king prawns, Nadia's choice of starter, was off. She didn't fancy buffalo chicken wings, manchego souffle or cheesy mushrooms: “I get like you, ha!” she said, prodding my generous girth. Instead she “saved herself” for another two cocktails and three more Sobraines outside. I wasn't bothered, I tucked into baked lobster (£6.95).

Tucked is the wrong word. This was two shells filled with little more than a tablespoonful of thermidored meat. Tiny, not even a semi-lob.

I proceeded to a 14oz T-bone (£21.95), “so called because of the shape of the bone”, said the menu, helpfully.

The meat is half sirloin and half fillet. This I had medium rare, although why they recommend you have it “at least medium”, is beyond me. Skinny fries are not unlike McDonald's, an “onion loaf” is a big hash brown really, and there are a few salad leaves and half a tomato.

The beef, drenched in borderlaise sauce from a big pile of options, was cooked well, although it lacked real depth of flavour and texture necessary to make a bad-for-you dish good and memorable.

It wasn't particularly thick either, a flank rather than a plank, and it didn't scream 14oz at me after a session on the sizzler. This meat had withered.

You, however, would probably love it.

Sea bassSea bassNadia made short work of her two bass fillets (£13.50) which were nicely seared on the skin side and came in a sort of spicy pepper coating on a bed of bashed new potatoes and some green beans. “Ees good,” she growled.

Much is made of the provenance of the beef. M&C boast it comes from hand picked farms and, in the absence of evidence to suggest otherwise, we can only assume the fish is farmed too. A black mark for many.

But not according to Nadia who worked in a fish canning plant at the base of the Urals for 12 years.

Nadia thinks farmed fish is a good thing and despises line-caught practices, having once discovered, the hard way, 90 sandeels in the bloated stomach of a tuna that had been hanging around on a hook for three weeks. This was when it eventually exploded all over her on a conveyor belt during a night shift. Lucky fish.

I allowed her to gnaw at the remains of my beef  while we waited for dessert. They were all bought in, we were informed, and Nadia said she would pass. “I save energy for cocktails and dancing later, no?”

DessertsDessertsBut my loins were still rumbling uncomfortably and I ordered an M&C Sharing Dessert (£9.95) which is supposed to be for two, but that's ridiculous when you have special food needs like me.

It wasn't great. Blueberry cheesecake, banoffee pie, a decent warm chocolate brownie and ice cream and mascarpone tart. It was plenty of nuthin' as George Gershwin might have had it.

A couple of glasses of Rioja, at £7.50 each, and a bottle of L'Aristo pinot grigio for the lady (£21) brought the bill to £90.

Miller & Carter replaces the old, tired Ha-Ha restaurant (both owned by Mitchell & Butler) and I mentioned this later, we were parked up on Booker Avenue in the dark.

Nadia said: “Sometimes when you have been going at something for a while and getting nowhere, you have to change hands.”

I thought she was talking about re-branding. Then she sighed and reached for those long gloves.




Food 6/10
Service 3.5/5
Ambience 3.5/5


Miller & Carter,
Atlantic Pavilion and Anchor Hall, Atlantic Dock,
Liverpool, L3 4AF.
Tel: 0151 7077877

Outside, obviously
Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect.

Liverpool Confidential critics dine unannounced and we pick up their bills - not the restaurant, not a PR company.


Follow Fat Git here on Twitter @fatgit

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Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on July 12th 2011.
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