This time of year calls for plenty of catch-up meals with friends, special dinners with family and champagne socials with the work colleages (as much as you might protest). If you're looking for somewhere that is going to impress then I've got just the place:
Chez Mal Restaurant at the Malmaison hotel.
I know what you're thinking- hotel restaurants don't have the best reputation for good food but, aside from the odd business man dotted about, you'd be hard pressed to notice you were in a hotel here.
We kicked off dinner in the lounge with the Chez Mal Signature Cocktail- the Ginger McCain.
Named after the famous Red Rum cocktail, its a mix of rum, obviously, and ginger beer and topped with a miniature race card (inedible- we tried).
After being led into the rather sumptuous dining room we were bombarded with starters from the new 'Bar Bites' menu. Expecting a bowl of nuts and maybe some chicken fingers I was more than a little surprised when what arrived was plate after plate of beautiful, delicious small plates.
|Truffle Arancini with Truffle Mayo|
|Tiger Prawns & Mango Salsa|
|Picanha Beef with Chimichurri|
|Chicken Liver Parfait, Chutney and Brioche|
|Standout Dish- Scallops, celeriac and apple|
For the main event the lovely folks at the Mal decided to give us a taster of their most popular dishes.
|The Stack is Back!|
|Braised Lamb Shank, Root Vegetables and Shallots|
|Fillet Steak, Bone Marrow and Herby Breadcrumbs|
I'd like to make a special mention of the Glazed Truffle Mash that accompanied our mains but it was demolished so fast I don't have any picture evidence of its existenence. Probably the best potato I've ever eaten, I swear.
Not content with wowing us already, dessert was a selection from the Afternoon Tea Range along side some cute miniature versions of their a la carte dishes. My highlight was the super s t i c k y treacle tart. All served up with a little milkshake just for good measure.
The service was fabulous from start to finish and I didn't eat one bad dish all night. Chez Mal are certainly on my recommendations list from now on. Is it cheap? Not really, but in this case you certainly get what you pay for and for a special occasion I wouldn't think twice about coming again.
(Psstt... I've heard they do a pretty bangin' Sunday Roast, too!)