One of my all time favourite spots in Edinburgh is The Shore, Leith. It has a certain calm about it and a strong reminder that Edinburgh is a seaside city which is so easy to forget when your daily backdrop is Edinburgh Castle (gosh aren’t we lucky to live in such a wonderful city?!).
The Shore is the culinary hotspot of Leith with many restaurants and bars lining the Water of Leith and surrounding streets; but it is also home to one of the most beautiful hotels that boasts a very accessible bar and restaurant to either side of its entrance – The Malmaison.
I went along to sample their new Autumn menu along with some other fellow bloggers and wow were we in for a treat – not just for the eyes but for the tastebuds too!
We started off with a Pink Lady Cocktail that Malmaison will be showcasing at the Cocktails in the City this week. Gin, raspberry syrup, apple juice and a dash of lemon. A smooth sexy cocktail!
We headed through to Chez Mal Brasserie and were seated at the best seat in the house (of course); the big round comfortable booth in the corner.
After getting acquainted and perusing both the Autumn menu and the A La Carte we eventually all made decisions on what to eat.
We ordered from across both menus. For starters from the Autumn Menu we had the Scotch Egg of Venison & Ramseys’ Black Pudding with Autumn remoulade and homemade apple puree and the Autumn Salad of roasted crown prince beets, pearl barley, balsamic and horseradish crème fraiche.
From the A La Carte menu we had the Pan Roasted Sea Scallops with Jerusalem artichoke puree, Paris brown mushrooms and toasted chestnut crumb and the Grilled Spatchcock Quail with coriander, preserved lemon, pomegranate salsa and chermoula dip.
For mains from the A La Carte Menu we ordered the Slow Roast Highland Venison steak with pan-fried maple glazed bacon, pickled baby beets and pomme mousseline and the Lobster Risotto with carnaroli rice, lobster meat and bisque finished with marscapone.
From the Autumn Menu came the dishes of Pan-fried Sea Bass Ribollita with autumnal Italian broth made with white beans, tomato, bread and cavolo nero and the Roasted Pumpkin Tortellini with pumpkin puree, toasted chestnuts, sage and pine nut butter.
Desserts consisted of a Steamed Treacle Sponge of warm light sponge with golden syrup and vanilla custard; Poached Pear Crumble and blackberry with a crispy crumb topping and cinnamon ice cream; and Autumn Eton Mess of poached fig, plum and autumn berries, zesty lemon curd, meringue and toasted gingerbread from the Autumn menu and Vanilla Panna Cotta with poached winter fruits and toasted almonds; Blackberry and Pistachio Trifle from the A La Carte menu.
It was fun playing musical chairs except with plates of food (and we all swopped our plates to the left), the difficult part is taking enough photographs before the food goes cold.
I ordered the Scotch Egg of Venison and Black Pudding. I’ve never had a scotch egg before but I wanted to try something different. I cut the egg open and the yolk oozed out. Soft and runny surrounded by a crust of black pudding and venison. All the components together made for the perfect bite – egg, meat and crisp breadcrumbs with the sweetness of the apple puree was delicious.
My fellow diners commented that the Scallops were soft and sweet presented well in their shells, the Spatchcock Quail and the Autumn Salad were definitely the most photographic dishes of the evening and they were just as scrumptious as they looked.
For main I ordered the Highland Venison. The meat was soft and succulent, the beets were warm and added a rich earthiness to the game flavour of this dish whilst the red onions brought about a sharp sweetness, combined with the mash potato and this is what you call hearty filling food. The thick bacon slice brought this dish together and was ideal with a bite of the venison and pomme mousseline. I just wish there had been more bacon! The wine I choose to accompany this was the Cabernet Sauvignon, Botham Merrill Willis, Australia.
From across the table there was mostly silence that was only interrupted but ‘Mmmm’s’ and ‘Ahhhhh’s’. The Lobster Risotto came with whole lobster claw meat and a generous dollop of marscapone in the middle. Generous, rich and immense.
The Pumpkin Tortellini with chestnuts and pine nut butter smelled heavenly and would make any vegetarian very happy. The Seabass with beans was impressively stacked and the fish was cooked to perfection, flaking easily and the skin was crispy.
We deliberated about having dessert but as food bloggers, it’s all about the photographs so of course we had to have dessert!
I went for the steamed treacle sponge with custard. This was just as you would expect a really good treacle sponge and custard to be. Warm. Filling. Yummy. The treacle had soaked into the sponge almost halfway and pouring the custard over the sponge just brought back many childhood memories. It was a delightful dessert but I was envious of the Poached Pear Crumble which was immensely beautiful and we all just stared at this for a while. All the desserts were extremely well executed, and pretty as a picture.
We were all in agreement that we had just eaten some wonderful, beautiful food using some of the best Scottish ingredients available throughout our Autumn season. What impressed me the most was the thought that went into the presentation and ensuring that it encapsulated Autumn on a plate.
Treat yourself and those you love to dinner at Malmaison; you’ll most certainly not regret it.
Many thanks for Malmaison for the invite.
Malmaison, The Shore, Leith. 0131 285 1478 www.malmaison.com
My Spoon Award : Tartan Spoon