REVIEW : New menu at Chez Mal, Malmaison, Edinburgh

Whenever the opportunity arises for you to dine at Malmaison, never say no! It’s impressive the way they work being a large chain of hotels across the UK; their menu is ever evolving along with their expansive cocktail lists and after chatting with Head Chef Andrew McConnell, it’s refreshing to here that every couple of months all the chefs from the 15 hotels across the UK meet somewhere convenient and sample, taste and develop dishes that will make it onto the next round of their latest menu.

Chosen from their new Malchemy Bar Menu, this is the Rum Chocolate Rum cocktail, a cocktail developed by the Birmingham Malmaison team. Havana Especial, Pussers Blue Label Rum, Crème de Cacao, chocolate & bitters and demerara. Potent but delicious, and oh so intoxicating to look at.

Another sexy looking cocktail is the The Rhubarb Triangle from the Leeds team.
Slingsby Rhubarb Gin, lemon, honey, apple, rhubarb, rosemary and Mediterranean tonic.

The inspiration for these cocktails comes from each Malmaison, and its host city, creating a refreshingly different menu of signature cocktails. Edinburgh’s entry is the ‘Firkin Brilliant
Edinburgh’ using Firkin Oak Aged Gin, bitters, apple, honey, lemon and soda.

Malmaison have a new marketing manager in the mix too, who has produced the most beautiful menus I think I have ever seen. The imagery is fabulous, and if menus ever became the sought after ‘coffee table book’, then this one will be the first one on it!

The menu is carefully crafted and broken up into sections. Aperatif Cocktails, followed by Nibbles and Starters, Mains, Meats, Accessories, Butters and Sauces, and Desserts.

The menus are large and glossy, and you most definitely will lick your lips several times whilst contemplating, deciding, changing your mind, officially making the decision and then wondering if you’ll have food envy if you order the wrong dish!

For nibbles you can tuck into the grilled sesame flat bread, roasted red pepper
hummus, pesto and chilli oil.

Or the Haggis and Ramsey black pudding bonbons with truffle mayonnaise. I love haggis bon bons and dipped in this truffle mayo are wonderful mouthfuls of crunchy coated peppered haggis covered in silky smooth truffle flavoured coating. Yum!

For starters you can tuck into treats such as these Tempura of courgette, calamari & tiger prawns, chilli jam and crème fraîche. This was a big plate of food and it smelt amazing. The batter was light and fluffy and the seafood cooked perfectly.

Or try the Spiced Asian prawn and crayfish cocktail, sesame and lime dressing, cucumber, Chinese leaf, coriander and wasabi mayonnaise. Again large portions, that could easily be a nice lunchtime meal on its own. My photo does not do this justice, it was a very pretty dish.

Carpaccio of lightly pickled Heritage beetroot, roast baby beets, pickled mushrooms, fried garlic crisps, watercress and black truffle dressing. This just makes me yearn for summer. The colours so vivid and a feast for the eyes.

You can also choose the Winter Prix Fixe Menu (2 courses for £19.95). This is the Roast Cumbrian chicken and Serrano ham terrine, truffle mayonnaise and toasted brioche.

I say it time and time again, that I am not going to choose Scallops off a menu, but…but… but…. they are just so lovely and my favourite thing. This is the baked sea scallops, Duchesse potatoes, mushrooms and white wine sauce. For me this had a great 1970’s vibe about it with the piped potatoes around the shell. The scallops were cut in half and served in a creamy sauce.

Now Mains was an extremely hard choice to make with the mains and the meat section offering divine delights and the accessories promising lip-smacking dishes.

The Seared Cornish scallop and crab risotto with Carnaroli rice, white crab meat, bisque, scallop and lemon butter is a very popular dish; and you can ‘sea’ why. Vivid orange with jewels of the sea crowing the top.

Perhaps fish is your preferred dish. Order the grilled or pan fried lemon sole, served whole on
the bone, new potatoes, capers and parsley butter. Fish is more flavourful when cooked on the bone and this certainly was packed with flavour. The fish was cooked and seasoned to perfection.

Or if you like a little spice then opt for the Chicken tikka masala skewer, pistachio and sultana
pilaf rice, grilled coriander flat bread and Raita. It will definitely tick the box.

From the Winter Prix Fixe menus, here is the slow roast brisket, Ramsey black pudding potato rosti, Madeira jus and a Cotswold fried egg. (sorry no egg video this time).

I chose the Cumbrian chicken breast, garlic butter, green beans and pommes frites from the Meats section. It combined some of my favourites things to eat – chicken, garlic and green beans.

Drool! THAT garlic butter….

The pomme frites or chips was absolutely yummy! Crispy on the outside with soft and fluffy in the middle, and acted like a sponge for soaking up all that hot garlic butter.

We were all so full that our bellies ached at the though of dessert. I’ve had desserts a few times from Chez Mal and I would vouch that they would be sublime. Had I had ANY room left, I would have opted for the Chez Mal hot chocolate, salted caramel and white chocolate ice creams, marshmallows, chocolate mousse, cocoa nib tuile and Valrhona hot chocolate sauce. We seen this delivered to the table next to us and we all had the cheek to stare in envy!

Thanks to Malmaison for a lovely night, and as always the food and service were great. It was nice to be able to chat to the Head Chef Andrew and find out his food passions and what drives him to continue to produce such consistently gorgeous plates of food.

Malmaison, Chez Mal, Tower Place, Leith, Edinburgh. 

Tel :  01312851478 www.malmaison.com

My Spoon Award : Gold 9/10

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