A pre-Christmas treat at Malmaison Glasgow
Back in August, Lis took me for afternoon tea at Malmaison Glasgow and it was the perfect post-birthday treat. I’m a huge fan of afternoon tea and love trying new places, with Malmaison leaving me suitably impressed by their alternative take on the standard sandwiches and scones affair. The Chez Mal brasserie opened in the Glasgow hotel a couple of months ago, and I’d been drooling over reviews ever since.
The festive season is always full of lots of good food, and at the weekend I kept up my tradition of an indulgent December with a trip to the Chez Mal Brasserie to sample some of their mouthwatering menu for myself. Geraldine had recently arrived home from Manchester for Christmas, which is the perfect excuse to catch up over cocktails, and made a nice change from our usual tapas adventures.
Much like the rest of the stunning hotel, Chez Mal is an incredibly stylish setting, with a cosy atmosphere that makes for the perfect mealtime venue. Having never stayed in one of the beautiful Malmaison hotels before (as much as I would like to!) I wasn’t too sure what to expect in terms of the restaurant experience, but my visit on Sunday has solidified my desire to indulge in the full Malmaison experience in the future.
The Chez Mal menu boasts a selection of classic dishes, with a twist. The macaroni cheese benefits from the addition of mushroom and black truffle, making it a delicious treat that’s a bit more exciting than the standard fare and was incredibly tempting. I was also drawn to the braised lamb shank, with lamb being one of my favourite choices. Okay, I’ll stop rambling about what I wanted to eat and share what I actually did eat. I’m the sort of person who looks up the menu days in advance and has my dishes preplanned before I even set foot in a restaurant, so I went in with a pretty solid idea of what I wanted to try.
Although I was certainly in the mood to devour an entire selection of bread, I decided to be a bit more sensible and started out with the chicken liver parfait, whilst Geraldine opted for the prawn cocktail. Portion sizes were definitely on the generous side, with Geraldine being served an absolute mountain of prawns. My parfait was incredibly rich and full of flavour, complemented perfectly by the accompanying winter fruit chutney which added the perfect sweetness to cut through the full-bodied parfait. My only pet peeve with dishes like this is when they’re served with just a couple of slices of bread on the side, so I was a bit disappointed to see just two slices of brioche toast – but that’s because I’m greedy.
For my main, I ultimately couldn’t ignore my love of steak, and chose the classic fillet steak served with roasted bone marrow. And chips on the side, of course. When my main arrived I was surprised by the height of the meat, having expected a more classic cut of steak, but it certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of flavour or texture. Easily one of the better steaks I’ve had in Glasgow, and one I’d definitely be running back for. I decided to order chimichurri on the side and it was the perfect addition, a great kick of flavour that brought the meat to life.
I’m not a big fan of bone marrow so after a quick sampling ended up leaving that to the side – I’m fussy about textures – but I definitely made up for it with my inhalation of the chips. I’m a sucker for triple cooked chunky chips and Chez Mal’s offering was a very welcome addition to my meal, with crispy outsides and fluffy insides, just the way I like them.
When Geraldine’s towering burger arrived I was slightly jealous of her choice, particularly with the addition of onion rings and a buttermilk fried chicken slider. It was a seriously impressive stack, which when served alongside a huge portion of pommes frites, was no mean feat. Judging by the rate she wolfed it down, I’d say it was a good choice.
Despite being absolutely stuffed to the brim, Geraldine and I are never ones to turn down dessert menus. Straight away, Geraldine knew that she had to have the Valrhona chocolate pavé, served with an absolutely incredible salted caramel ice cream. I, personally, was torn between a few options, with creme brulee and sticky toffee pudding being firm favourites of mine. Ultimately, I decided to try something a little bit different, and went for Chez Mal’s version of a hot chocolate. This consisted of mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate mousse, marshmallows and a cocoa nib tuille served with a delectable hot chocolate sauce on the side. It was every bit as good as it sounds, and a chocolate lovers dream. It teetered on the edge of being slightly too rich, but the addition of mint chocolate chip ice cream helped cut through the luscious chocolate and lighten the dish up slightly.
Unsurprisingly for a restaurant situated in a hotel of Malmaison’s standing, the service was brilliant. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, which is something that you don’t often find in venues serving food of this quality, and our attentive waiters instantly put us at ease. They were happy to chat through the menu offering and make recommendations – which is always handy – and when items weren’t available they were quick to make substitutions to suit us.
This was really apparent when ordering drinks, and whilst Geraldine enjoyed multiple Pina Coladas I was prepared to be sulking with a soda water and lime as the designated driver. When the mocktail I had fancied ended up being unavailable, the bar staff were quick to whip up an alternative in the form of a non-alcoholic berry mojito after I had remarked that mojitos were my favourite drinks. Not only were they absolutely delicious, but they were certainly a bit more exciting than my default choice of soda and lime! It’s attention to detail like this that really makes a restaurant stand out, in my opinion.
Hotel restaurants are often overlooked, but Chez Mal was exactly what I had hoped for from the Malmaison brand – classic dishes with a quirky twist, served in a stunning setting with impeccable service. I was impressed! I can definitely see myself returning in the future to sample more of the menu, as that lamb shank has my name all over it. It’s the perfect venue for a romantic date night or a cosy catch up with your favourite people, and well worth a visit.
This meal was complimentary in exchange for a review – read my full disclaimer here