On Thursday evening I was lucky enough to be invited to a bloggers dinner evenrt at Newcastle’s malmaison hotel.
The Malmaison is a short 15 minute walk from Newcastle city centre and a stone throw from the River Tyne. The hotel is situated in the grand former Co-op building which has stood the test of time with it’s beautifully maintained sandstone facade.
When you enter the hotel you are greeted with luxury from every angle, shades of black, grey and plum are everywhere, staff are beautiful and well presented and the scent of lilies fills the air.
Walking into the bar area you are transported into a different place and time, I imagine this is what people thought when entering first class areas on the Titanic. It looks like a place that the rich and famous could be found sipping a cognac and smoking a Cuban cigar
We moved from the bar area to one of the Brasserie’s private dining areas and sat at a huge round table. The décor was luxurious, seats were comfortable, and place settings were perfect.
First of all I must say the menu was huge and because it was ‘Thursday Steak Night’ a choice of 5 different steaks were also available. There was a choice of 8 starters, 23 main courses and 8 deserts not including the cheese trolley to satisfy all but the pickiest of eaters. This much choice mathematically provides an incredible array of dishes for the diner to pick from and credibly reinforces the notion of a one restaurant fits all, although this particular one restaurant is probably only viable for special occasions which I will discuss later. Without dwelling for too long on what was available on the menu that I did not eat, I have attached the full offerings below, be impressed!
Before ordering we were greeted by the Sommelier, Danny, who talked us through four recommended wines for the evening. There were two white wines which were a San Angelo, Pinot Grigio and a Friendly Gruner Veltliner, and also two red wines which were a Spy Valley Pinot Noir and a Katnook Founders Block Cabernet Sauvignon. I chose the Spy Valley Pinot Noir and Katnook Founders Block Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a nice touch that indicated a very professional and consumer orientated evening ahead. Shortly after this presentation we were served drinks while perusing the menu. I had picked a cocktail based on a Blackberry Margarita which was very pleasant and focused me on the gargantuan menu I had in front of me.
Because I was privileged enough to be in an establishment where the staff were greatly knowledgeable of their food, I started with the waiters recommendation of Fritto Misto (£8.00). This is a dish comprising of calamari, salmon and king prawns, all of which were deep fried in a light tempura batter with chilli and parsley. There was also a potted tarragon aioli which added a controllable creaminess to the proceedings. The dish was beautifully served in a clam shell which in turn was balanced on a piece of pale green rock salt. The whole dish looked and tasted like a masterpiece with the lightest of tempura batter guarding the stunningly cooked fish and seafood within. It looked so good that I initially hesitated before spoiling the visual delight plated before me; after the first mouthful that thought never returned.
As Thursday at the Malmaison is ‘Steak Night’ I figured it would be rude not to order steak. I would usually have gone for the T-bone but did not wish to be sat like Desperate Dan munching through a cow so opted for the Grand Reserve Fillet Steak (£32.95). I overheard the waiter describing the Peppercorn Sauce to the person next to me which sounded amazing, so being the gourmand I am I didn’t hesitate in choosing the same accompanying sauce. When my plate arrived I was shocked at how large the piece of steak was! It cut like butter and melted in the mouth. The fries were the best I’ve ever tasted with onion rings that were crispy without tasting heavy and like the steak also huge! My mushroom tasted amazing, I could have ate a whole plate of the mushrooms they were that good and the sauce, well it was to die for! “Waiter bring me a bucket of the sauce with a spoon.” Yes it was that good!
You’re probably reading this thinking, “she couldn’t possibly have followed this starter and main course combination with a dessert?” Well I did, and I also finished it! I chose the Raspberry & White Chocolate Parfait (£5.95) which was again recommended by the waiter. The presentation was like nothing I’d ever seen before and it tasted just as good as it sounds! The parfait was firm yet soft, tart yet sweet and was on my plate for all of ten seconds!
Readers of my blog know that I like value for money and I like to eat out for as little as possible. I used to be a chef so if I can make a meal in the house with the best local ingredients cheaper than I can eat the meal in a restaurant, I’ll eat at home. I’m not going to lie, the Malmaison menu is not cheap, I couldn’t afford to eat there on a weekly basis like I do at some other restaurants, however if I needed somewhere to go for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary then I would not hesitate to make my first choice the Malmaison – on the other hand If I went a month without buying beauty products I could quite happily treat my stomach rather than my face!
I could not fault this restaurant as I used to work as a restaurant auditor so I know what to look for when it comes to good service and good food and the Malmaison ticked all of the boxes. As I like to give an impartial review I do have to say that because five of my fellow diners worked for the brand, I would need to visit alone to be able to give a true opinion of the service.
Would I visit again? I would sell my soul for the Peppercorn Sauce therefore I must visit again in the near future!