Thursday, 18 May 2017

Food Review: Malmaison Birmingham Spring Menu Launch

Spring is in the air, and with it the new menu from Malmaison Birmingham. I was lucky enough to join some of the city's finest foodies to try out the new Spring Menu.

Meeting at the bar, we were treated to a welcome drink from the Spring Cocktail menu. With plenty to choose from including the Spring Fizz, a mixture of Rinquinquin a la Peche, Aperol, grapefruit, sugar and Prosecco to the Pina Caipirinha, featuring Germana cachaca, lime, pineapple and coconut.

I opted for the Gimlet, a mix of King of Soho gin, lime cordial, sugar and lime.

Sipping on this refreshing and sweet drink at the bar on a bright summer's day, it was easy to feel at home in the smart and sexy Malmaison bar.

We were soon led into the private dining area, where the table was laid out ready for a taste of the new menu.

The Spring Fixed menu offers two courses for £19.95 or three courses for £24.95. The menu to me felt fresh and unexpected, so although there was a lamb dish for example, this was a starter portion of Spring Lamb Benedict, a slow braised Dorset lamb shoulder on brioche with mint Bearnaise. Again, although a Spring menu would typically feature a vegetable soup, instead the Malmaison twist is a Cauliflower veloute.

With plenty of choices for dietary requirements of all kinds including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free, I was spoilt for choice.

Tucking into olives and bread whilst we chose from the menu, I did enjoy the olives but unfortunately couldn't partake of the bread. No matter, at least I could avoid the carbs!

For starters, I opted for the grilled masala spiced mackerel with sweet potato and lime pickle and a cumin raita, followed by the pan fried river trout with pea and broad bean puree, Anya potatoes and truffle vinaigrette.

The spiced mackerel arrived on a large square dish, presented on a bed of cubed sweet potato and topped with the raita. The presentation was good and the balance of different elements to the dish was also strong. A light but filling starter, the mackerel was perfectly cooked and the sweet potato was balanced out with the tangy yoghurt. Although the masala spices didn't really come through, and I would have liked to see a true pickle on the plate to really set off the fish, I thoroughly enjoyed the starter.

Next, the sea trout. Firstly, I adored the plate that this was served on, as it was a real earthy handmade piece. Secondly, the trout itself was a substantial portion, which I feel is needed when it comes to the fruit of the sea or else you can find yourself snacking soon after.

Nicely pan fried on a pea and broad bean puree, this was again, filling but light and not at all stodgy. Overall, that's exactly what I would hope for from a Spring dish. We were also able to try some of the sides at the table including the mixed spring greens, Anya potatoes and pan roasted artichokes.  If you're ordering the fish dishes, then do make sure you have a side too. My favourite was the artichokes which were just delicious! Crispy and full of earthy flavours, I sadly couldn't get a picture before everyone had tucked in!

Lastly, to the dessert. I opted for the seasonal fromage slate with fruit chutney, quince and crackers. The crackers were very kindly substituted for gluten free bread in my case, and the chutney came later on, but the cheese selection itself was very good and included a Shropshire Blue, goat's cheese and french cheese.

I really enjoyed the new Spring Menu at Malmaison. The menu is not just great value, but great tasting and also great quality. The venue itself is such a sophisticated option for food and drinks, with a great hotel ambiance.

I'd definitely recommend the new menu to anyone after a meal away from the crowds. The service we received on the night was outstanding and for me, I felt the quality of the food really came through. Overall, a great option for friends and families alike for a meal that's special without breaking the bank.

*With thanks to Malmaison and EV for the invitation