REVIEW: Citylicious dines with Chez Mal Head Chef Andrew McConnell and enjoys a spot of dinner from the new menu
6 months AGOAdministrator
I think I may have eaten at Chez Mal in Edinburgh more than any other restaurant. There is good reason for that, it is consistently good. The Brasserie is comfortable, the service is excellent, and the food is always tasty. You might struggle to find anywhere that offers the value that you get from Chez Mal.
I was invited to dinner to review the new menu recently, an invitation I of course accepted. The invitation had a little extra through, we were being joined for dinner by Head Chef Andrew McConnell. I consider that a big treat, it is absolutely a first for me to be able to dine with the chef and have a proper discussion outside of the kitchen.
Our evening started in the Mal Bar, sadly I am on a bit of a dry kick just now so stuck to a lime & soda, however, Emma (our host) didn’t let me down and I managed to get a pic of one of the fantastic cocktails on offer. Ok, I am not one to stick my neck out. I am frequently asked where my favourite restaurant is, and I always decline to answer. I do of course have one, however it would be unfair for me to say. I will however say that the head barmaid at the Mal Bar, is a genius! The Pink Lady of Leith and The Blackjack, 2 of her creations are 2 of the best cocktails I have ever had. Go try out the cocktails! Anyway, I digress… we enjoyed a good blether before making our way into the Brasserie and took our seats.
The new menu is very well balanced. Great choice for all tastes and of course caters for those that prefer/require Gluten Free dishes. I am not restricted by choice or intolerance and so decided to kick off with the ‘Spiced Asian prawn & crayfish cocktail, sesame & lime dressing, cucumber, Chinese leaf, coriander & wasabi mayonnaise’. You may consider a posh prawn cocktail a little dated or even dull, however, this is a delicious starter. Lovely meaty and fresh seafood with a twist. The wasabi mayo is very creative, very different and very tasty! The spiralled cucumber was a nice accompaniment and of course added a little crunch to each bite which is nice. The clean flavour of the cucumber also helped balance out the richness of the mayo. A great start!
For my main course I chose the ‘Grilled or pan-fried lemon sole, served whole on the bone, new potatoes, capers & parsley butter’. Lemon sole is a favourite of mine. Over the last few years I have tended to order more fish and seafood than meat when dining out. Not on purpose, it just seems to have happened like that. Lemon sole, like the prawn cocktail, is a classic. I of course ordered mine on the bone, I believe it carries more flavour. I must admit, I only had one single potato, it was very nice, however, I am not a big potato eater, for me it was all about the fish and the parsley butter! Delicious! The sole was beautifully fresh and cooked to perfection. The subtle flavour was combined with a very moreish butter sauce and a sharpness from the capers. It worked really well and was a joy to eat. Sadly, I was unable to manage a dessert, dieting sucks! I will be returning soon to enjoy a Blackberry & Cherry Sundae… watch this space!
It was nice having Andrew dine with us. A really great social dining experience, and don’t worry, we didn’t inundate the poor guy all the way through dinner, is was just nice to have an opportunity to get to know the chef on a social level. Hear about who he is and what he does when he is not behind the pass. These types of evenings are few and far between, but Malmaison seems to be ahead of the game. Emma likes to make sure she really engages with us and joins us on regular occasions which is great.
I want to thank the Malmaison for a lovely evening. The new menu looks great and I can certainly tell you that what I ordered was delicious. Check out the menu online and make sure to pay a visit very soon.
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