Sunday, 9 July 2017

Chez Mal Returns to Malmaison Glasgow

It doesn't seem that long ago since I was writing about Martin Wishart opening a Glasgow branch of The Honours inside Malmaison Glasgow but after a successful two year, The Honours has closed its doors and Chez Mal makes a welcome return to the the Glasgow dining scene.
Back in the day, Chez Mal was the place to be. With a reputation for cool cocktails, funky sounds and good food, Chez Mal was the go-to destination for those in the know.
We were invited along recently to try out the new menu and hear about the plans for Chez Mal both in Glasgow and across the Malmaison group of hotels. After meeting in The Mal Bar for a few drinks and a cocktail demonstration from one of the resident mixologists, we were shown through to the restaurant where we were treated to an impromptu ten-course tasting menu featuring some of the new menu dishes plus wine and desserts.
Each of the plates below were presented for two people to share and are smaller versions of those that would be served if ordered from the menu.
Peppered seared rump beef carpaccio with cauliflower & roast garlic cream, tempura florets, black truffle dressing, Parmesan & dressed leaves. £8.50 on the starters menu.
One of the prettiest plates of food I've seen in a 'chain' restaurant. Thin slices of lightly pickled beetroot were topped with wedges of yellow beetroot, a trio of crispy battered florets of cauliflower and shavings of Parmesan. The roast garlic sauce was packed with flavour while the truffle dressing brought an earthiness to the dish that worked well with the beetroot. As vegetarian starters go, this was one of the best.
Heritage beetroot carpaccio with cauliflower & roast garlic cream, tempura florets, black truffle dressing, Parmesan & dressed leaves. £10.50 on the starters menu.
If the beetroot carpaccio was good, then the beef raised the (steaks) stakes. The beef was sliced so thinly that it was almost translucent, well seasoned and topped with the same as the other carpaccio dish except for the chunks of yellow beetroot.
Another wonderful plate of food and the expectation levels for the rest of the night were well and truly set.
Handmade Vietnamese tuna rolls with pickled mooli, cucumber, avocado, coriander & Nuoc Cham chilli dipping sauce. £8.50 on the starters menu.
Where do I begin with this beautiful dish? Once again, this was a great for the eyes. Fresh tuna, deep red in colour and been slightly seared before being wrapped inside a thin role of rice paper with slivers of cucumber and wedges of soft, ripe avocado. We both loved the tuna roll, especially when dipped into the sour and spicy dipping sauce.
Tempura of calamari & tiger prawn with chilli jam & crème fraîche. £9.50 on the starters menu.
Another great dish with a small mountain of sweet prawns and tender squid, deep fried in crispy tempura batter and dressed simply with sliced chillis and baby coriander leaves. If it wasn't for the fact that we had much more food coming, I could have eaten this dish all night.
Chez Mal Buffalo wings, buttermilk fried wings with a homemade hot sauce, Waldorf garnish & Beauvale blue cheese dip. £8.00 on the starters menu.
I've always wondered why they call chicken wings Buffalo wings but a little research answered that question. The Buffalo wings is an unbreaded chicken wing section that is generally deep-fried then coated in a sauce consisting of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter prior to serving. Invented in 1964 at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York by Teressa Bellissimo. They are generally served hot, along with celery sticks and/or carrot sticks with blue cheese for dipping. I can take or leave chicken wings normally but the Mal wings were outstanding. Tender and juicy chicken inside a very spicy crispy coating which worked perfect,y with the creamy blue cheese dipping sauce.
Seared Cornish scallop & crab risotto - carnaroli rice, white crab meat & bisque finished with scallops and lemon butter. £16.50 on the main menu.
As you would expect from a seafood based dish, the risotto was very fishy. I love scallops and crab and although the dish was well cooked, I felt that the flavours of the risotto were too one dimensional and I'm fairly certain that I would struggle to finish the full size portion.
Mushrooms burger - chestnut & field mushroom pâté with grilled red peppers. £14.00 on the grille menu.
With such an extensive menu at Chez Mal, I would never order a vegetarian main course, especially not a veggie burger. Well, never say never because after tasting this mushroom burger, my thoughts of veggie burgers has changed completely. The mushroom pâté was so meaty that you could be tricked into thinking you were eating a good quality beef burger. The earthy mushroom flavours were balance by the sweet roasted red pepper and brioche bun, definitely one of the best veggie burgers that I've eaten and one I'd be tempted order next time I'm at Chez Mal.
Keralan Monkfish Curry - Monkfish, tiger prawn, clams & mussels, grilled coriander flatbread, fragrant rice & red chilli. £18.00 from the main menu.
This was a great dish to showcase fresh seafood with no shortage of well cooked clams, mussels, prawns and chunky monkfish in a rich spicy curry sauce. We both loved the Keralan Curry and ended up fighting over who got to eat the last mussel.
Yorkshire Dales lamb cutlet. Pan-fried cutlet and braised lamb neck with light vegetable broth and jus vinaigrette. £19.00 on the main menu.
This dish maybe didn't work as well as a small dish on a tasting menu but there was no mistaking great cooking and nice flavours. We were each presented a small bowl filled with a well flavoured broth and fresh garden peas, topped with a lamb cutlet that was cooked medium rare. As lamb dishes go, this was very good although the small bowl did make it difficult to get our cutlery in and around the lamb.
Signature strip steak pan roasted from Uruguayan 120 day grain fed Hereford beef. From £25.00 - £39.00 depending on weight.
The last savoury course of the night was a simple offering of the Signature strip steak, cooked medium. We've eaten a lot of good beef in recent weeks and the Uruguayan beef was certainly up with the best.
A selection of desserts including rhubarb trifle, passion fruit tart with blackberries, and Valrhona chocolate pavé. All £6.00 on the dessert menu.
After so much rich food, we were both feeling a little full and not too bothered about dessert but when the plate arrived with a trio of puddings we perked up a little. Chocolate lovers will love the Valrhona pavé, a smooth, dense and rich flourless cake which packed a huge cocoa hit. The trifle was delicious and light with poached rhubarb, creamy custard and a rhubarb flavoured jelly helping showcase the flavours of summer. I would have loved to have had a full portion of this taste pud. The star of the show was the passion fruit tart which had a light shortcrust pastry filled with a zingy sharp curd that acted as the perfect palate cleanser after the banquet of rich food that we had enjoyed across the evening.
So will The Honours be missed? Maybe just for a short while but I think that as word gets out about the quality food on offer at Chez Mal, it will only be a matter of time before Chez Mal establishes itself as one of Glasgow's favourite restaurants.
We would like to thank the staff and management of Chez Mal for their hospitality and generosity on the night and look forward to getting back to the restaurant to try out the rest of the menu.
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