The news that "The Honours" was leaving Malmaison was a shock to many who follow the Glasgow food scene. However, every ending creates a new beginning, and the hotel quickly announced that they would be filling the space with their own "Chez Mal Brasserie".
Following the introduction of the "Chez Mal Brasserie" to the Malmaison estate, the Glasgow opening will mark the 9th Chez Mal to launch in the last 18 months. The restaurant will offer a fresh mix of contemporary styled dishes in a relaxed but vibrant setting. The new head chef is to be the highly experienced John Burns. During his twelve years with Malmaison, John has worked in all of the Scottish Malmaison's in a variety of different roles.
To mark the opening of new Chez Mal, we were invited along to the "Chez Mal Cook Off" to sample some of the dishes that will be on the new menu. To kick things off we were treated to a cocktail master class from the very talented Andy, at the hotel's bar. This consisted of some tasty alternative mixes, which were all from the spring cocktail selection. This is a great bar which we feel is somewhat unknown in Glasgow, and well worth a visit.
After the masterclass, and a few too many cocktails, we were shown through to the busy dining room and served a selection of small plates. This gave us a flavour of the dishes which will be found on the new menu.
Here is what we were served:
|Meat or Beet?|
"Meat or Beet?" Served from the starters, these two carpaccio's showcase the meat and vegetable superbly. One is rump beef carpaccio and the other being heritage beetroot. These were served with a flavoursome cauliflower & roast garlic cream, tempura florets, black truffle dressing, parmesan and dressed leaves.
The fresh tuna rolls had a pleasant texture and were well seasoned. The Nuoc Cham chilli dipping sauce had a pleasant heat and worked well with the fish. We felt the asian influence within the selection of starters worked well to break up the menu.
|Tempura of Calamari & Tiger Prawns|
The tempura batter was beautifully crisp giving it a highly pleasant texture. The fresh calamari and tiger prawns had clearly been well cooked. We also thoroughly enjoyed the gently spiced chilli jam which was served with the fish. A must pick from the starters.
The buffalo wings added another dynamic to the menu. These were well cooked and had a pleasant texture, nothing like those cheap frozen dishes served in many a restaurant and bar up and down the country. We loved the chunks of blue cheese served with the wings, and again these had just the right amount of spice.
Not always huge fans of mushrooms, we were both pleasantly surprised that we thoroughly enjoyed this burger. The grilled red peppers added texture and another beautiful flavour to dish. We would also go as far as saying this is the best veggie burger we have had recently, being more flavoursome than the standard sweet potato or pea burgers. A must try when visiting.
|Yorkshire Dales Lamb Cutlet|
The lamb cutlet was beautifully cooked, being served medium rare. Additionally the lamb neck was expertly cooked and had a pleasing texture. The vegetable broth was subtle and didn't overpower the pleasant flavour of the lamb.
|Seared Scallop & Crab Risotto|
This main dish was not what we had expected from this menu. Where the scallop was of a good size, and was full of flavour. The crab risotto was perfectly seasoned and easily the star of the dish.
|Keralan Monkfish Curry|
The curry was spicy and packed full of beautiful fish to enjoy. The different types of fish had all been cooked expertly and we struggled to find fault with any part of this dish. This was served with rice and a pleasant grilled coriander flatbread. For us this dish was the star of the entire menu, a must try.
|Signature Strip Steak Pan Roasted|
This is the Chez Mal exclusive Uruguayan 120 day grain fed Hereford beef. This is a small piece of the signature strip steak which had been pan roasted. The beef was extremely tender, and packed full of flavour. This morsel was enough to ensure that we will be back to try out the full steak menu.
|Selection of Desserts|
We were served a trio of desserts which consisted of a small rhubarb trifle, passion fruit tart and a chocolate pave. Our favourite was the fresh and zingy passion fruit tart with it's crisp pastry and bold passion fruit flavour.
As you can see from the pictures the food was all presented to a very high standard. These were exciting dishes, which were all packed full of flavour. There were a few dishes with strong Asian influences, and these were simply fantastic. Our favourite dishes of the night were the Heritage Beetroot Carpaccio, the fish curry and strangely for us we thoroughly enjoyed the vegetarian mushroom burger.
Despite being huge fans of The Honours, we were very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the dishes we were served. The food was a little less serious than the dishes previously served here, and we feel this menu should work better in the surroundings. There is also talk of a full refurb of the downstairs space at the hotel, so there is certainly exciting times ahead for the restaurant.
We must thank Graham and Elizabeth for the invite to attend the tasting evening, and we hope to be back soon to do a full review of the restaurant.
The restaurant also do a Sunday Lunch at a very reasonable £20 which we hope to also have time to check out in the near future. With a wide selection to choose from at Chez Mal, we highly recommend one of the newest restaurants in town.