Hidden away at the Pier Head, set alongside The Three Graces, away from the hustle of Liverpool One and Albert Dock, lies The Malmaison.
You may be forgiven for not recognising Malmaison’s location instantly, for it is not easily accessible by car. I recommend you go on foot so that you may take in the breathtaking Liver Buildings, Cunard and Port of Liverpool on the way. They are familiar treasures often ignored by locals, and are truly stunning lit up at night.
Choosing a hotel restaurant for an evening meal is not a frequent option of mine. The Brasserie at Malmaison is a fine dining restaurant in a relaxing atmosphere.
Greeted by a spacious reception, with a trendy real log fire place, you are soon welcomed into the restaurant, surrounded by modern comfy seats and dark wooden tables.
The moody lighting creates a wonderful atmosphere, an understated elegance reflected in the décor – bottles of champagne line every available surface, with funky Beatles canvases donning the walls. (But do avoid looking up to the ceiling; the air conditioning system is rather stark.)
Courteous and polite, staff showed us to our seats while the resident Sommelier offered us the wine menu and an excellent accompaniment to our meaty choices – a velvety smooth Venetian red bursting with plum and cherry flavours with a hint of spice.
Waiting staff were helpful, but not overbearing. Our waitress was chatty, as we joked about the quality of song choices. I was simply thankful there was no hint of Christmas amongst the lyrics.
Our grumbling stomachs were presented with delicious rustic bread, served on a slab of wood, with creamy butter and an unexpected treat – tapenade. A dip of olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. Exceedingly tasty.
The stylish menu contains a fine array of locally sourced produce on offer to whet your appetite. Diners can choose from a great variety, including classic dishes such as traditional ‘Scouse’, and fish and chips.
To start, I enjoyed a beautifully presented chicken liver parfait with onion chutney and salad, while my partner opted for the curried parsnip soup – guaranteed to warm your cockles and tickle your tastebuds.
At many fine eateries, many amongst us will enter with the same fear – small portion sizes. The hungry need not worry. Go for the Mal burger and fries, quirkily presented in a separate old-fashioned cone, and you will not be disappointed.
An also ample, and fine, choice were three tender lamb cutlets laid on bed of buttery mash which left me very nearly too full for pudding.
Knowing our eyes were bigger than our bellies, we shared a dessert of apple spring rolls – curious to see a sweet twist on the classic oriental appetisers.
Soft apple wrapped in light spring roll pastry, drizzled with gooey cinder toffee, and accompanied by dreamy vanilla ice cream… I instantly regretted the decision to share.
On a freezing cold winter mid-week night by the Mersey, you may be tempted by cosy nearby eateries in the city centre. Venture a short distance further and sample a dining experience that will leave you raving to your friends for weeks.
To book a table please call 0151 229 5000. The Brasserie also has fantastic private dining rooms available, perfect for intimate business or leisure occasions – for further information please visit http://www.malmaison-liverpool.com/