Last weekend we randomly won a Twitter competition after answering a question the folks over at Malmaison had posed to us…
@LesBeMums congratulations you have won our dinner for two tonight with wine! Just let me know what time you to dine at 😘
— Malmaison Brighton (@Mal_Brighton) February 11, 2017
But after realising childcare would be near impossible the impossible happened…
@LesBeMums prefect thank you! Or we have a children’s menu & open from 6pm if you can’t get sorted ☺
— Malmaison Brighton (@Mal_Brighton) February 11, 2017
Talk about good PR!
And off we went. The three of us. To a very posh restaurant. I’m not going to lie. I was bricking it.
The Location and setting
Malmaison is the new sister (?) site of Hotel Du Vin which is based in the centre of Brighton. Where the Hotel Du Vin restaurant is ever so french and classy, this location is modern and glitzy. Based at Brighton Marina in the old Seattle Hotel building the location has had a complete makeover!
I’ve been lucky enough to visit the old Seattle Building for a wedding reception, and comparing this to then it’s barely recognisable!
Where there was open space, there are several cozy breakout areas with soft arm chairs and sofas. Old hallways are now function and meeting rooms, and the old dance floor is now a luxury bar with copper work throughout. Every area has it’s own decor/theme but somehow they all flow into each other nicely.
Although every area within the new Malmaison is absolutely stunning; the restaurant is certainly the grand finale. My favourite area within the restaurant was the central table that is surrounded by a sheer thin curtain. Sitting at this table will make you feel included within the restaurants atmosphere but enclosed within your private party at the same time.
Despite being open plan, the layout and decor makes your occasion feel very intimate. Even with a toddler in tow I didn’t feel like we were on show to other patrons or intruding on their evening. There is ample seating but still enough room for you not to feel like you’re sharing your evening with the couple next to you.
I’ve been lucky enough to eat at Hotel Du Vin a couple of times, so I was really excited to try out the new menu at Malmainson, Brighton Marina. Before dinner we enjoyed a tour of the hotel and then a few delicious canapés with champagne (annoyingly, we had to share our canapés with a hungry toddler who didn’t hold back stuffing his face).
I had the seared blackened salmon with horseradish creme fraiche, and apple and celeriac salad. Sharon had Grilled spatchcock quail with pomegranate salsa and chermoula dip. T had Soup du jour.
We all seemed to really enjoy our starters, with T tucking into his soup via the means of his bread! All three dishes were new to us, with Sharon trying Quail for the first time that evening, and T trying green soup! Both mine and Sharon’s were almost too pretty to eat, but we managed! I thoroughly enjoyed trying something I wouldn’t normally try.
I had the Mal Burger which is served with ayrshire bacon and gruyere cheese, and a side of burger relish and fries. Sharon had the pan roasted Black Angus New York strip steak served with parmesan and truffle oil fries. T had Sausage and Mash.
This is where the food really kicked off! All three dishes (and trust me, we all tried each others!) were absolutely stunning and cooked to perfection. Sharon’s steak came with an onion puree served in a roasted onion that she hasn’t stopped talking about since Saturday. My burger was juicy with just the right amount of salad inside (I can’t stand it when burgers topple over because they’re too damn full) and the relish that came with the chips was to die for (although I lost at least half of it to the toddler and “his portion” of chips). T’s sausage and mash was simple but ever so tasty!
I had the winter panna cotta, which is served with poached pear slices, blackberries, and almonds, and both Sharon and T had sticky toffee pudding!
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more our dessert stomach made room. My panna cotta was the perfect finish. It was light and creamy but full of flavour and the fruit on top kept it fresh but warming. The sticky toffee puddings were dreamy with a generous helping of toffee sauce and pecans. Even though T couldn’t finish his main he surprisingly (not really) made room for two thirds of a sticky toffee pudding (I ate the other third before he got to it). This was also served with vanilla ice-cream that melted nicely into the lava of toffee sauce.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Malmaison Brighton and we’ll certainly be revisiting (minus the toddler) on a special occasion. The food portions for us were just right, there’s plenty of space to explore and relax in, and the atmosphere is calm and intimate. I’d highly recommend it for any occasion; business or pleasure!
Malmaison has definitely made the most out of the space they had available, even down to the views. Their seated terrace looking over Brighton marina certainly made me speechless for a few minutes – I can only imagine what the views from their rooms looks like!
Like I said before, I was really worried this wouldn’t be the ideal location for a toddler; especially in the evening, however we persevered and went with it. If Kate and William can take George and Charlotte to posh do’s then so can we!
When your toddler asks you to change the reception television to #CBeebies. That.
— LesBeMums (@LesBeMums) February 11, 2017
The location has decent highchairs that not only fit the table but give you ample room to move around the table. A lot of thought has clearly been put into the highchairs. Whenever we go out we often have the issue of having to move T to one side to let staff in – this wasn’t the case here, he was included like everyone else.
Staff are also warm and welcoming to children. It didn’t take long for T to start running around the lounge area whilst we were waiting, but I wasn’t made to feel uncouth by letting him do so. In fact, staff joined in on a game of peek-a-boo!
Just a little note…
The only thing I would say is that there needs to be some range in portion size when it comes to the childrens’ menu. Although the menu is varied and all three meals were delicious, they were also suitable portions for an adult. I appreciate the menu is likely catered for a child aged 6-8, but it may be an option to send a little note back to the kitchen when one of the children is under 5 so food isn’t wasted. But that’s my only criticism.
Nevertheless, we still had a wonderful time and it was pleasant to include T in what was quite an adult affair. T got to get his glad rags on and we enjoyed a glamorous night.