When Chez Mal at Malmaison invited us to a special tasting evening to try out their new summer menu, this 5PM writer was out of the door flagging down a taxi faster than you can say 'a light, pleasing fusion of seasonal flavours'.
Beyond the restaurant's dramatic Greek Orthodox church exterior on West George Street, you will find a relaxed, stylish brasserie dining space accompanied by the cool and colourful Mal Bar next door. This bar was where said writer (with foodie friend in tow) began our evening by sampling the refreshing summer cocktail range, accompanied by mushroom & truffle arancini balls with a truffle mayo dip. Cracking start.
Next, we made our way to the brasserie to try out the new summer menu. There we met Chez Mal's Head Chef, John Burns (former winner of the Malmaison Chef the Year award in 2013), who crafted the menu alongside Executive Chef John Woodward. He talked us through each dish and his ethos of doing simple things really well, using the very best local ingredients.
First, we tried out Chez Mal's new range of summer starters, including a tartare with smashed avocado, wasabi, pickled ginger and soy dressing that came in both an ahi tuna and vegan beetroot versions...
...as well as prawn cocktail lettuce tacos with avocado, chilli, lime salsa and chipotle spiced ketchup.
Then we were onto the globally-influenced array of mains, beginning with the summer stew of grilled Merguez sausages, cannellini beans, tomatoes, parsley, garlic and grilled Altamura bread...
...and the Thai green curry with coconut milk, green chilli, coriander, aubergine, courgette, jasmine rice, Thai crackers and sweet chilli dip.
Was there room for dessert after all that? Well, there had to be, as this Valrhona chocolate truffle torte with crème fraîche and fresh raspberries was just begging to be 'nibbled on' (translation: wolfed down unceremoniously).
As, of course, was this pineapple & coconut cheesecake with roasted rum pineapple, yoghurt and Thai basil. Somehow, we found the strength.
Oh Chez Mal, with this new summer menu you are really spoiling us. You are quite naughty, you know.
Fancy trying out some of these dishes for yourself? Grab our Big Deal for a two-course meal for two from Chez Mal's new summer menu, plus a cocktail or glass of Prosecco each.