REVIEW: Malmaison Hotel Brasserie, Charterhouse Square, Barbican

The Malmaison Hotel group has just launched its new sunday brunch menu ‘Mal on Sunday’ and will be available across all 12 of the groups boutique hotel chain. I ended up at the Malmaison in Barbican – a hidden gem within a lovely quiet part of this industrial area. The hotel inside is very modern, inkeeping to its boutique feel and oozes luxury. Unfortunately we weren’t staying here, so instead made our way downstairs to the restaurant.

They call this new menu a Brunch, but it’s more of a banquet, i can’t remember the last time I ate this much food in one sitting (not that i sit down for two, though i have once). For £19.95 to you get the soup of the day, hors d’oeuvres from the chefs table – which is an upmarket buffet style with unlimited visits – very dangerous. Then a huge main is on offer, and finally your dessert. For those with a hangover they do a great bloody mary, and also the champagne bellini was very well made.

The soup to start was mushroom and tarragon, i always seem to ignore soup if it’s on the menu but here they made it so well i’ll definitely consider it next time i’m faced with the option. The soup was delicate and creamy, the mushroom flavour was very well balanced and the tarragon just gave it that little extra finesse – the good helping of olive oil on top helped lighten it up, a lovely summery soup.

The chefs table is absolutely excellent. I’d have even paid the £19.95 to gorge out on this alone. Awashed with left to right, an omelette, pancake and waffle area, with a huge array of toppings, sauces and grand marnier. A leg of parma ham for freshly cut slices, thick honey roast ham, chorizo, salamis – and a nicely stocked cheese board. I could go on forever, but the smoked salmon and marie rose sauce was very moorish. On top of this there was the salad area, filled with grilled smoked vegetables, spinach frittata, chickpea salads and plenty of tomatoes. I didn’t even manage to try to freshly baked breads. You can certainly get filled up in the section – so eat in moderation, a warning should come with this table.

With the help of another bellini to wash down the first part of our meal, my main of buttermilk fried chicken with waffles and maple syrup arrived. Three pieces of delicious chicken winglets, deep fried with a lovely southern taste – the three waffles were light and crispy while the syrup – I first wasn’t sure about worked perfectly. It married together both breakfast, and lunch. My only gripe would be the board it was served on as the syrup was falling off the side and meant I couldn’t drench my chicken in it.

The Mal on Sunday roast prime rib of beef with all the trimmings came with a delicious and large yorkshire pudding, extremely crispy roast potatoes and a selection of glazed vegetables. The beef which I asked to be cooked medium rare, unfortunately came to my plate completely rare, I think I even still heard some mooing on the plate. The undercooked meat meant it lacked some warmth and was a little chewy –  I also much prefer my roast to come to me all piled high on a single plate, but the potatoes and vegetables all come in separate bowls (I assembled my plate before taking this photo). The gravy was rich, thick and very tasty, though i wasted most of it filling up my yorkshire pudding like a child.

Desserts to choose from were devilishly dangerous and full of heart attacks – just how i like it. Mint chocolate chip ice cream coupe with valrhona chocolate sauce (the king of chocolate sauces) was the first dish to gorge on. Bright green, soft and chewy ice cream boasted an intense minty flavour and the valrhona chocolate was simply delicious – as always. A simple dessert, but a very pleasurable one.

Mal hot chocolate, which was delicious homemade marshmallows topped with white chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Again another simple dessert but perfect for after a big meal. The ice cream was excellent with that soft chewy texture but almost a slight mousiness to this one. The chocolate was served warm on the side to add at your leisure, but I advise just tipping the whole thing on top.

I thought the Mal on Sunday menu was absolutely spot on, the setting was luxurious (though the restaurant itself could do with a little updating), the staff very friendly and accommodating but above all the food was good, and represented incredible value for money. How they make much profit in this is beyond me, but these days i guess it’s all in the drinks.


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