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Brasserie De Malmaison

Brasserie De Malmaison

Royal Mail Street
The Mailbox
Birmingham
B1 1XL

Tel: 0121 246 5000

Wednesday 14th May 2003

One of the recent additions to the Mailbox complex has been the Malmaison Hotel. The Brasserie & Bar are proving to be a hit with the Mailbox and city crowds and we visited last night to sample their recently launched French Regional Menu.

At the moment the region selected is the Ile De France (with future focus to be on Normandy, Provence etc.).

First impressions of the restaurant were positive, the bar was very modern (but NOT stripped pine!) and the restaurant area ran on from the bar after a smart welcome desk. The restaurant is, like the bar, very modern but decorated in warming tones and offering views over the nearby underpass. How unique!

On being seated we were offered menus and drinks and then given a basket of obviously home made bread rolls.

The special menu (two courses for 12.95 and three for 15.95) offers two choices for each course and a recommended Red or White Wine. From the Ile De France Menu the choices for starter were a Pork Terrine or Salmon Escalope with Sorrel & Butter Sauce and both were sampled.

The terrine was a homely slice of moist but firm pork terrine with a quails egg in the middle and wrapped in French country ham. Very attractively presented and a perfect starter.

The salmon was a thin escalope of salmon, pan fried and with a light sorrel and butter sauce, the fish was almost perfectly cooked and the sauce needed the previously supplied bread to mop up afterwards. Another very good starter.

To accompany the meal a bottle of Anjou Villages (15.95) and of still Evian (2.75). The wine was a typically light and rounded Anjou & perfect for a spring evening.

Main course choices were Rib of Beef Bercy & Chips or Sole with Caper sauce. We both went for the beef and in both cases the cooking was timed to perfection (a medium and a blue). The steaks were served with four (yes 4) very large and rectangular chips piled next to them and proved to be a well judged serving.

So far an excellent meal.

Dessert choices were either Paris Brest (Choux buns filled with custard) or "Award winning mature Camembert with Crusty Bread". The latter also included a paragraph extolling the virtues and pedigree of the cheese so this was the choice for both for dessert.

How English! How sad! The cheese was straight from a very cold fridge and the excessive chilling had succeeded in destroying any flavour or character in the cheese. I expressed my disappointment to the waitress & was offered an apology for my disappointment and alternative choice (i.e. desert). I declined and was then offered coffee.

On presentation of the bill there was no charge for either cheese or coffee. This was a most welcome step to recompense BUT why do English restaurants & chefs find cheese such a challenge? However, I will definitely be returning both for other regional selections and to sample the attractive sounding a la carte menu.

Ted Heath
Olton
Solihull

Eatanddrink Ratings

Brasserie de Malmaison

Total Score: 76%
Quality: Good
Service: Exceptional
Facilities: Average
Ambience: Average
Value: Good

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