It seems that the Newcastle Malmaison’s exceptional hospitality knows no bounds. A couple of weekends ago I was invited by the Mal and the lovely Hannah Layford (of Raspberry Kitsch fame) to while away my Saturday afternoon sipping prosecco, picking at canapés and schmoozing with likeminded individuals at a special blogger event in the private penthouse Chateux Room. Needless to say the little touches, the venue and the overall atmosphere were well above par, which although mainly down to the savvy Miss Layford, was also a great credit to the Mal’s ability to host a party.
To follow that up I’d have needed to be mighty impressed by the second Malmaison offer to come my way. Oh hang on, that’s exactly what they’ve achieved by offering an invitation to attend one of the famous brunches they hold every Sunday. Amazing.
This weekend, after a lazy Sunday morning Mr SarahBosson and I mooched down the hill to the Quayside and arrived at the hotel for around 12pm, which is when brunch starts. We were given a little grace time to relax in the bar first, with only the (above) Bloody Mary menu for entertainment. Dangerous. Then, at a little after 12:15pm, we were shown through to our table and given the WORLD’S BIGGEST MENU. Unnecessary? Yes. Somehow kind of in keeping with the extravagance? Also yes.
Our waiter explained that we were to help ourselves to the Chef’s table, and order a main off the massive menu. Then later we’d be selecting a dessert, and that the Bloody Mary cart would be coming round at regular intervals. The drinks were extra, and if I may say so, a little over priced at just under £9 a pop for the BMs. But it’s the Mal, that was to be expected. If it helps, they tasted as good £9 worth of drinks should.
Upon inspection the Chef’s table was piled high, groaning under the weight of fresh rustic breads, a selection of cheeses, pâté, salami, Parma ham, and other cured meats, some straight off the bone, big bowls of salad with Parmesan shavings, couscous, a chunky potato salad, a large seafood selection including a whole salmon, some waffles, croissants and other Danishes… I could go on. There was also soup on offer, which was cream of mushroom while we were there, and a chef ready to cook omelettes or eggs any way you want ’em and other fresh treats. We went nuts, obviously, and got a bit of everything. Mr SarahBosson asked for a poached egg and hollandaise sauce which the staff were only too happy to provide and I merrily ate all the meats and cheeses I could possibly manage, drunk on gluttony. Then we sobered up and remembered we had a substantial main course to come…
We’d both opted for the traditional Sunday roast beef, even though the menu had a more varied selection. Again the Mal did not disappoint. I have been to the Malmaison when they had their Toast to the Roast offer on. They do knock up a very nice lunch. Lovely tender pink beef with a proper Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy. And, yes, as always I asked for more gravy and, yes, because they’re nice, they brought me some without so much as a smirk. The veg we shared was an odd mix of roast potatoes that, if I’m honest were lacking a bit in the flavour department but perfectly roasted nonetheless, courgettes, green beans, and sweet parsnips so roasted that they were practically candied.
Speaking of sweet, once we’d finally finished mopping up the gravy and polished off dinner, we still had another course to come. Dessert was a selection of seven or eight different arrangements. We went for the Mal sundae and the sticky toffee pudding and the plan was to split them. That didn’t quite work out as I ate slightly over half of the sticky toffee pudding, swapped and decided I wasn’t impressed with the sundae and wanted to swap back. That is absolutely a girls prerogative. That’s what girls do. We don’t really ‘share’ desserts. We just don’t want to look greedy by ordering two. Although I’ve done that in the past too. Yup.
Amateur girl psychology aside, this was a fantastic few hours spent in wonderful surroundings with the attention of the Malmaison’s loveliest staff. I really couldn’t fault the service or the presentation. I especially appreciated how lazy you’re allowed to be. There was never at any point a sense of being rushed. There are definitely worse ways to spend a couple of hours than leisurely eating yourself into a coma on a Sunday afternoon, followed by relaxing in the bar overlooking the Tyne. We managed a wander back home before I fell asleep, both agreeing that at some point, when we’ve finished digesting this visit, we will make arrangements to go back, or to try the very similar brunch over at the Hotel du Vin. I thoroughly enjoyed this visit and would like to thank the Mal for the opportunity. Yes, I was offered a freebie but the boyfriend paid for his and he didn’t begrudge a penny because paying £19.95 for that kind of contentment is a complete steal.