Monday, 10 October 2011

Mal Maison - Swinegate, Leeds

Walking into the restaurant at Mal Maison I was struck by how romantic the setting was. The soft lighting, candle lit tables and that tried and tested brasserie style set up would be perfect for couples enjoying a weekend break.

Not so perfect then for a man-date with my old house mate... I’d been invited to stay at the hotel and try out the restaurant but it seemed odd not to stay with a friend when I was in Leeds so I was just here to try the food instead.

We grabbed some beers and were guided through to our table and played footsie, I mean talked about football, while we decided what to order.

The menu is suitably diverse to keep even the fussiest of eaters happy but we eventually settled on the Cider Braised Pork Cheek and the Fritto Misto to start. The Pork Cheek was delicious served with an Apple and Black Pudding Salad.

My old house mate started to wolf it down but I just managed to grab a mouthful before it went. I love Black Pudding with anything but this was well executed and a really good choice.

The Fritto Misto was served with a Tarragon Aioli which went well with the lightly fried Prawns and Squid. It was a good portion size as well for the price and I could have easily eaten this with a salad as a healthy lunch.

For mains though I went for the Spring Lamb Rump with puy lentils, carrots, crisp pancetta and Man-date had the Duck Breast with carrot & orange pure√®, fondant potato and buttered spinach. Both fairly classic but Lamb Rump is one of my favourite things on earth so I couldn’t say no…

I was really pleased when it came out, perfectly cooked pink and juicy with crisp creamy fat. The earthy lentils and pancetta with it were simpy done; this was a delicious dish and highlighted the natural flavours of the constituent parts well.

The Duck again was nice and pink, well cooked and rested but I’m not sure what I thought of the Carrot and Orange Puree. Not overly sweet, not overly savoury it complimented the Duck but it’s not something I’d normally order.

I've got to say though I'm really quite fed up of fondant potatoes. Does anyone actually like them? Give me a nice Rosti any day...

I really enjoyed my meal at Mal Maison; the staff were friendly and the service professional but we didn’t stick around for desserts. The bars and nightlife of Leeds was calling so we said our good byes and left full but ready for a good night!


  1. Is this the same Malmaison as the chain of restaurants/hotels? If so, I might have to give one of them a go, the food sounds pretty good. The black pud and the rump sound ace.

    We have three Malmaison owned places in Farringdon, the eponymous hotel & restaurant, Bistro du Vin and the Fox and Anchor. The latter is really very good indeed.

  2. Interesting! I didn't realise they were owned by the same company. Had a pretty shitty meal at Hotel Du Vin a while back. Will check out the Fox and Anchor!

  3. There's nothing wrong with fondant potatoes! When they're done well they're gorgeous! Just so often messed up, unfortunately. Malmaison isn't a chain I've tried before but it looks to be a nice menu. Don't know if it would tempt me over Anthony's or La Grillade at the price, though.

  4. Yes, this is my favorite. We always go with all my family on Sundays and eat some. Before go home we usually take some more to go in oxo plastic containers for the next day in microwave.