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 pureè, 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!