After reading this you will probably start thinking that every Sunday Simon and I stroll off down to the Quayside to have a lovely time lounging about in smart hotels .. I promise this isn't true, it's just a bit of a coincidence that following our afternoon tea at Hotel Du Vin last Sunday we booked ourselves in for brunch at the Malmaison today.
If you've been reading my blog for a while you may remember that many months ago I went to a bloggers event at the Mal hosted by the lovely Hannah at Raspberry Kitsch where I won "Brunch for Two" in the raffle. Simon and I decided immediately that we'd save my prize to enjoy in the Winter on a weekend where we felt we needed a bit of cheering up. After a particularly rubbish week we decided that this weekend was the weekend we'd been waiting for.
The Brunch is pretty famous in Newcastle, it boasts the title of "Biggest Sunday Lunch in Town" and is on at the Brasserie in the Hotel every Sunday from12:00 pm. Having had many reports from others I knew to prepare myself for a feast so accordingly put on a nice lose swing dress to give myself plenty of room to grow a food baby.
As we really love our food, and knowing that we'd struggle with the "no breakfast" rule we'd imposed on ourselves in the morning, we made sure we booked in at 12:00 pm. So when we turned up we had very loud grumbling tummies. Unfortunately the Brasserie wasn't too organised for opening time so we were shown to the bar to wait for them to finish setting up. It was a little unfortunate as we were so hungry but it was hard to feel too annoyed when we were sat in the beautiful surroundings of the Mal Bar.
15 minutes later we were shown to our table and the waitress was really accommodating when I asked if we could sit at a table I'd spotted in the corner. It's a pretty small restaurant and in some areas the tables are quite close together so I wanted to make sure we had a nice little comfortable area to tuck ourselves into. It was really great that the waitresses were very aware of the amount of space they had to work with and they made a great effort to seat everyone comfortably with the most amount of space possible in between the different parties. I certainly appreciated not having to share my brunch with complete strangers (living in London for so long I know how this can very easily happen if tables are too tightly packed together).
The epic feast begins, as so many other meals do, with starters. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, starters are not something I usually get that excited about, but these were starters with a difference - an all you can eat buffet at the Chef's Table. My eyes popped out of my head when I saw it, it was a greedy person's paradise and I didn't know where to start or how I was going to stop myself from just hoovering up everything in sight. I settled on some freshly cut bread (with loads of butter!) with salmon and prawns and then ordered some waffles from our lovely attentive chef who immediately started to work on the batter and told us he'd bring them over to our table. The salmon was easily the best I have ever tasted and I'm so glad I managed to get myself a nice little heap of it. Just as I'd finished polishing it off the Chef arrived with our waffles which he'd generously covered in maple syrup, it was so yummy that Simon actually spent the rest of the afternoon muttering "waffles waffles waffles" to himself ... I think he may have a new obsession! Despite feeling a little full I did then return for one more slice of bread, but only because I really felt the need to cut myself a nice chunk of cheese and try some chorizo. Unfortunately even we couldn't manage to taste everything that was displayed on the Chef's Table, there was also the offer of omelettes, pancakes, pasta and soup but we didn't want to overindulge before our main course.
I've been out for "brunch" with friends many times where we've ended up debating whether to order lunch or breakfast. Luckily the Mal caters for both with the perfect menu to suit every taste. For those preferring lunch there was a great menu offering the Mal Burger, Moules Frites, Fish Cakes or even a Sunday Roast. Wanting an authentic brunch experience Simon and I decided to order from the breakfast section of the menu. Swapping roles for the afternoon Simon chose the Eggs Benedict and I had meat, meat and more meat with the Mal Full Breakfast complete with sausage, sweet cured bacon and rump steak which I had cooked rare. It was so lovely, the perfect amount of food.
Dessert is usually my favourite part of any meal, but this time I'm afraid it was outshone by the Chef's Table .. I think it'll be a while before anything impresses me as much! Simon went for the Hot Fudge Sundae which he enjoyed but was a little disappointed that his fudge wasn't hot. I opted for the Mal Hot Chocolate as it had appealed to my curiosity when I quizzed the waitress about it. It was the Mal's dessert version of a hot chocolate - white chocolate and vanilla ice-cream served in rich liquid chocolate and topped with marshmallows. It was very good!
We had a fantastic time and it was just what we needed after a particularly hard week. Thank you so much to Hannah and Beth at the Mal for organising such wonderful raffle prizes - we loved it!
Brunch at the Mal costs £19.95 per person and I'd urge you to go and give it a try. More information is on their website here.
If anyone is looking for me I'll be over here in the corner having my post brunch nap.