We wanted to do something special for our anniversary as we usually do every year. Last year was a night spent in, due to the fact that we couldn’t get a baby sitter. I cooked a meal for both of us, which was a success (candlelit and all) hard to achieve the ambiance with a house full of kids! The year before that we dined at the Box Tree which was a real treat and the ‘ wooden chocolate box’ is well worth going for. 😉
It’s become traditional with us and we always intend to celebrate our anniversary with good food and each others company (but without going too far out of town this year). After all this is one of the only times we get to spend each other as a couple, specially now that we have a demanding 3 year old who seem to be the reason for cancelled parties and dinner dates. But hey, that’s being a parent, and whatever time we spend together it is always quality and rare.
It was up to me to decide on where to go this year, so 2 weeks ago I booked our table two a table for two at 7.30 at Malmaison Brasserie Leeds.
With it rich, browns, candlelights and leathers, Malmaison simply boasts stylish and cosy surroundings. As soon as we entered the revolving doors we were welcomed by a friendly waitress who seated us by the very contemporary open see through fireplace.
I’m not sure whether it was because it’s Friday night, but the bar/restaurant area was pretty noisy, and not really what you want for a romantic dinner à deux, but that didn’t put us off.
The menu was straightforward and simple, which consists of modern European dishes that are made from local produce and amazing cuts of meat from Donald Russell’s. I specially loved the extensive wine list from KRUG, Grand Cuve to Chilcas, Organic Chardonnay. We were definitely spoilt for choice.
I chose a large glass of Chenin Blanc while David went for the Saam Mountain Shiraz to go with our rustic baguette and tapenade, while we pondered and decided through the menu, and avoided any conversation that had something to do with the kids or work. 😉
For starters I ordered the Scottish smoked salmon with avocado puréewhile David chose the seared king scallops summer truffle and white chocolate. Both starters arrived quickly and beautifully presented, my salmon and David’s scallops were cooked to perfection, I was pleasantly surprised on the avocado purée which tasted very light and went very well with the fish.
The starters were just enough to whet our appetite, so far we were very impressed with the tentative and prompt service. We noticed that the staff had great knowledge of the menu and were always willing to help without being too over powering, which I felt is top class on it’s own.
The entrees came about 15 minutes after we had our starters, I went for the 35 day ages rump steak frites and peppercorn sauce. David, being the burger lover that he is obviously wanted to try the Mal Burger with home made fries and tarragon aioli. Both of our entrées were presented very well, Dave’s burger was served in a wooden block, along with salad and a small pan of salsa. The burger was fairly large and took a bit of strategic manoeuvring and cutting to be able to get in to it.
My medium rare rump steak was fairly large but thin, and cooked as I requested. There was a definite melt in the mouth moment, but unfortunately I found the peppercorn sauce rather runny and it looked more like a very thin gravy than a steak sauce, no signs of peppercorns either so that was a little disappointing.
After David managed to slice his burger in half, I didn’t hear anything from him for a few minutes, I guess the concentration of eating this burger takes a toll on a man’s capability to converse and eat at the same time. He said it was ‘nice’, but I needed more of an in depth description on how his food actually taste like.
Right on cue, our waitress came over for a courtesy check. David told her that his burger was pretty dry, but everything else is spot on. She apologised and suggested that maybe the dryness of the meat was something to do with their supplier (Donald Russell). Which is unlikely, as we have had meat from Donald Russell before at it’s always been great quality, it was certainly how the meat was cooked. Surprising as it’s not that hard to cook a burger that size.
A little disappointing to say the least, considering the aperitifs were gorgeous, we expected a little better from our entrées. One thing we noticed while we were tucking in to our meal was a large cheese trolley being wheeled up and down through the restaurant. You can’t help but notice the selection of British & French cheeses with bread, biscuits and different types of chutneys.
I was in two minds whether to have one of the desserts or have something from the cheese trolley. But in the end I chose the Baked white chocolate cheesecake (of course!) while my other half went for the chocolate & muscavado cake with bourbon ice cream. The service took far too long for our desserts and the waitress had to apologise a few times for the delay, any other night I think we would have complained, but we we’re enjoying the wine and each others company too much to care.