Nestled in the trendy hot spot of Birmingham city centre that is the Mailbox, opposite Harvey Nichols Birmingham (great for a post shopping cocktail!) is Malmaison’s Birmingham branch. It is a bit of an old favourite haunt to me, and where I first fell in love with my favourite cocktail; the Vesper martini. It is one of my go to restaurants, bars, and hotels. I love the Malmaison chain, and their quirky playful contemporary styling. I have stayed, drank, and lunched at Malmaison many times over the past few years – I love the Mal Burger.
So when Malmaison Birmingham invited me to stay with them, and attend their European wine dinner with Johnny Walker (who is the director of wine, and spirits for Malmaison) I jumped at the chance. Last Friday I checked myself into my spacious chic room at Malmaison, and relaxed before throwing on my Jimmy Choos, and heading down to dinner.
I took my friend Tom with me, and we were greeted by canapés, and glasses of Balfour Brut Rose (the closest thing England has to it’s own champagne). The atmosphere was chilled, and sophisticated. The conversation intelligent (mainly, and absolutely hilarious), the different wines flowing, and the food was delicious. Our host Johnny Walker (not to be mistaken for the whisky haha) talked us through the six different wines we had, and I actually found it quite an informative, and an interesting evening. It added a complete different element to actually know in depth about what I was drinking.
The five course menu was a perfect mix for the taste buds with terrine of smoked salmon with crème fraîche, pan fried guinea fowl with confit leg risotto, and cranberry jus, a good measure of Elmhirst, and Wigmore followed by the tantalisingly sweet Tokaji poached peaches with biscuit cuillere. Followed of course with some strong coffee before more drinks. Excuse the iPhone quick snapshots, I was enjoying myself far too much to consider any ‘serious’ photography.
As for the wines we continued with the Balfour Brut Rose, moved onto whites with some Friendly Grüner Veltliner, another white wine which I have sadly forgotten the name of, then onto the reds with Erse Etna Rosso, Chateauneuf du Pape La Bastide Saint Dominique, and naturally Royal Tokaji Late Harvest as a dessert wine. Quite a mix! My favourite was the Balfour Brut Rose, but I am drawn to anything sparkling, followed by the Etna Rosso which was lovely, and light, oh, and I have quite a sweet tooth for which the Royal Tokaji hit the spot. Afterwards I somehow ended up in the Malmaison bar… needless to say the next day I hit the Malmaison restaurant for breakfast, and coffee with my old favourite; Eggs Benedict.
Thank you Malmaison Birmingham for having me, and especially Zara for inviting me! x