It was a dark and drizzly evening at Brighton Marina when I sought solace at Malmaison’s restaurant to try out its new autumn menu.
The offering at the Marina has improved greatly of late with the arrival of several chains on the boardwalk, but Chez Mal is surely one of the destination eateries.
It serves high-quality food at reasonable prices, in a restaurant which has a relaxed feel, and is stylishly decorated.
The new seasonal menu at Chez Mal was carefully curated by executive chef John Woodward, with a warming autumn broth, pork fillet, West Country Lamb and baked pumpkin pie to warm your cockles.
I couldn’t wait to try some of the autumnal delights on offer. We ordered a crisp white wine and scanned the menu, which featured a good variety of seafood dishes – appropriate for its location on the waterfront.
To start we decided to try the sautéed truffled seasonal mushrooms, with celeriac purée and toasted sourdough, as well as pan-fried sea scallops, sautéed mushrooms, black garlic aioli and spinach sauce. Both were delicious, and a good indication of what was to come.
For the main I chose mouth-watering smoked haddock fishcake, served with spinach, poached egg and hollandaise sauce with a side of chunky fries.
The soft egg and creamy hollandaise were the perfect accompaniment for the flavoursome flakes of haddock. I ordered chunky chips as a treat, but the dish would also have worked well with a more wholesome side of greens.
My dining partner was just as impressed with the coq au vin, served with creamed mash, pancetta, sautéed mushrooms and red wine sauce served with buttered greens.
After our hearty and warming mains, we, miraculously, managed to find a little extra room to sample the dessert menu.
We chose the classic vanilla crème brûlée and a hot chocolate pudding with baked Valrhona chocolate, peanut butter pudding and salted caramel ice cream. Creamy and rich, the desserts were a fitting end to a fabulous evening of fine food.
Prices: Starters from £5.50 to £14.50, mains from £14 to £19.50, and desserts are around £6.50.
To find out more, visit: www.malmaison.com