With our trip to the states in less than two(!) weeks, Fraser and I have been making a big effort to spend less. After all, even taking my budget travelling tips into account, a three-week holiday to the States and London puts a dent into your wallet (especially when one of us is a student without a job…sorry Fraser). That said, sometimes you just have to treat yourself. So, for my birthday Fraser and I went to Malmaison in Aberdeen…and it was definitely a treat!
Fraser first recommended Malmaison for my birthday dinner after hearing great things about it from his parents, and having enjoyed the bar himself a time or two. I toyed with the idea of going out or cooking a nice meal in, but decided I’d rather have someone else do the cooking that night. So we headed to the west end of the city and into the restaurant, situated inside the Malmaison hotel. It’s a gorgeous venue, with patio seating for cocktail hour and a lavish, dark lounge for guests. We made our way into the bar for a first round and relaxed in the piles of tartan-clad pillows and cushions. I could’ve stayed in there all night, but our stomachs told us otherwise! As we made our way into the restaurant itself I got a pleasant surprise-stage lights used to set the atmosphere. Fraser and I kept trying to decide whether they have live musical acts or if it was just for ambiance, but I thought it was a great touch. An added bonus? The three larger-than-life portraits of highland cows on one of the walls. I love highland cows (also known as coos!), so much that Fraser’s family actually took me for a drive just to see a herd with new calves, so any decoration involving them instantly gets my seal of approval.
You’ll have to pardon the grainy photos in this post, as they were taken quickly so we could enjoy our meal, but for the full effect you’ll definitely have to give Malmaison a try. As far as food went, Fraser and I were thoroughly spoiled. The waitress knew everything about the menu and, as someone with a food service background, I always appreciate that. Everyone on the staff was immensely helpful, from recommending drinks and sides to answering questions about the decor. We opted for two courses each, entrees and dessert, as both of us felt like indulging our sweet tooth for the evening.
The presentation was lovely and the steaks perfectly cooked. I can’t remember what Fraser had for a side (oops!) but my side of wilted spinach was ah-mazing. Then again, I’ll take spinach any way possible so there’s that. We spent the better part of 15 minutes trying to decide what the puffed garnish was on each of our plates; parsnips are a common vegetable here so our final guess was parsnip puree nestled in a roasted onion…and we were close-if parsnips were onions. Our waitress explained the mystery puree was actually onion, inside the roasted onion, garnished with spring onions…layers on layers (literally). I often find onion to be overwhelming, but the puree worked really well, and was a great complement to the steak.
Finally, it was on to the dessert. I opted for a chocolate torte with passionfruit sorbet while Fraser enjoyed their Tonka bean panna cotta topped with macerated strawberries, honeycomb, and strawberry sorbet…for once our roles were reversed as Fraser tends to be the chocolate fiend and I’m obsessed with strawbs, but our choices were divine (and we let each other try a few bites of our desserts–sharing is caring, right?). Seeing as the menu changes based on seasonal produce I’m not sure if our puddings of choice will still be available when we return, but if not I have every confidence the Malmaison chefs will have created even more mouth-watering confections for us to try.
We didn’t stay for a whisky as it was a week night and we had work and uni the following day, but if a dram to finish off the evening is your cup of
tea whisky, there’s an impressive selection. Whether you enjoy a fruity spirit or more smoky notes in your scotch, Malmaison’s whisky wall has something to satisfy your palate. Don’t believe me? Have a spy below-this photo captures less than half of their offerings!
As I said earlier, Malmaison is an amazing place that-for the time being and our budgets-will be for special occasions rather than a weekly dinner. If you’re looking for a new restaurant where you can indulge your taste buds in style, or simply want an intimate dinner (or cocktail) venue, I’d highly recommend it. And if you have one too many, the hotel is just upstairs!