Belfast Restaurant Week – Malmaison

Belfast Restaurant Week seems so very far away, especially after the two weeks of feasting I had at home.

Things have been so hectic since then that I never got down to blogging about dining at Malmaison during Restaurant Week, but I enjoyed our meal so much that I absolutely had to pen down a few words about Malmaison’s food.

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The one frustrating thing about Restaurant Week is that so many restaurants don’t share their menus on the official website. Malmaison is one of them, and I wouldn’t have bothered calling them to ask about the menu, if not for Y who mentioned checking it out, and EA who’d previously posted on Facebook about the good food but terrible service experienced there (for the record, the service was spot-on when I was there).

Like Knife and Fork, Malmaison’s Restaurant Week menu featured the one thing I can’t refuse – lamb. To be precise, one of the mains offered was roast Comeragh lamb with roast turnip, garlic and barley stew. The lamb was perfectly pink and tender, and – in a rare experience in Western food – carried the flavours of some light marination before cooking. As can be seen in the top photo above, the lamb wasn’t accompanied by any sauce whatsoever, yet the two thick slabs were juicy and tasty throughout. I definitely wasn’t expecting such a good main course, and even less so the generous portions.

For my appetiser, I had the wild seared pigeon with sweet lentils and potato sauce. I’ve tried pigeon once before at Shu last year, and wanted to give it a second chance. While this confirmed that pigeon isn’t to my liking due to its gamey taste and tendency to be chewy, the lentils that accompanied it were surprisingly delicious even though I’m quite ambivalent towards lentils in general. There were also good-sized chunks of flavourful mushrooms on my plate – add to them those on E’s plate (he had the braised Carnebrook pork cheek with apple and vanilla risotto –  also a large, tasty portion) and I was in heaven.

Due to the sizable portions, we were quite full when done with our mains, but the dessert options were too tempting to walk away from. My malted chocolate pave and E’s salted caramel bread and butter pudding continued with the theme of large servings at Malmaison. My slice of dense chocolate pave was about double the size of what I’d expected, but it was just bitter enough that it wasn’t cloying in spite of its richness.

Thanks to Belfast Restaurant Week, we came upon what turned out to be a delicious find in Malmaison. In fact, as the whole point of a Restaurant Week and its promotional menus is to encourage people to discover and try new restaurants, it would serve restaurants well to make it as easy as possible for potential diners to access their menus. With their excellent food, it was a pity that Malmaison was nowhere near full capacity when we were there, but I’m certain that this will not be the case next year if Malmaison makes their menu available on the main Restaurant Week website.

Check them out at Belfast Restaurant Week 2016!


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