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Malmasion Brasserie
New Review
1 Tower Place,
EH6 7DB.
+44 131 468 5000
7 Days

Formed in 1994 this iconic hotel chain is named after the chateau that Josephine bought for her and Napoleon outside Paris. 'Mal' swept onto the scene with super swish design and the restaurants were very 'post-yuppie'; perfect places to kick back after 'close of play'. How times have changed. The Leith brasserie is very unstuffy indeed and the menu too favours simplicity; a single sheet denotes a selection of classic, unpretentious enticing dishes.

The decor is rustic and comfy, dark wood and wine coloured walls; the shuttered evening sun completed the rosy picture on the evening we visited.

I started with fillet of tuna carpaccio, avocado and pickled cucumber (£7.95) and Mr Bite had the hot chicken skewers with soy and a chilli and lime dipping sauce (£7.50). The fish was sliced razor thin, as delicate as tissue paper. Luscious folds were seasoned with pips of wasabi and cool cubes of cucumber. A very elegant dish presented on a glass plate. Mr Bite's chicken skewers had arrived on an equally attractive wooden board. He enjoyed them a lot and said they were well matched by his pint of Bitter and Twisted.

For main course I had half a roast Normandy chicken with broad beans and morels (£14.95); these days it a joy to taste real chicken with its stringy flavoursome texture.  This one has been corn fed and baked with lots of butter so its flesh is tinged golden yellow like when you place a buttercup under your chin. The flesh was tender and delicious, the skin soft chewy and caramel sweet; impossible not to devour it all.  Mr Bite chose entrecote; a fine cut of meat that was velvety tender and complemented with an aromatic, silky béarnaise.

For dessert Mr Bite had the Valrhona chocolate tart, honeycomb and Chantilly cream and it was crème brulee for moi (both £5.95). The chocolate was silky smooth but it was impossible to break the honeycomb. When we did succeed it was really good; fizzy and syrupy sweet. If the honeycomb had been pre- broken we would have been hard placed to find any criticism at all with our meal.

Malmaison is far too much of a treat to leave to the tourists, take a trip to Leith and to the 'Mother of the Mals'.

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