A night out at Malmaison
August 23, 2007
Station Road, Reading
On the outside Malmaison may look like an 18th century manor house, but as you step inside you are instantly embraced by an environment filled with a design that is very much modern day urban chic.
On the corner of Station Road, opposite Reading train station – Malmaison is Reading’s latest metropolitan attraction, combining a hotel, brassiere and bar.
With Miss L’Amour away, review duties were passed down to myself, an old connoisseur when it comes to nights out in Reading.
It would be fair enough to say then that I was pleasantly surprised as I sat with my drinking partner and photographer Miss Medford, in the ever so swish bar.
In one corner of the room, was a fireplace by which a group of friends sat happily and comfortably chatting away, knowing that they could actually hear each other without having to shout above thumping beats, lecherous bravado or loutish behaviour.
That said it wasn’t long before Miss Medford was being ‘entertained’ by three guys who, since leaving work, had been enjoying a few glasses of Becks (£3.40) and Corona (£3.40).
I took the moment to speak to a group of attractive young ladies, sat on a plush long sofa by a rather large oil painting. As I delivered my best chat up line, ‘So do you come here often?”, Siobhan, or so she called herself, told me they actually did go there regularly, as it was somewhere they could chill out, chat and enjoy the smart setting without being harassed. She smiled politely, and I took my cue to leave, sharpish.
Time to eat. We made our way into the brassiere, which compared to the contemporary style of the bar and hotel, was quite lean and industrialist. The food however, was far from sparse. We chose to order from the ‘Home-Grown & Local’ menu, which meant that all the produce had been sourced from suppliers within a 30-mile radius of Reading.
We were greeted by a more than friendly manager (Anna), and her staff who were warmly attentive and sincere in serving us well throughout the evening. For starters I had Fennel and Smoked Velouté (a thick soup, rich in taste), whilst Miss Medford chose the Maldon Smoked Eel with Horseradish Mash. Both dishes were a fair size for a starter, and a good sign of things to come.
For our main course I was spoilt with a Confit Duck Leg, Baby Spinach, Cherries and a side order of Pommes Purée, recommended by our waitress. In between taking pictures, Miss Medford tucked into a plate of Whole Plaice, Brown Shrimp and Cucumber, which left her more than pleased by the end of the evening. Head Chef, Andrew Holmes, had worked wonders, and for £16.50 (3 courses including deserts), was good value for money.
The food and service were excellent.
So clean your shoes, iron your shirt – ladies and gentleman, there’s a new ‘kid’ on the block…