A few years ago, at a loose end around new year, Lee and I booked into the Malmaison in Glasgow for a treat. We had stayed at the one in Leeds before and it was quite swish and thought as a bit of a luxury night in, we’d book in, eat in the restaurant, relax and just have a fun evening.
Cutting a long story short, it was nothing short of awful. The room was shabby and rundown, and not at all like the one we had experienced in Leeds. The food in the restaurant was terrible – I had a steak so covered in pepper that it was impossible to eat. The staff were all grumpy and rushed, I imagine they had drawn the short straw to work at new year. The room was so noisy that by 8am the next morning, we were checking out and going home for a kip.
Flash forwards to a few months ago, when Briony, head Yelp-er in Glasgow and all-round good egg, was talking about the newly-overhauled Malmaison on Twitter. I let her know about my experience and lo and behold, if the new manager at the Glasgow Mal wasn’t earwigging and asked me to get in touch. So I did, and he asked us to come back on the house and let them show us a good time. Who was I to disagree? So off we toddled last Friday to take up the offer.
>I should point out that they did this without asking me to write a review anywhere, it was pretty much no-strings. I don’t know if they had briefed everyone to be extra-nice to us, but the level of service we received throughout the whole stay was really second to none. Everyone was super-nice and friendly, helpful and welcoming. Already winning over last time!
We were booked into a Club Room, which we learned had recently been renovated. I loved the decor and it was really nice and spacious.
The facilities were really good within the room – hairdryer, ironing board and iron, mini bar (which wasn’t too extortionate to actually use!), coffee machine, tea, TV, robes, slippers…really nice little touches that made it feel like a special deal.
Bonus view of the old Strathclyde Police HQ where I used to work when Lee and I first met – awww.
The bathroom was really nice, too – a massive shower cubicle with a fancy shower head and good water pressure. I’m so fussy about showers, so this was a big thumbs-up from me.
Another nice touch to welcome us was a card from the management team, enclosing some free cocktail vouchers – I’m not sure if everyone gets that, but it was really appreciated!
The mojito was really delicious. The bar staff were really friendly and you could tell that they took their cocktails seriously. The bar was quite busy for a Friday evening, so it’s obviously a hit with the office workers around there.
And so, to dinner. I was really very impressed. The restaurant has been taken over by fancy-pants Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart and is called The Honours. Look at his twinkly wee face. He’s a clever clogs.
Again, our dinner was on the house, with us only paying for a very reasonably priced and delicious bottle of vintage Viognier (£18). It was really very refreshing and kept us going whilst we perused this fine menu and nibbled on some homemade bread and butter.
The room itself is much improved from the old dark and imposing room – it’s now light, airy and welcoming, no mean feat in a room with no windows. The table settings are simple but I liked that, as it wasn’t too pretentious, and was unfussy. We were sat at a large horseshoe-shaped booth which was very comfortable and felt private but with still a nice aspect on everything that was going on.
Our waiter, Robert (I think), was just fantastic – he was extremely knowledgable, friendly and really wanted to make our meal special. We asked him for his recommendations and rather than rhyme off specials, he took the time to explain why he liked the things he suggested, and was just really friendly, but professional throughout.
Lee opted for the scallops with Belotta ham to start, whilst I went for the Honours salad, as I love Comte cheese. I don’t eat seafood at all, but tried the scallops which were really surprisingly delicious – so sweet! The salad was very tasty – I did not have the egg or foie gras with it and found it a perfect portion.
For mains, we opted for the acorn-fed Iberico pork and the Glenarm shorthorn himalyan salt ribeye. I was initially kind of wary about the ribeye as I have a real bugbear about water bath cooking! But I am so glad I had it as it was literally one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It melted in the mouth like butter, truly a divine dish.
The pork was also extremely flavourful, and the accompaniments we had in the buttered spinach and fries were perfect. The only slight let down was the glazed carrots – it doesn’t say on the menu that they are glazed with orange juice – I felt that they were a bit too heavy on the orange and they ended up tasting like canned peaches. That’s the only downside I could find! (Apologies for the terrible photos, we were too eager to get stuck in!)
For dessert (and let’s face it, who doesn’t have room for dessert?!), we had the chocolate mint souffle and the chocolate parfait. The pear sorbet with the latter was a real hit. Both desserts were again, faultless, and a real high note to end the meal on.
Whilst this was gifted to us by the manager of the hotel, I felt perfectly happy to pay the service charge (and a bit more on top) as the service was really exceptional. The whole experience was truly special and memorable and we would not hesitate to return as paying guests. Neither the restaurant or the hotel asked me to write this review, so this is really my true opinion and I really did love it!
We had a few drinks in the bar after dinner which was quieter and a nice vibe. I really like the industrial decor in there.
Sleep-wise, the bed was really comfortable, but the pillows were a little bit meagre – the ones in the Premier Inn are better, which is a shocking revelation! I am fairly sure if I had asked at reception they could have offered replacements,but I was so tired that I just wanted to sink into bed. The one downside to the Malmaison is the noise from the street outside – it’s still noisy. Some wiseacre in a souped-up Micra was driving round and round the block for what felt like hours which stopped me dropping off. I always carry ear plugs when I travel though, so popped those in and was asleep in no time. I am a bit of a light sleeper though, this didn’t bother Lee in the slightest.
Next morning, we were up fairly early as I had to go to work, but we still had time for a delicious, hearty breakfast (which I seem to have lost the photo of). Suffice to say, there was a plentiful supply of pastries, cereals, juices and a nice selection of cooked items. We both opted for the full Malmaison breakfast extravaganza and the ingredients were top quality and delicious.
Even our check-out process was quick, smooth and very friendly – the lady on reception was so pleased that we were converts to loving Malmaison again!
All in all, I would recommend that if you have a special occasion coming up, say, your 35th birthday next month (ahem), then dinner at The Honours at Malmaison would be a perfect celebration! And would I stay there again? Absolutely – I would definitely be happy to pay for it, too! I really did enjoy it a lot.
Disclosure: We were guests of Malmaison on this stay. They did not ask me to write this review though, so suck it up, guys.