When you expect nothing but the best, think of The Malmaison group of hotels, a collection of centres of excellence, that has firmly established itself throughout Britain. As a concept alone this is exciting, but the reality is brilliant, so that at last there is a hotel group where uniformity of standards is of the same high calibre.
Malmaison Birmingham follows the well-established Malmaison trend in establishing their hotels in buildings of interesting styles and location, and is located in The Mail Box, once a Royal Mail sorting office, that has been transformed into a heaven on earth for big style retail therapists, nightlife hedonists and exhibitionists in a class of their own.
The bedrooms are all that one would expect from a hotel that has genuine regard for its guests and is concerned with every aspect of their wellbeing. Decorated in chocolate, ecru and cream colours, the rooms are large, calm and airy exuding a real sense of style.
Amidst elegant surroundings, with spotless gleaming glassware and shining cutlery, an essentially brasserie menu is offered, where lovers of seafood will be delighted to note at once that their particular needs are well heeded, starting with a delightful smoked ham hock, potato and shallot salad.
Head chef Brian Neath and his team offer excellent brasserie dishes, such as warm open faced Italian plum, tomato and anchovy tart and grilled swordfish that are a few popular choices. Other starters include Maldon hot smoked salmon with toasted sourdough and salad of goats' cheese with slow roasted golden beetroot and pickled walnut.
From the 'field to plate in no time flat' philosophy of the organic farmers of Hopwood, to the succulent pheasant and partridge of Willogame on the Welsh border, they have them all and more on their home-grown and local menu. Inspired choices that include beef cheeks bourguignon and pork chops are perfect for those seeking by this time a slightly more carnivorous approach. Which leads us neatly to the, wait for it, Mal burger, a 250 gram burger made from ground beef tucked into a floured bap to join bacon and gruyere, served with homemade relish and some fries.
Over the years the number of outriders surrounding a good honest steak on the plate has grown to unacceptable dimensions. At Malmaison the thought and care is centred on the 35 day aged rump steak frites and that's it - except for the chips. If you want all the rest go for the side dishes, but steak and chips on its own takes some beating. Vegetarians are well looked after - the pumpkin and gorgonzola filled gnocchi sounded appealing.
Heading the puddings is the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, a triumph of timing and co-ordination, supported by other choices amongst which expect to find the baked Bramley apple with caramel sauce and a chocolate orange fondant. Their renowned cheese trolley has a selection of British and French farmhouse cheeses served with biscuits.
Their wine list is a symphony of its kind, clearly compiled by an enthusiast who knows his wines well enough not to disappear into a world of hyperbole when describing them.
is a wealth of information that will, I predict, only serve to increase your resolve to make Malmaison your next stop in Birmingham. It is worth noting that you can also make reservations Online on their Website.