Sophisticated, swish and self-consciously cool, the Malmaison concept of boutique chic began in Edinburgh, and has made solid progress across the UK ever since. Each location looks the business, and the chain matches swanky accommodation with a promising line in food and drink. Wooden fixtures and fittings, discreet lighting and eye-catching artworks set the tone in the brasserie, and the menu mixes European themes with ideas from further afield. Eclectic starters of fritto misto or chicken lollipops with dipping sauces give way to main courses such as pan-fried sea bass with chorizo, samphire and cockle vinaigrette, or smoked haddock fishcake with spinach, poached egg and grain-mustard sauce. Donald Russell steaks and burgers are there for red-blooded business trippers, while desserts feature calorific treats such as knickerbocker glory. Cocktails are given pride of place in the Malbar lounge.
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