Housed in an imaginative conversion of Oxford prison, this Malmaison is typical of the company’s policy of opening stylish but quirky hotels in offbeat locations around the UK. The bar &
brasserie is found in the vaults of the building (there’s a wine-tasting room in the old solitary confinement cell) & the modern European food is very good indeed. Ham hock & split pea soup
makes a satisfying start ahead of a main course of chorizo-crusted cod with clam risotto & harissa oil. For something simpler, Malmaison’s steaks are justifiably famous, while for pudding,
there’s a classic russet apple & sultana charlotte with cinnamon ice cream & a nifty, whiffy cheeseboard. To drink, there’s a user-friendly wine list & cocktails in the bar.