A couple of weeks back, Adam and I were invited over to Malmaison Cheltenham for the launch of their new summer menu. We’d previously enjoyed a delicious, gin fuelled, afternoon tea in their conservatory, so we knew we were in for a little bit of a treat.

Cocktails in the Malmaison Cheltenham Courtyard

You wouldn’t know it from the outside but Malmaison Cheltenham surrounds a beautiful contemporary courtyard in the middle of the hotel. Imagine an oasis of calm with Japanese planting and beautiful stained glass. It makes for an impressive reception area and we were pleased to be met with some of the Malmaison’s signature cocktails. The’Lady Parma’ went down a treat with a refreshing blend of Absolut Raspberry, Pama pomegranate liquor, cranberry juice and lemonade. Adam’s favourite though was the Cotswold Julep; William Chase Gin, St. Germain, Lillet Rose, mint and soda. They also kindly whipped up a seriously good mocktail for this mama-to-be; apple juice, lime, mint and ginger beer. A much appreciated change from Elderflower pressé or lemonade.

Digging into Starters in the Garden Room

Dining in the  light and airy Garden Room, we were treated to a selection of sharer starters served on huge platters; my favourite was easily the mushroom and truffle arancini with truffle mayonnaise. I’m a sucker for mushroom and truffles at the best of times, and it feels like I haven’t had a good arancini ball in forever; they nearly always disappoint! No worries here though as everyone ravenously tucked in.

The table groaned under the weight of our other platters including delicious grilled sesame flatbreads with roasted red pepper hummus and pesto, and a summer salad of chorizo, blue cheese, lettuce, avocado and tomato. A friendly warning though; the fougasse with black garlic aioli, whilst utterly delicious, is definitely not the one for a first date. Unless, of course, you’re keen to avoid a second date! Adam thoroughly enjoyed charred mackerel with heritage tomato ceviche and coriander too, though as for me, his winner was the arancini.

The Main Event in the Drawing Room

Moving on to the more formal Drawing Room we were soon smiling, with huge plates of Asian salmon and sticky racks of ribs gracing the tables. The soy glazed salmon was served with a crunchy hot and sour salad, toasted cashews, red chilli and gem lettuce. Adam made short work of it and quickly piled into my seemingly endless BBQ ribs; plentiful and juicy, served with pickled vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes and chipotle mayonnaise; a hearty but summery feast of a main course.

Malmaison Cheltenham’s wine champion graced the main course with carefully paired wines. Our table was sadly almost exclusively driving; Adam and the other lucky few took the opportunity to tease us about how well the wine complimented the food. Isn’t he mean?!

Sweet Goodbyes

Dessert was undoubtedly the star of the evening; served in the conservatory afternoon tea style, we were tempted with sweet treats and a whole tier of cheese. Whilst I sadly had to sit out the gooey cheeses (boooo!), I did have room for the richest Varlhona chocolate torte with créme fraîche and raspberries. It was so, so good. In fact, even thinking about it has got me salivating. I only had room for one dessert (thanks baby Lewis) but Adam assures me the warm apricot and almond tart with amaretto créme was also pretty good too. It was also lovely to find out that they grow and pick their own strawberries for dessert on site;  you can’t get fresher than that!

It wouldn’t be afternoon tea / dessert without a cheeky cocktail to round off the evening. Adam washed the puddings down with fruity Black Forest Martinis and a fragrant Lavender Lemonade for me.

We thoroughly enjoyed our ‘Tour of The Mal’; if you like the sound of what we tasted, why not book in for your very own feast? We’re sure there’ll be something you’ll love and you’ll definitely find the perfect room to suit the occasion!

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