Chez Mal is a restaurant underneath the Malmaison Hotel around Smithfield Market. The reason for the visit was an OpenTable offer of steak, lobster and half a bottle of Prosecco for £25, which, at that headline price, is well worth a visit.
Service and Decor at Chez Mal
The service at Chez Mal, as you would expect with the Malmaison association, was excellent. The wine list was relatively short but had a good range in regions, grapes and prices. The bar also makes some pretty kick-ass cocktails too, as we found out, although not served with any nibbles (regular readers will know this is a personal pet hate) and the meal itself had bread as an extra. I’ve previously mentioned these sorts of omissions, it puts the whole experience on the back foot. That said, the range of artisanal breads was good, served with olive oil, balsamic and butter. The olives we asked for were nice, but personally the green to black ratio was a little skewed to the latter, unfortunately.
In terms of decor, Chez Mal makes good use of an awkward space and somehow manages to light its underground nature without coming across as too oppressive in what is a pretty inviting and intimate atmosphere.
I left my friend to two half bottles of Prosecco, instead opting for a wonderfully peppery red from Stellenbosch.
Food at Chez Mal
The main (and only) course was the NY Strip Steak with 1/2 lobster and hand cut chips. Firstly, the chips were excellent – skin on and more worthy of the name “fries”. The lobster was well dressed and cooked, however, was a little more on the fishy side than I would normally prefer – that’s a criticism of the source more than Chez Mal. The steak was well cooked (and rested, which so many places forget) and we added some gorgeous mushrooms as a side. My Bearnaise sauce was probably verging on being a little too cool when it left the kitchen, but that’s a very esoteric criticism in an otherwise well executed steak affair.
The offer at Chez Mal is such that, unless you have a shellfish allergy and/or are vegetarian, it is very much worth a visit. Would I return for the full a la carte? Probably not. There’s nothing wrong with Chez Mal at all, it’s just a perfectly satisfactory place competing in a city where perfectly satisfactory just isn’t enough at that price point.
|Restaurant Name||Chez Mal|
|Price Range||£50 a head inc cocktails and a bottle of wine each|
|Address||18-21 Charterhouse Square London EC1M 6AH|