The summer is fast approaching; however the one thing that the city centre of Edinburgh is not known for is outdoor space where you can enjoy drinks or a meal. I guess the beautiful architecture and plentiful parks counter that downside.
Thankfully, however, there is a spot in the city that has ample outdoor space, amazing restaurants and bars and a fine luxury hotel, and that is Leith Docks. Once a busy commercial shipping port, it has now been redeveloped into a residential area that maintains its nautical past and is the perfect spot to while away the hours on a sunny summer’s day.
One of the TLE’s favourite spots on Leith Docks is Malmaison, housed in what was originally a shipper’s brothel; it has been transformed into a stunning 100 room and suite luxury hotel, with onsite bar and restaurant, and a fantastic outdoor seating area that becomes a bustling hive of activity in the summer time!
Food and Drink at Malmaison
The emphasis with Malmaison Edinburgh is on their food & drink and quite rightly so, with two Michelin star restaurants just a stone’s throw away they have stiff competition. Adding into the mix the fact that the hotel is quite an imposing building you might be forgiven for thinking that it has a guest only policy. However this couldn’t be further from the truth as we discovered last Thursday when we were invited to their first cheese and wine evening (for both guests and non-residents).
The evening started at half seven and took place in one of their private dining rooms. We arrived and were greeting immediately with a glass of champagne and 3 delicious looking canapés. Being vegetarian I had the avocado mousse served on individual spoons, which were delicious and Chrystal sampled the chicken liver parfait and salmon and prawn blinis.
After canapés and champagne we were escorted to our seats; before arrival we’d anticipated more of an informal stand and mingle affair but actually the seated arrangement really helped focus attention on what was being explained providing the chance to fully appreciate the cheese and wine combinations.
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The Cheese and Wine
In total we were served two reds and two whites and this was matched with four delicious cheeses. The tables were set already with wine glasses and the cheeses were beautifully presented on an elongated plate. Delicious crackers, apple chutney and walnuts also accompanied the tasting sessions. Each guest received a very informative handbook detailing notes about the selected wines and cheeses.
1. The first combination was a French Brie – Brie de Meaux – paired up with an Australian Stonier Reserve Pinot Noir. – This was my favourite red, light and fruity and combined with the sharp but lightness of the brie it was a winning combination.
2. The second combination was French Goats Cheese – Sainte-Maure de Touraine paired up with a South African Sauvignon Blanc. – I loved this goat’s cheese, it was full of flavour and really sharp, this was both mine and Chrystal’s favourite white too, light and dry.
3. The third combination was a Welsh Hard Cheese – The Little Black Bomber paired up with a Spanish Rioja. – We loved this cheese, really really tasty and it went well with the red. I prefer white to red so found this one quite heavy so it wasn’t my personal favourite but I still appreciated the flavour of the wine.
4. And the final combination was a Scottish Dunsyre Blue paired up with a French Dessert wine – Domaine de Fenouillet. Muscat de Beaumes de Veinse. – I have had this cheese before, it is tremendous, I would definitely buy this for home, and the white however was a dessert wine, which I didn’t think complimented the cheese that well, but that’s a personal thing. I like very dry wine so sweet wine doesn’t work with my palate.
Overall this was a great night, fun, tasty and educational. We also chatted to some lovely people too and we got to explore the hotel as well. We will certainly be back for future events and we’d highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning about food.
Events at Malmaison
If you would like to visit Malmaison to try out their food they have a whisky and Scottish tapas evening at the end of July and each Sunday they run an unlimited Sunday lunch.
Staying at Malmaison
If you would like to stay at Malmaison rooms start at £175 for bed and breakfast.
Leith is quite easy to get to as well, if you are visitor to the city either take a taxi from the city centre which will cost you about £8 one way, or use the public buses (£1.50 single). Do note that there is no train to Leith.
Address: 1 Tower Place, Edinburgh EH6 7BZ
Phone: 0844 693 0652