You don’t need me to tell you that Glasgow is coming up in the culinary stakes — the news that Edinburgh chef Martin Wishart was lending his name to a restaurant on the side of the M8 was proof enough.
A few months later and anyone who has ever described themselves as a ‘foodie’ has either tried The Honours at Malmaison, or desperately wants to.
The other half and I took a break from burger joints this week, scrubbing up as best as a lowly journo can and heading for Blythswood Square, tastebuds ready to be tingled.
The basement bar and restaurant is a classy affair for the most part; high candlelit windows and cosy low booths, shining surfaces and glimpses of the bustling kitchen between a wine bottle display catching the light.
Less convincing are the Glasgow murals on the back wall — a nod to the city’s industrial past which seem of place (and perhaps trying to hard) in the striking Greek Orthodox church building Malmaison now occupies.
It’s a menu packed with temptations from start to finish — which is perhaps why your reviewer just had to try a pre-starter; a single oyster topped with a gin fizz sorbet.
All points for presentation here; a pearly shell perched on a rocky shore of ice, lemon and fresh flower — and pairing that rich seawater taste with sherbet-like cocktail was a fantastic, opulent start to a meal.
My starter was just as good; the curiously named crab cappuccino — or a frothy soup, to you and I. Sweet, sizeable chunks of crab floating in a rich, salty bisque topped with rouille, croutons and parmesan — what a soup it was.
The other half ordered an asparagus and pea salad with goats cheese mousse — again beautifully plated — but was less than impressed with the delicateness of the dish; a light mouthful of garden-fresh greenery with little hints of punchy cheese.
His salt-aged fillet steak more than made up for it — a hunk of tender, melt-in-the-mouth meat cooked to perfection; deep, dark charring on the outside and juicy pink inside. The peppercorn sauce alongside was a little thin, but easily mopped up with good, crisp french fries in plentiful supply.
I opted for hand-rolled tagliatelle with truffle puree and sauteed scallops; plump seafood morsels well seared and sweet, all wrapped in a sauce so rich it could afford to eat at The Honours every night of the week. It’s a dish I could have dived head-first into and happily drowned — a real standout.
With the mains polished off happily, the OH couldn’t resist the lure of The Honours sundae; a cocktail glass measure of toffee and caramel ice cream, honeycomb, caramelised banana and crushed pecans. To be fair to him, it was another great dish; a grown up yet still gooey nod to childhood desserts.
Stuffed to the gills, I gave in to just a scoop of tart raspberry sorbet before admitting defeat.
It’s rare that a new restaurant with a bit of buzz about it lives up to expectations — there’s usually a disappointment or two in there — but, prices aside, I would happily make a return visit to The Honours tonight.
Gin fizz oyster - £3.75
Crab cappuccino - £9.50
Asparagus, leek, fine bean and pea salad with toasted almonds and goats cheese mousse - £8.50
Tagliatelle with truffle puree and sauteed scallops - £21.50
Himalayan salt-aged beef fillet £33
French fries - £4
The Honours sundae - £7.95
Raspberry sorbet - £2.75
The Honours at Malmaison Glasgow
278 West George St
0141 572 1001