If you wanted to summon me, you’d like out a variety of gins in a pentagram and I’d appear in a puff of smoke, clutching a bottle of tonic. So when my lovely friends at East Village invited me to a special dinner at Malmaison with Edinburgh Gin, I practically bit their hand off.
Food was rustled up in the hotel’s kitchen, with paired cocktails, using Edinburgh Gin, were created by the award-winning Rob Wood, of Smultronstalle.
To start things off, those of us with East Village, joined Rob in a side room, where he talked us through his cocktail creations for the evening. The first was the Bells of St Clements, which was inspired by Edinburgh Gin’s first liquor, which was made with orange. Those flavours are packed into this light, refreshing cocktail, designed to hold its own against the rich flavours of the accompanying canapes.
Speaking of which…
We enjoyed canapes of Crab on Toast and Chicken Mousse. Both were gorgeous, and looked as pretty as they were tasty. An excellent start to the evening. We also managed to grab a cheeky gin and tonic before we headed into the private dining room to join the other diners.
Our starter was an Elderflower Gin Cured Salmon. Smoked salmon was cured in the gin and served with pickled cucumber, baby beetroot and rye bread. I adore salmon, and the nutty rye bread was the perfect partner to ferry it into my mouth.
This was paired with the Seaside Reviver. Using the Seaside gin, this was my ideal sort of cocktail, with plenty of seaside favour to match the fish, and a scattering of spicy sumac on the side of the glass. This may have been my favourite drink of the night; more savoury than most, and strong tasting.
For a main course, we were treated to Pan Fried Plum and Vanilla Marinated Venison Loin. The venison was pink in the centre, tender and flavoursome, paired well with delicious fondant potato and seasonal cabbage. The plum compote brought sweetness, without overpowering.
This was joined by Chateau Smultronstalle. Don’t be fooled; it may look like a red wine, but this is a cocktail, designed to mimic a wine. The flavour profile is full of juicy fruits, and it really is like a good red wine. It was perfect with the rich meat.
Dessert was a Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Custard. The plate was so pretty, and the flavour didn’t lack flavour. The rhubarb didn’t stray into being too sweet, and instead was matched with a deliciously creamy custard. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and don’t usually order dessert, but this was very enjoyable.
This was paired with Royal Botanic Gardens, which Rob designed to be a lighter alternative to a dessert wine, to cut through the sweetness, rather than adding to it. Ideal for me! Instead, this was light and delicately flavoured with rose.
To finish, a cheese board, seen here modelled by Bite Your Brum, who was very excited about it. This came with a shot of Frozen Raspberries which was a little sweet for me, but the board was a triumph. It was piled with four kinds of cheese, artisan bread, chutney and a quince jelly. All in all, the perfect conclusion.
The evening really showed off the skill of Malmaison’s chefs, in plate after plate of delicious, well-presented food, and was an excellent showcase for the versatility of the gin. And of course, if there was ever any doubt, Rob Wood remains the King of Cocktails.
I was a guest of East Village, Edinburgh Gin and Malmaison. Food and drinks were complementary, but I was not asked to write a blog post. All words, images and opinions are my own.