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Fish and ships twice please

Fruits de mer, a dockside view of Cunard's finest, and another chance to do it this week at the Malmaison

Written by . Published on September 12th 2011.

Fish and ships twice please

IT'S not every day a Queen steams into the city, but this month Liverpool has a pair in its hand. 

Hold the quips, people, this is about ships. 

Last week, the Queen Elizabeth dropped her considerable anchor at the Princes Dock outside the Liverpool Malmaison. 

This week, in her wake, comes the Queen Mary 2 with just as much pomp. 

Crispy mullet and oriental vegetablesCrispy mullet and oriental
Ship-spotting is hungry work for the maritime loving hordes of Liverpool, so is spotting a great deal. 

So when the Mal Brasserie informed us of its Fruits de Mer night to celebrate the arrival of the QE last Thursday, or more accurately the booming firework display to send her off to Cork that night, we were straight around. A ringside view of the action, with a three course, seafood based menu, for just £24.95, would warm the cockles of our hearts. 

Following “ a bit of work” - an 18-month long repair of the building's exterior cladding, which saw it swathed in scaffolding - the Mal is about to stage a spectacular re launch. A party later this month will rival the opening bash in January 2007. This, in itself, was an event resembling the last days of Rome. 

Bread and butter puddingBread and butter puddingArchitects may come and go and the Mersey waterfront has changed dramatically in four years, often controversially. Hotels and dozens more good and bad restaurants have sprung up around the city, but still they have it nailed at the Mal. It may be on the edge of the biting Mersey, but there is no finer place to cosy up. 

Warm bread, olive tapenade, Menai mussels finished in cream and bacon lardons, a smoked salmon confection, baked cod with delicious peas and lettuce, crispy red mullet with oriental vegetables, and a bread and butter pudding which, in size, rivalled the colossus of Cunard's Queens itself, were all, genuinely, faultless and finished us off. 

This sort of night is a chance for chef Adam Townsley to show what he likes to do away from the already busy Brasserie menu of home grown treats where good sourcing and relationships with local suppliers and growers is everything. 

Crackers for aftersCrackers for aftersThere was nothing local about the crisp Chateau Bonnet blanc and Dinastia Vivanco blanco (around £25 apiece) which reminded us of the grape and the good overseas in France and Spain. They were served by sommelier Sarah who tells us of five courses and five wines for just £40 at the Malmaison's D'Arenberg Wine dinner on September 29. 

As she said farewell, Queen Elizabeth's horns shook the building – and the Malmaison's new cladding passed the hard hat test. Then the liner and the night sky were lit up like all your Christmases at once when the Liver clock struck 10pm. 

The Fruits de Mer menu is not on for the Queen Mary this Thursday, but many of the dishes on it, such as the mullet and the outstanding Goan prawns, are, as well as salt marsh lamb and all the burger and steak regulars. 

There's also a special two course menu for a couple, with wine and coffee thrown in for £30, so make sure you don't miss the boat. 

Fireworks to follow. If you get lucky that is....


 *Call the Malmaison on 0151 227 5000 to book when the Queen Mary is in this Thursday (Sept 15) and for all other offers see here 


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