The Malmaison Hotel in Leith claims to have the biggest Sunday lunch in town so, of course, I had to go and sample this for myself. It's an epic four courses with a chef's table buffet, main course and pudding, and is in a similar style to Hotel du Vin's Sunday brunch (which I've written about before), but is slightly more informal and certainly has more brunch options. Malmaison's dining room is an impressive room with heavy dark wood and a vaguely nautical theme, being right by the docks of Leith as they are. On this sunny day it looked very bright and welcoming, and the glass of fizz that greeted us when we were seated definitely helped the friendly atmosphere. Feeling adventurous, I ordered a Hemingway Martini from the brunch cocktail list (which had six variations on a Bloody Mary!), a mix of grapefruit, vodka and schnapps. My drink was absolutely delicious and, more importantly, brunch-themed therefore perfectly acceptable as a midday drink. From the main dishes, you can select a full Scottish or eggs benedict brunch options, or more traditional gastropub meals - a Sunday roast, burger, fish cakes, steak frites. In an attempt to keep it light, I decided to order the fish of the day, served with potatoes and green beans, I was thinking tactically, eating a huge burger in between a plate of salad and a pudding would not work well, particularly as they served my favourite dessert of all time - a heavy, but sublime sticky toffee pudding.
The chef's table was groaning under platters of continental meats, smoked salmon, fresh salads, bread, Serrano ham on the bone and a centrepiece of glistening, cooked ham with crackling. Keeping it brunchy, there is also a chef on hand to cook eggs and omelettes how you like them, and warm pancakes and waffles to order too. Being of a sweet-toothed nature, I ordered some pancakes to start off with. These were French crepe style and already made up (freshly I was assured) so you don't have to wait for the batter to cook all the way through, served with orange segments and a vanilla syrup. They were delicious, but a little bit too much like pudding although luckily, unlike John Shuttleworth, I can switch between sweet and savoury with no problems at all. Another trip to the chef's table filled my plate with pates, salads and delicious meats and, to be honest, I'd probably have been quite happy going up a third (or fourth) time and not having a main at all. Everything was fresh and tasty and a really good mix of small eats, but the salmon when it arrived was very good indeed - nicely cooked with a crispy skin and good lemon butter sauce that went nicely with the vegetables too. And of course, the sticky toffee pudding to finish off was divine although for the hardcore only. It was a heavy way to finish off quite a large amount of food and, had I been more sensible, I probably would have ordered the lighter pleasures of the clementine parfait or ice cream sundae.
At £19.95 per person, it's great value for the amount of food you get and can definitely be added to the list of epic brunches in Edinburgh.