(Blog by The Dolly Bird – Twitter: @TheDollyBirdNI)
So, this week I had my first blind date as part of #DTHDating organised by my good friends Lynsey and Robert at @DowntheHatchNI.
Over the course of four weeks, I’m going on four blind dates to four different locations throughout Belfast to check out how they rate for dates.
The first place Down the Hatch suggested was Malmaison on Victoria Street, Belfast.
Having heard lots of great reports, I was excited to visit.
I’ve been on dates before but never a blind date. I must admit, I was relatively cool in the run up to the date until I arrived outside the gorgeous Malmaison. All of a sudden I felt a little flutter of nerves – thankfully they didn’t stay too long!
My first impressions of Malmaison were WOW! The building is incredible, the décor and the ambience are warm, cosy and friendly! I have to admit, I felt slightly out of place as it is so elegant, but the excitement of meeting my date took over.
After making my way inside, I spotted an elderly gentleman sitting on his own and thought Down the Hatch were having a laugh at my expense, but after finding the Brasserie and speaking with Aisling, a very friendly waitress, she showed me to my date.
Then I met Andrew…
Surprisingly, I was very impressed! He was tall, dark(ish) and handsome. I thought Down the Hatch had done well for my first blind date!
The Brasserie is amazing! With a wooden theme throughout, as well as Titanic memorabilia, cute vintage-inspired photo frames and quirky ornamental buckets, the setting was very welcoming.
The room was bright and made me feel very comfortable but I was most impressed by where we were sitting.
We had been allocated a booth facing a gorgeous wall mounted fire, which again added to the cosiness of our date. The booth offered us privacy and we may as well have been the only two people in the whole restaurant. The perfect location for a first (blind) date and in my opinion, the best seats in the house.
Andrew was a very easy person to talk to. We chatted about all things from travel, working, family and even our worst foodie experiences – Andrew’s was shark whilst mine was caterpillar?!
Thankfully the menu in Malmaison helped banish those experiences from our minds. We ordered from the very reasonably priced Prix Fixe menu, which offers two courses for £19.95 and three courses for £24.95.
Both Andrew and I opted for the mushroom and black truffle macaroni.
Our meal arrived and looked very appetising!
Improbable though it may sound, I’ve eaten truffle before, but never actually had macaroni.
My first experience was in no way a let-down! The sauce, ripe with flavour was smooth and paired with the mushroom in the dish, tasted amazing!
We both were very impressed with our main course, although the portion size was so large, I unfortunately couldn’t finish mine.
The staff were really helpful throughout the evening – our waitress Aisling and waiter Paul made sure we had enough drinks at all times.
I chose the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which was crisp and refreshing, whilst Andrew went for a Guinness. Manager Lydia also made sure our evening was going smoothly – we were really well looked after.
After treating ourselves to dessert (I chose the apple pie crumble and Andrew had the steamed chocolate pudding – thumbs up for both!), we continued our conversation using some prompt questions from Down the Hatch!
Thankfully, we didn’t need them as the conversation was flowing as well as the wine, but who can pass up asking if you were a chocolate bar, what would you be?! A more difficult question to answer than you’d think! Andrew’s choice was a rum-flavoured chocolate from Lidl, where I struggled between Kitkat Chunky and Mint Aero!
As the time ticked on, it was time for us both to leave our first date.
Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t a spark and I don’t think Andrew and I will be going on a second date, but I thoroughly enjoyed my evening with him, which was made even more special by the amazing surroundings of Malmaison.
I would certainly recommend it as a location for a date and suggest if you’re looking for some private time, request the booth at the back of The Brasserie facing the fire – it really is a majestic setting!
Rate the Date (1-5*)
Location 4* – Malmaison was the perfect setting for a first date. Whilst our meal and drinks was complimentary, if you’re paying it could end up quite expensive but the food and drinks do not disappoint and are worth the money in my opinion.
Roll on next week’s #DTHDating!