This was our fourth visit to the Malmaison, having had very good experiences on the other occasions. However, after a serving of warm soup, the main course was equally lukewarm, and our previous visits were beginning to fade. The third course advertised Creme Anglaise with the Brioche Pudding, but when it appeared the total portion of the custard could have fitted into one teaspoon. Nicely presented, but mean on the quantity. Service was efficient to the point of being hurried. Almost as soon as the cutlery was placed on the plate, that course was removed and the next one appeared within very few minutes with no real time to relax. Understandable if the restaurant was busy, but on this night there appeared to be many vacant tables. After accepting the invitation to upgrade the wine on offer, and on the assumption we could "take-away" that which we did not drink, we were surprised to be told that we would have to consume all the wine on the premises, even though that would mean we would be driving well over the legal limit. Our assumption had been based on the fact that on a previous occasion, in this same restaurant, we were given the opportunity to "take-away" the wine we had not consumed. On receipt of the bill, we noticed that the charge for the upgraded wine was £1 more than advertised on the Wine List. When challenged, the staff, immediately, admitted they had previous knowledge about the over-charge, but claimed they did not have the facility to alter the till charges. I was also disappointed to note that a discretionary service charge of 10% had automatically been added to the bill. This we noted was displayed in very small print at the bottom of the menu. On reflection we should have asked for this charge to be removed from the bill due to our extremely disappointing experience.
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Gordon Gibb - 10/09/2009