London Malmaison, 18-21 Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6AH
The impressive façade of the Malmaison Hotel holds court in its own secluded square; serenely picturesque in the centre of the City, around the corner from the hustle and bustle of Smithfield meat market. The alluring scents of Sunday roast or freshly baked bread will occasionally drift up from the basement brasserie, enticing passers-by into the informal but lavish space. A selection of self-styled Mal lollipops – bitesize skewers of chicken satay, prawn tempura crab spring roll, Thai pork and fish cake – are a fun opening to a meal, each morsel elaborately presented and particularly well flavoured. Meat is big on the agenda, and it doesn’t get much bigger than the Mal Burger Stack: 250g of beef is topped with bacon and crowned with a succulent seared foie gras slider and onion rings, and served with ultra-thin crisp fries on the side. It’s entirely excessive but all the more enjoyable for it. This is not a place to come for moderation.