Firstly, I will apologise for the quality of my photographs! A DLSR camera isn't a great accessory when you are asked to 'dress to impress' and there is no way I could squeeze it into my sparkly clutch so I relied on my iPhone to take a few snaps.
As our taxi pulled up outside the iconic Quayside building, you could feel the exciting buzz as you walked along the red carpet, were snapped by photographers (yes really), handed a glass of champagne and asked to head upstairs and help yourself to cocktails.
Chez Mal has been completely refurbished and the transformation is staggering. The famous purple corridors and dark, moody corners have been upgraded to give the whole place a fresh and modern feel. The bar and brasserie have now switched places and are un-recognisable. The bar area seems larger and more spacious with plenty of seating areas available making it a perfect place to meet with friends after work. Our friends Chloe (New Girl in Toon) and Simon, Laura (What Laura Loves) and Rachel (Happy Little Syllables) had already grabbed us a table so we headed over to enjoy the fabulous live performances courtesy of Rachel Sweeney and Annabel Pattinson.
As Chloe put it - Steve and Simon swapping 'I live with a blogger' horror stories.
Much to the boys' delight, we were seated right next to a pop up bar serving 'smoked old fashioned' cocktails which were a real hit with the crowd and seemed to go down a little too easily!
Pina Colada's seemed to be the rest of our table's cocktail of choice which were freshly prepared using premium spirits by the friendly and knowledgable bartenders.
Sometimes service can be painfully slow when cocktails are made properly but this was definitely not the case Chez Mal - the staff were all extremely speedy and service very prompt throughout the night despite the fact that the place was packed with guests who had high expectations and some of the cocktails on offer sounded very complex indeed (one even has Jalepenos listed as an ingredient). The staff really are a credit to Chez Mal.
We were informed that dinner was to be served at 8:30pm and I couldn't believe we had just eaten before we left for the party. Apparently there were the finest fillet steaks, lamb cutlets, cheese boards and seafood on offer. We were reliably informed that the dessert section was also to die for! I can't believe we missed out but everyone we spoke to had such high praise for the food that we will definitely be returning soon to sample what the brasserie has to offer. We did try a few canapes which were perfect.
The gossip of the evening was that Mark Wright would be attending the party as a guest DJ. I really didn't believe this and rolled my eyes despite my friend Rachel being adamant it was true. Well as I was chatting to Ashleigh Money Saver and Donna from the North East Hub there was some definite excitement around the DJ booth so off we popped to see what was going on.
It turns out Mark Wright was in the building after all! He wasn't keen on taking photographs with guests whilst he was setting up his set though and I definitely think I caught him at a bad moment (however twitter shows that he did take some photos later on). His set full of 90's tunes was absolutely spot on and we table danced along to classics such as 'Two can play that game', 'Another night, another dream' and 'I love you baby'. Chez Mal's house DJ's Adam Walker and Chris Shaw were just as good (if not better) than Mr.Wright and you can catch them playing live sets in the bar area every weekend until 1am.
After quite a few cocktails we decided it was time to mingle and it was lovely to meet Claire Barber who has been handling the PR for the Newcastle Malmaison. There was a rumour (and twitter proof) that Sting was also in the room but we weren't lucky enough to find him. I was however very excited to meet Karen (Monkeyfooted Mummy) who I actually run the North East Network of Brilliant Bloggers with but have never had the chance to meet in real life! It was fantastic to finally put a face to somebody I probably chat to every day online! We also bumped into Scarlett and her family from GoggleBox. They really were the most lovely and down to earth people and were full of praise for Chez Mal (Scarlett informed us she had eaten far too much meat but couldn't resist as it was all amazing). Of course I had to take a selfie or two and they were happy to oblige......
Time really does fly when you are having fun and we decided to change our taxi to later in the evening (in hindsight this was probably a bad move with school runs and work to consider the next day but as I say, you only live once!)
We left Chez Mal just after 11pm wanting more and the next day I could not stop thinking about what a wonderful evening we'd had so I booked us into the Malmaison Newcastle for an overnight stay, meal and more cocktails next month (keep your eyes peeled for a future review with decent photos next time!). Congratulations to everyone involved in what was most definitely Newcastle's party of the year. The evening was a huge success and we can't wait to return for more.
Fancy trying Chez Mal for yourself?
- Steak, Lobster & Bubbles - This Summer enjoy melt-in-the-mouth steak, a 1/2 lobster, fries and a glass of Malmaison BubbleTime Champagne in the Chez Mal Brasserie for £25pp. Click here for details.
- Eat, Drink, Sleep - Enjoy an overnight stay in a stylish, refurbished room, a three course meal for two from the Prix Fixe menu and a cocktail each from only £105 per room. Click here for details.