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Quick Bites.

The original Chateau Malmaison was a den of iniquity where Napoleon and Josephine spent many a passionate night.

The passion lives on in a slightly more prosaic form as Newcastle's Malmaison brasserie launches its spring menu next week with original dishes created by head chef Keith Shearer.

For starters, try the fresh dressed crab, locally sourced and served in its shell, with home-made sour dough bread or try the skillfully-created Salad Gourmande with roulettes of Foie Gras.

Mains include textured polenta crusted sea bass with earthy artichoke barigoule and the Chateaubriand Bearnaise for two with baby carrots, leeks and green beans.

For `la piece de resistance' ( the desserts: "I hear you knocking" creme brulAe with a hard caramel coating, or the theatrical Rhubarb Napoleon, a frivolous filo pastry served with creme patisserie.

Malmaison also introduces the ultimate mustard fix ( a mustard trolley with a choice of nine, including black olive with wholegrain to Dijon with Chablis.

Malmaison Hotel Brasserie, 104 The Close, Newcastle, (0191) 245-5001

The restaurant at De Vere Slaley Hall has also introduced a new spring menu, which takes advantage of many of the finest ingredients available this season.

The menu, devised by executive chef Tony Binks and his team, mixes traditional and continental influences with local delicacies such as daube of beef in Newcastle Brown Ale with Italian smoked bacon and thyme gratin Dauphinoise.

Refreshing and light starters include home- cured salmon, served with a potato and chive salad and sweet mustard and dill dressing, or duck and venison terrine with spiced pear and fig salad.

If the weather's up to it you can finish off your meal with some fine Northumberland cheeses on the restaurant terrace overlooking the golf course.

De Vere Slaley Hall, The Restaurant, Hexham, (01434) 673350.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2004
Words:293
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