Almost one year in and the City of Birmingham continues to astound me in the sheer number of new restaurant and bar openings. We are truly spoilt for choice and as new venues keep rising, often in the ashes of burnt out restaurants, how can we decide where to spend our money?
With so much choice and so little time, a venue with a killer cocktail menu serving traditional Thai food, in the heart of the City sounds like a recipe for success. From the man behind Aluna Bar in the Mailbox, Nishil Nathwani’s restaurant Siamais claims to be just that. It’s on the old Thai Edge site, so if you are looking for it, it’s no longer there.
I’ve never been to Aluna, but I hear it has a Marmite reputation, some love and some hate, so I was intrigued to see how Siamais in Brindleyplace would fare.
We arrive at 6pm on a weekday. Siamais has been open for 2 days and it’s already very busy.
First impressions, it’s beautiful, quirky and very adventurous! You first walk into the bar and the restaurant is a separate section at the back. Lots of theatrics by way of lights, lanterns, colours and textures. I don’t think I’ve ever described a restaurant with so much gusto and don’t get me started on the drinks that fizz, smoke or pop. Some might find this cheesy, but I like the full experience of dining; the smells, the sounds as well as the taste on the palate.
We started off with a cocktail and sadly the picture really doesn’t do the flavours justice. Drinks ordered include a Strawberry Daiquiri and a Mojito. I felt spoilt for choice with the cocktail menu, classics surrounded by signature cocktails and Siamais reinventions, all designed to complement the food. It was hard to pick one, but I went for one of my party favourites a Mai Tai. It was executed to perfection. Very pleased the first impressions were going positively well.
The food menu is quite sizeable, in that there appears to be something for everyone. All the Thai classics, including one or two Siamais signature dishes including a Thai Tapas Menu (£3.50 each of 3 for £10) and the Stir-Fried Lobster with Celery and Ginger at £49.95! I know if I really wanted to pay fifty quid for lobster, I’d prefer for it not to be stir-fried, but each their own. Spicy dishes are indicated with a 1-3 skull mark, 1 being mild and 3 being hot stuff. Give me 3 skulls any day.
There’s lots of choice on the starters and mains and we eventually settled on a couple of portions of the House Sharing Platter for 2 and a portion of Soft Shell Crab in Salt and Chilli. Always weary of soft shell crab, I have a fear of missing out if not ordered and also the fear of small portions. Glad I got it and on this occasion, nicely spiced and crisp, worth every penny.
The £18 mixed platter consisted of prawn rolls (OK, but tasted generic), fish cakes, spring rolls (seriously, the best I’ve had in a long time), satay chicken (star of the show) and chicken wrapped in a Pandanus leaf. For the price, it might be nice to see some shredded veg to even out the colour a bit and add to our five a day.
Everything was going very well until this point. As more guests kept walking through the doors and being seated, we noticed a direct correlation with the level of service. It looked like the pressure was way too much for the new team.
I choose the Lamb Panang Curry served with Jasmine Rice for my main course, I asked if I could upgrade to a spicy rice and the waiter said yes, it sadly failed to appear on delivery as he had forgotten. The lamb was tender and juicy and a really good portion size.
Another dish worthy of a mention was the Stir-Fried Duck in Tamarind Sauce served with Jasmine Rice. The crispy, roasted duck in the sweet, sticky sauce, complemented by refreshing cucumber was definitely my favourite. At £11.95, I will definitely be back for another plate of this.
I didn’t order a dessert as the mains took a while to come out and I had to rush off. They sadly only had 2 out of about 9 desserts left, so that made the decision easier for the rest of the group. With only one dessert ordered, we asked for the bill and we were on our way.
Pressed for time or fancy a cheap eat or budget conscious meal, check out the two course Siamais lunch menu here, it’s a fabulous £12.95.
It’s worth bearing in mind that on the day I dined, the restaurant had only been open on soft launch for two days. The issues with slow service, lack of check backs, forgetting to take additional drink orders and missing items can (hopefully) be easily rectified. If the quality of the food remains consistent, I can see it being very popular with Brindley Place folk. I’ll be back for the cocktails, Thai tapas and the tamarind duck. I must also check out the wine list whilst I’m at it! I hope they’ll put some hooks on the toilet doors too..
As it was during the soft launch, my guests and I were offered 50% off our food menu. Siamais had no knowledge that I was one of those annoying food bloggers and nor was I expected to write this.
As always, my writing and my honest views.
-Wine Press Girl x