Monday, 24 July 2017

Food Review: Siamais Brindleyplace Thai Food and Cocktails Review

What's Siamais? The name Siamais is taken from 'Siamese twins', to reflect the dual nature of Brindleyplace Birmingham's only Thai restaurant.

A restaurant and bar, the two areas are quite separate meaning you can enjoy an evening at the bar or in the restaurant without needing to do both.

I was able to enjoy an evening at the restaurant courtesy of Brum Bloggers and met up with Kerry from Brum and Beyond for a Bloggers Dinner Date.

Taking a seat in the main restaurant, myself and Kerry were matched up for a blind date and hit it off like a house on fire. My date had already started on the cocktails so I quickly caught up and ordered the Oriental Orchid, mainly because I tried this at the launch and have craved it ever since. Served with a smoking flask, the cocktail itself is stunning; a light combination of peach and vodka that I could simply keep drinking.

We ordered our starters of Weeping Tiger Sizzling Steak and Crispy Duck Salad and decided to try both. The Sizzling Steak was gluten free but the Duck salad was served with the sauce on the side for my benefit as this part was not.

Both dishes were beautiful, with the steak being rich and full of flavour, whilst the salad was exceptionally light and refreshing.

For our main course, I opted for Green Curry with Chicken which comes served with Jasmine Rice, whilst Kerry chose the Massaman Curry. Again, my curry was gluten free whilst Kerry's Massaman was not.

The server was very helpful when it came to helping me pick what was suitable for a gluten free diet, and checked with the kitchen to ensure I ordered the right dishes!

I adored my Thai Curry, and since Ekachai in Selfridges has closed I've found it difficult to find somewhere that matches up. Thankfully though, I can safely say that I would come back repeatedly for this dish, and that's before I even get started on the cocktails.

Kerry enjoyed her Massaman and similarly to mine, felt that the flavours were just right and rich enough to carry everything in the dish, without tasting like a wash out of coconut milk.

We also shared a cocktail called the Bang Pai Falls, which I highly recommend for the social media pictures alone. This is a sharer that comes served in a skull head glass, complete with steaming top. The drink itself is bright red and delicious, and comprises rum, cherry, vanilla and cranberry juice.

We were both far too full to enjoy a dessert, especially since we'd tried a few cocktails too and picked some sweet options! However, if you're not drinking then definitely try three courses.

The atmosphere whist we were there was lively and it has an almost electric feel at the moment as it is one of Birmingham's hottest restaurants/bars. The restaurant was full and the seating means you can come either in a couple or large group, with the restaurant being able to accommodate both. If you were after a quieter experience, then I'd recommend coming at lunch time to try out two course for £12.95, which is fantastic value for the quality of food.

The cocktails were all imaginative and fun, and the waiting team were really knowledgable on the menu so were able to recommend drinks based on our preferences. This meant that we were happy with each cocktail we tried and I'd order everything I tried today again.

The food was well crafted, well put together and full of flavour, as well as offering good value. My beef starter was £12 and the Green Curry was £14.95 including rice, making it an affordable treat.

No matter what the occasion, a casual lunch, a few drinks after work or a celebration with friends, Siamais ticks all the boxes. The food, drink, service and atmosphere are all to a high standard, as well as the value for money offered by the dishes.

Time for Thai? Yes please!

*My meal was complimentary and courtesy of the team at Siamais.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Food Review: Tapas Revolution Grand Central Birmingham Summer Menu

Tapas is such a great dish to gather around. A table full to bursting with small, delectable plates of yum should only be shared with great friends.

I was invited to try out the new Summer menu at Tapas Revolution in Grand Central, Birmingham and invited along a relative to join me for some summer bites.

Located in Grand Central, Tapas Revolution is the brainchild of Omar Allibhoy, Spanish chef, cookbook author and a regular on our TV screens.

This talented Spaniard opened Tapas Revolution Birmingham back in 2015, and it is often busy after work as people drop by to try out tapas, sangria and cocktails.

Settling into our booth with a view, we were able to take a peek at the cocktail menu first and went for some fruitier options to start with. We ordered the Passion Fruit and Marzipan Batida and Blood Orange and Cherry Royal.

With an entirely separate gluten free menu, I was pleased to see that many of the dishes on the main menu are perfectly fine to eat for gluten free guests.

With this in mind, we decided to order dishes that were suitable for both of us including the Marinated Beef Skewers with Spicy Sauce (Pinchos morunas con mojo picon), Paella Valenciana, Tiger Prawns in garlic and chilli oil (Gambas al ajillo), Black Rice with Prawns and Squid (Arroz Negro) and of course Patatas Bravas.

The dishes were brought out quickly, and as they were ready, which meant we could tuck into dishes whilst they were hot.

My favourite dish had to be the black rice paella; a combination of salty flavours and meaty pieces of squid, the flavour balance for me was just right.

The classic paella was also delicious, and the prawns were a good sized portion too. Patatas Bravas was well cooked but not burnt, with enough sauce to cover each piece.

The prawns were heavy on the garlic, but still very enjoyable and a good portion.

Finally the beef skewers. The sauce was for me a touch too spicy but still delicious.

By now it was time to order another cocktail! This time we went for matching martinis, I for the Espresso Blanco Martini and my relative, the sparkling Rose Margerita.

I could enjoy the Tapas Revolution version of the Espresso Martini any day of the week, but I probably shouldn't!

A few hours hours later, we left Tapas Revolution feeling very satisfied. The service we received was excellent, extremely friendly and the restaurant has a great laid back, post work vibe. Our dishes were all satisfying and I'm pleased with what we chose. Next time, I would perhaps have had another dish or two depending on how hungry you are.

There are a number of offers worth checking out too, including the £9.95 lunch deal, half price Sangria jugs and two-for-one Gin and tonic's from 4-7pm, Sunday-Friday.

Thank you to the team at Tapas Revolution for a great meal!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Event: Pirlo's Dessert Lounge First Birthday Party and Gluten Free Cakes

There's a problem with dieting, and here's what it is. No diet food will ever taste as delicious as a chocolate brownie or a red velvet cheesecake.

Now with that out the way, let's talk about desserts!

As much as I try to eat healthily, most of the time, once in a while you just have to treat yourself to a chocolate covered, cream filled slice of heaven. That's where Pirlo's Dessert Lounge comes in. Handily located just behind the Bullring, Pirlo's serves up delicious desserts, monster sundae's and more. What's even better is that they have a pretty good gluten free selection too; it would be rude not to try them out.

I was invited to celebrate Pirlo's first birthday in the best way possible; with cake. I, along with a group of bloggers, made it into Pirlo's to celebrate with mocktails and desserts that were bigger and better than your average restaurant pudding.

Starting off with mocktails and smoothies, we were soon presented with a host of desserts to photograph and enjoy.

This included the Pirlo's Big Waffle, Choc O Holic Crepe, The Wild One Crepe, Red Velvet Cake and Milk Chocolate Fondue.

Onto the crepes and waffles, look at the size of these!

 Choc O Holic Crepe
 Pirlo's Big Waffle
Wild One Crepe

Here's a picture of the milk chocolate fondue too.

Not only did we get try to try all of this, I was also able to try out some of the gluten free options; the gluten free chocolate cake and the gluten free chocolate brownie.

Now, excuse me whilst I head to the gym!

*With thanks to Delicious PR for the invitation

Monday, 12 June 2017

Event: Hotel Du Vin Spring Menu Launch

With a name like Hotel Du Vin, it's no surprise that a new menu tasting at the Birmingham branch of the hotel involved copious amounts of the red and white stuff.

A firm favourite in the city for pre work breakfasts, after work drinks and everything in between, Hotel Du Vin has just released it's Spring Menu; and invited a bunch of bloggers along to try it out.

Starting off the evening with a little blind champagne tasting, we were invited to taste test a Champagne, English sparkling, prosecco and a French Cremant. Simon Carlo from Meat and One Veg was undoubtedly the winner in this game, but the taking part was pretty fun too.

We were invited into the main restaurant to sit at a King Arthur style round table, where there was food and wine flowing throughout the evening.

Presented with both the A La Carte and Fixed Price Spring Menu, we were spoilt for choice. Although a difficult decision, I chose from the main menu, but made sure to take photographs of some of the other options available to give you a taste of what's available.

The Spring Menu is a steal at £17.95 for two courses or £20.95 for three. With starters including octopus, watercress and spinach soup and air dried ham, the main selection includes mackerel, gnocchi a burger and a salad option.  

I opted for the Salmon and Wye Smoked Salmon Classic, which was recommended to me by the waiting team. What arrived was a plate covered in delicious slithers of smoked salmon, topped off with soft yolked quail eggs and scattered with greenery including shallots, capers and cornichons. A delicious, protein packed and healthy summer starter, this was all the more delicious when eaten with the mounds of fresh bread we were provided with. The smaller bread basket is my own special portion of gluten free bread, whilst the larger basket contained choices such as tomato and walnut breads.

This was also accompanied with a choice of white wines; I opted for the Pinot Blanc.

Some of the other delicious looking starters included the Scallop Ceviche and Soft Boiled Goosnargh Duck Egg with Asparagus Soldiers.

Onto the main course, I opted for the Rack of Yorkshire Dales Lamb, pea, bean and goats curd salad. At £26.95, this is one of the most expensive main course options from the menu. However, the dish that I ate was absolutely delicious. Pink, moist, tender lamb cutlets nestled on a light curd and vegetables, this was again, a filling but light option, which is exactly what you'd want from a summer menu.

A few other notable menu options included the Black and Blue burger, featuring a distinctive black bun, and the Aubergine Caponata and Grilled Halloumi.

Our mains were served with a selection of sides including Parmentier Potatoes, Chantenay Carrots and Sauteed Spinach, along with a red wine selection.

Finally, it was time for my favourite wine choice of the day, the dessert wine. Both of these wines were delicious, the Royal Tokaji was light and honey tainted whilst the Alcyone was rich and syrupy.

I couldn't decide on a dessert, but went for a light option of Peach Melba from the Fixed Price Summer Menu.

Others, however, went for the Crepes Suzette, which was an inspired choice as it meant we were able to watch the show as the trolley was wheeled out and the flames started leaping. 

The Chocolate Bombe was also a theatrical affair, with a caramel sauce that was dripped onto the chocolate sphere to melt it away and reveal the insides.

By now, having eaten our way through the menu and tried some of the best wines Hotel Du Vin has to offer, our meal had come to an end.

Hotel Du Vin offers up a warm and relaxed dining experience in comfortable and refined surroundings. Although civilised, this is a place that isn't pretentious, but is still special. All of the food we enjoyed was good quality, delicately cooked, and with attention to detail. The presentation of every dish was carefully considered, and the service was faultless. For a special meal that's not going to leave you hungry for more, I'd be back in a heartbeat.

*With thanks to Delicious PR for the invitation