The last time I visited the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Broad Street it was a birthday.
My husband had organised the stop over for me, and I remember the great views from our room at the top of the hotel. I also remember falling off my high heels as I exited the lift but that’s a shame story for another time. Instead of eating at Aria – the restaurant in the sprawling lobby of the hotel – we headed for a neighbouring restaurant: Pushkars. It was great, you should go there.
Truth be told I didn’t really realise the hotel’s restaurant existed (mainly because no one on the reception team told us during check in *slow clap*) instead spending our time in the Gentleman and Scholar pub, also onsite. Flash forward a few years and armed with an invite to check out the new bar, I was quite interested to see what the restaurant might have to offer too. Being a hotel mainly associated with business meetings and events, would it be welcoming or corporate and cold? Truth be told, I was actually pleasantly surprised.
Open plan but disguised by tall trees and oversized pot plants, the airy restaurant itself is a little quirky. A bit like dining in a well-kept garden one might find on an English county estate, it’s a mashup of deep, plush greens and bold bird print wallpaper. Pretty, but in an adult way, despite its lobby location it’s designed to create a fairly swish dining experience. The attentive staff are keen to deliver the latter too.
The menu is well conceived, taking inspiration from the English garden theme running throughout the restaurant. There’s plenty of fresh flavours and a surprising amount of (decent) vegetarian options, if that’s your bag. Scallops with Chorizo Crumb (£12.50) were sweet, just cooked through and tender. They seemed rather small to me (confirmed by the chef later on) and I prefer a little more colour to the surface, but the dish overall was well put together with an earthy cauliflower purée and ribbons of crispy kale.
A beautifully presented Sea Bream (£23.50) fillet was lovingly grilled, the skin deliciously crisp and well seasoned. Delicate flesh and a decent sized piece of fish – lovely stuff. Fondant potato topped with firm asparagus sat as a base for the fish and an accompanying creamy mustard and herb sauce that tasted like it probably added an inch to my waistline just by looking at it. The mustard tang was pleasant rather than overpowering, although I’d have liked a little more of the aromatic tarragon to come through. Extra points for the samphire; an often underused green, in my opinion.
Desserts are arguably the highlight of the food offerings here. The pretty Panna Cotta with Rhubarb was a triumph; less jelly-like and more of a thick set mousse. Poached rhubarb pieces provided bite and the textures across the plate made for a satisfying, zingy pudding. The additional fragrant Thai basil leaves are inspired.
Fresh and colourful food with warm service throughout; I’m planning on returning to try some other menu items soon. The dishes were all beautifully presented with admirable attention to detail, in a setting that’s much nicer than more expensive hotel restaurants in the city.
Now, about those high heels…
Aria, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 2 Bridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2JZ
Disclosure: I was invited to dine at Aria and my meal was complementary. I was not asked to provide a review (positive or not) and my opinions remain my own. All words and photos are mine.