Despite being an almost married woman now, let it be known I went on my fair share of dates when I was a Single Sally. Oh yes! I was quite the expert as it goes and even wrote a weekly blog for a magazine about my experiences trying to find love in this fair city, but that’s a story for another time… and only after a bottle of Rioja. The last time I was going on dates Tinder didn’t exist (although Plenty of Fish did *shudder*) and boys still chatted girls up in bars. Which reminds me, I really should find the man who ran Snobs circa 2002-2011 and thank him.. anyway, back to the blog..
Being that I’ve not had a date with anyone other than Ian in nearly 6 years, I was delighted to receive an invitation from Brum Bloggers to go on a blind date with a fellow foodie. I made sure to clarify that no post-date smooch was expected, and awaited info on who I’d be wining and dining with. The date was to be chosen for me and would take place at Siamais; the latest Thai bar and restaurant to arrive on the Brindleyplace scene.
Opened in March this year, Siamais replaced Thai Edge (on the corner of Oozells Square) and is headed up by the same heads behind Aluna cocktail bar at the Mailbox. I’ve walked past the venue a few times on my travels, always commenting on how pretty it looks from the outside, but before now had yet to take a seat inside. All that changed on Friday when I got to sample the food, drink and dining experience Siamais is rapidly becoming famous for on the Brum foodie scene.
My dining partner George (aka Caramel Latte Kiss) and I have met several times before and I was delighted to be paired with her for this gourmet adventure. She’s a good giggle and we have a fair bit in common (including working in the same not-to-be-named hell hole many moons ago) so I knew we’d have a great time. We were sat alongside two other bloggers, Helen and Tasha, and decided to team up for a double date. An unexpected treat; plus it’s always nice dining with food bloggers anyway because they appreciate the importance of rearranging your food and understand the significance of good restaurant lighting. *Can I get an amen!* Arriving at 7:30pm, we were greeted warmly and shown to our cosy table in the restaurant, and a lovely evening of Thai feasting began.
Visually the bar and restaurant are both beautiful; contemporary, colourful and quirky. As well as dramatic lighting in the bar, including some fabulous chandeliers, hanging from the ceiling you’ll also find red Chinese lanterns, black and white cages and some skulls. The restaurant decor is a little more neutral, with some fabulous themed artwork adorning the walls and plenty more showstopping lighting above your head. There’s so much to take in initially it’s hard to know where to look, but it’s an impressive venue for sure. The bar and restaurant are separate spaces, allowing you to just swing by for a cocktail or two if desired and, despite the dark wood furniture used throughout, Siamais manages to feel bright thanks to the big windows and colourful decor. It’s different to anywhere else in this part of town and whilst attractive it doesn’t feel ostentatious, unlike some places nearby.
We were presented with the food menu and a leather bound book containing an impressive list of drinks and cocktails to choose from. With an extensive collection of potent concoctions available, including the classic cocktails you’d expect as well as combinations unique to Siamais, we found ourselves spoilt for choice. Our waiter, Peter, offered us some of his top picks and I eventually chose the Aviation (£8.25) from the Signatures cocktail list, which combines gin with hints of violet and cherry, delivering a flavour similar to parma violets. A lovely pale purple colour, this small but strong tasting cocktail was fragrant and satisfying, with a cherry surprise waiting at the bottom of the glass. Other cocktails my fellow diners opted for included the Espresso Martini (£8) and Singapore Fling (£8.95).
The menu is inspired by the flavours of Southeast Asia, with an eclectic mix of dishes to suit most tastes. Starters include more traditional choices such as spicy soups, fish cakes and spring rolls, but feeling a little adventurous I opted for the fabulous sounding Weeping Tiger Sizzling Steak (£12). Strips of herb and pepper marinaded chargrilled sirloin are served in a tangy chilli sauce, providing a real treat for a those with carnivorous tendencies, like me. The steak was served just pink and was juicy, although I found a few bits rather chewy; this didn’t put me off per say, but there was more than I’d hope to find. George chose the Soft Shell Crab (£10) which smelt fabulous, and other starters for the table included the Chicken Wrapped in Panadous Leaf (£7.50).
For my main I chose the Lamb Penang Curry (£12.95) which was served with a healthy portion of jasmine sticky rice. A fairly dry curry – which is fried in coconut milk, rather than boiled – this was a deep, rich and delicious sauce for the tender lamb chunks to nestle in. With a good portion of meat to enjoy, the curry wasn’t as spicy as I expected with a 2 out of 3 ‘skull rating’ but it was very flavoursome and combined salty and sweet notes. Other dishes chosen by my party included the Stir Fried Prawns with Garlic (£11.95) and the Masaman Curry (£12.95); on my next visit I’ll definitely try the king prawns myself.
As part of our second round of cocktails I chose to try the Passionfruit Mojito Royale (£9) from the Book of Siam menu, which switched the traditional soda water top for prosecco. I found this a slightly strange tasting long cocktail and personally I’m not sure the additional fizz element provided much to the overall flavour of the drink; it wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t blown away by it. Totally down to personal preference, of course. Speaking of cocktails, the bar staff had a surprise up their sleeve for us after dinner, and we were invited up to the bar to watch their signature sharing cocktail being created: Bang Pai Falls (£18.50). A dramatic spectacle with plenty of wow factor, this vanilla and cherry infused super-strong rum cocktail was then given to us to share; we loved it so much we got a cheeky photo with our skull-shaped table guest, ‘Bob’.
Finally we moved onto dessert (all £5.95) and I opted for the Salted Caramel. Tasting very much like Rolos, this square of sugary goodness was utterly delicious, and actually quite light considering how decadent it tasted. Other desserts chosen included the Apple Sorbet; a lovely dairy free option for our vegan pal, Tash.
A great night with lovely company and tasty, interesting food and flavours; the added dramatic flair for good measure makes it feel like a special occasion, even on a week night. Big thanks to the team at Siamais for really looking after us, and making some great menu recommendations.
I’ll definitely be back for another date.. although potentially with my hungry husband-to-be next time. You can view the menus, book a table or contact the team with regards to dietary requirements via the Siamais website, and the Instagram page will give you some more visuals to whet your whistle. It’s worth noting Siamais offer a 2 course lunch menu for £12.95 too.
Siamais, Brindley Place, 7 Oozells Street, Birmingham, B1 2HS
*Disclaimer: I was kindly invited by Brum Bloggers and Siamais to sample the food and drink mentioned above in return for an honest review. All opinions, photos (and oversharing) are my own. Thanks to Ting @ Brum Bloggers for arranging my visit.*