The other week my friend Elizabeth and I visited the new Aluna Bar Restaurant in Birmingham for an afternoon of magical mixology and tasty fusion plates. You’ll find Aluna on the bottom floor of The Mailbox clad in copper and oozing a mysterious cool. With a bar top that looks like it’s stepped straight out of Hogwarts Potions Class and quirky interiors to stare at in wonder this place is certainly making it’s mark on the Birmingham cocktail scene.
We started off with a master mixology demonstration at the bar – these guys know their cocktails, but not as we do! It’s Heston Blumenthal meets Harry Potter on the copper bar top at Aluna with every concoction we were served either smoking or breathing fire! We started off with a rather festive mulled wine infused over a Bunsen burner before being poured into a smoking cauldron…that’s how everyone serves their mulled wine right?
It was subtly spiced with aromas of the fresh orange and perfect for a cold December afternoon. Mulled wine is something I usually reserve for drinking outside at the German Markets but I’d certainly slink back into Aluna for another one of these closer to Christmas.
Next we tried a Lava Lamp – a gin based cocktail served with more dry ice and gelatin balls of ‘lava’ that whizzed and floated around the glass as the smoke bellowed out of the top! Another spectacle to watch but also a very refreshing cocktail – perfect for the brunch table with a big stack of pancakes or a lighter alternative to martini glass mixes on a night out.
After a few more cocktails – included a smoked Side Car, a rosemary passion fruit Rum Mix, one of the best Margaritas I’ve had in the UK (sorry Bodega, you’ve been bumped) and an alcoholic strawberry Nesquik-esque martini we moved through into the dining room to try out Aluna’s food side! With most of Aluna’s cocktails coming in at the £7-8 mark they’re not only impressive on the bar but impressive on your purse too, much appreciated for the quality.
The food at Aluna Birmingham is a Thai/Asian Fusion which was a little confusing giving our surroundings and some of the more traditional items on the menu but we rolled with it and got stuck in ordering some of our favourite dishes. For me it was the Chicken Satay (£5.95) and for Elizabeth the Butter Prawns (£7.95).
Both starters were lovely and well portioned – my satay sauce was sweet and thick to go well with the char grilled chicken skewers. Elizabeth’s prawns were buttery but with a slight chili kick and presented well – a very good start indeed!
For main I chose the Seafood Linquine (£13.95) which was huge and completely delicious. I’d certainly order this one again I’m only annoyed with myself that I didn’t manage to finish it all! Spicy and fresh with lots of mussels, scallops and squid it was just what I wanted and I’d really recommend this dish.
Elizabeth went for the Massaman Curry (£12.95) which is one of her favourite dishes. I’m happy to report the chef impressed her with his version and it’s another highly recommended main – well done Aluna.
We grabbed a side of Sweet Potato Chips (£3.25) which split the table – personally I thought they were great but E would have liked a little more crunch, you can’t please everyone when it comes to Sweet Potato Chips it seems!
Unfortunately our desserts were a bit of a flop this time round with my Creme Brulle a little scrambled and Elizabeth’s Chocolate Bonanza not being chocolatey enough, but when we explained this to our amazing waitress ‘Aunty’ Babs (what a superstar she was) Aluna whipped up one of their Ooozy Chocolate Brownies for us to try which ended up satisfying both of our sweet tooths in one – yummy!
We loved our afternoon at Aluna and I’d highly recommend coming down to give this new bar restaurant a go. It’s certainly a new haunt for me when I fancy a few cocktails and it’s a lovely place to eat at lunch too. I’m looking forward to seeing this place grow and develop over it’s first year in The Mailbox – it’s already got a new sister in Bristol! Certainly the place to be for a few quirky cocktails on your Saturday night…or Thursday lunchtime as it turns out!
Check out the full cocktail menu and book your table on the Aluna Birmingham website.
Have you visited Aluna Birmingham yet? What’s your favourite cocktail?
Leave me a comment below or tweet me @xameliax #AlunaBirmingham