Thai food is something I think is tricky to get right. That delicate balance of sour, sweet, salty and umami eludes many. When Siamais opened on the site of the old Thai Edge in Brindleyplace, it promised spectacular cocktails and food, so of course, the Brum Bloggers collective took it upon ourselves to put them to the test!
As usual, I was running late from work, so we met at Siamais. The decor is gorgeous and a little quirky. Hundreds of lanterns hang from the ceilings, while murals adorn the walls and skulls can be spotted all around.
Once I’d been shown to our table, we were introduced to the manager Max almost as soon as I arrived, and spend probably the best part of 20 minutes catching up before we even looked at the cocktail menu!
To be honest though, we didn’t really need to look, as we both desperately wanted to try the Bang Pai Falls Cocktail. We were invited up to the bar to watch it being prepared, and believe me it’s quite the spectacle!
The preparation involved flaming booze, dry ice and a carved skull to drink it from. It certainly turned heads as it was brought to our table! The flavour was fruity and sweet, but with a rummy tang. It packed a good punch of alcohol too.
For our food, we broke all the rules. Having decided we wanted to eat literally everything, Max decided to take control! He made us our very own starter platter, swapping in some of our preferred dishes, and giving us a side portion of king prawn tom yum soup. We were both very aware we were getting special treatment though.
The starter platter was presented beautifully, with Thai fish cakes, chicken satay, battered king prawns and the addition of the Weeping Tiger steak we wanted to try, with 3 dipping sauces.
The Thai fish cakes were really good, but be warned, they are not the soft inside, crispy breaded fish cakes you might expect, they’re firm patties of spiced fish with a good kick. The satay chicken was delicious, with juicy, tender chicken and a thick, unctuous satay sauce, with just enough peanut sweetness. The Weeping Tiger steak was also wonderful, with thick slices of chargrilled rare steak and a spicy dipping sauce.
My only criticisms of the platter were that the batter on the king prawns was quite thick and dense, and the dipping sauce could have done with less fish sauce for my taste, but other than that, a very good start.
We also tried out the Tom Yum soup, which was delicious, full of fat king prawns with a sour, spicy broth.
For our main courses, we continued in our rule breaking naughtiness, as Max presented us with a selection of dishes to try.
We got 3 mains: red duck curry, chicken and beef massaman and mixed seafood in chilli, accompanied by spicy rice and egg fried rice.
I started off with the chicken and beef massaman, which was really fragrant with delicate flavours, tender meat and potatoes.
The mixed seafood was a highlight for me, with huge green lipped mussels, fresh squid and prawns in a hot chilli sauce. The seafood was all cooked really well, and the sauce was fiery. Max had asked us when ordering how hot we like it, so I was pleased that he’d ramped up the heat for me.
Finally I tried the duck red curry, which was another highlight. The duck was crispy, the sauce was rich and coconutty and there was plenty of fresh veg providing some contrast to the richness of the meat and sauce. I already love Thai red curry, and this was one of the tastiest I’ve had, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The rice accompaniments were lovely too. The egg fried rice was well cooked and fluffy, but nothing spectacular, whereas the spicy rice was really delicious, packed with veg and plenty of chilli.
We had so much food, we ended up having two platefuls each and still enough left to take home in a doggy bag!
After all that food, desserts were off the cards, so we got to have fun with after dinner drinks. Max had already furnished us with some Thai beers to go with dinner after we’d finished our Bang Pai Falls cocktail, but he had something special to show us for afters.
We started off with a Smoke Old Fashioned, the whisky classic, served in a bell jar full of smoke that creates a real entrance!
It was a well made old fashioned with Jim Beam double oak, that had an ever so subtle smoke flavour. I’d definitely order this one again.
Then it was time for some real fun. Siamais has a secret menu, only available if you ask for it, with some even more spectacular cocktails on it.
The most interesting and Willy Wonka-esque of the lot is the Bitter Blocker: a grapefruit margarita, served with a bitter blocker pill, and a selection of accompaniments. The pill blocks bitter and sour flavours, Max promised us we’d be able to eat lemons like sweets, so both Vicky and I were intruiged!
You can’t rush this one, you need to suck the pill for a good few minutes, and work it all the way around your mouth, so it almost feels like it’s been coated. After that, it’s time to get stuck in.
I was skeptical, I’ll admit, but I kid you not, I ate the lemon slice and it tasted like lemon Starburst. The lime was the same, and the grapefruit slice tasted like melon! I wasn’t as enamoured with the red wine, but the grapefruit margarita was amazing.
According to Max, Siamais was the first place in Birmingham to give customers the Bitter Blocker experience, but now other high-end cocktail establishments are quickly following suit. He didn’t seem offended though, he just loved seeing our faces as we tried it!
Clearly we were treated to a very special experience as we were there to review, but it has to be said, Max and his team, especially out wonderful waitress Pai, were amazing the entire night. Although there was a bit of a wait for some things, overall the service was very good, they really looked after us and catered to our every whim. The food was lovely, and Vicky and I are both extremely grateful for their generosity, as our entire meal and drinks were complimentary.
That said, I was under no obligation to provide a positive review, I genuinely had a great experience. I’m keen to go back for a regular, paid for meal to see if the service matches up, but judging by how Max and the team treated other diners while we were there, I’d expect it would be pretty close.
Have you tried Siamais yet? What did you think?