[REVIEW] We were invited last week to sample the new pan-Asian menu at Aluna in the Mailbox, Birmingham. The restaurant is situated at the rear of the Mailbox right by the canal and is easily accessible through The Mailbox or a 5-minute walk along the canal from Broad Street. We were shown to our table in the luscious decorated restaurant side, The room is divided in to two with the restaurant one side and a bar the other which serves a range of wines and amazing show-stopping cocktails, imagine fire and smoke! There is also and seating area with tables outside.
Our waitress took our drinks order and talked us through the new Pan Asian menu. Aluna is all about sharing and the menu has a number of small dishes or starters for you to order a selection of and share between you. For mains, there are also sharing dishes to pick from with sides or larger plates for when you don’t want to share!
For starters, we picked three smaller share plates; pan-roasted scallops, tiger prawn cookies and spicy chicken wings. I’ll start with the scallops; they just melted in our mouths! I can honestly say these are the best scallops I have ever tasted and I love seafood and eat it quite often. The wasabi and crushed peas just enhanced their flavours even more.
The tiger prawn cookies were delicious and were flavoured with coriander, garlic, lime in a crispy coating and served with a sour plum sauce. Again, perfectly cooked and the sour plum sauce was just made for Asain prawns. Our third sharing starter the spicy chicken wings came with a real chilli punch. They were coated in a rich sticky sauce made of chilli, garlic, shallot and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The chilli kick was hot but perfectly matched with the sweet sauce which complemented the chicken wings amazingly.
For our mains, we picked a medium share plate of red aromatic crispy duck curry and some sweet potato fries and steamed seasonal vegetables. The curry has a lovely mild heat to it and the duck was cooked perfectly. The portion size was perfect too. There was also skinny fries, jasmine rice and mixed baby leaf salad on the side dishes menu. There were a selection of seven other sharing plates including dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans such as vegetable and lychee curry and chilli crusted tofu.
For dessert we picked the chocolate truffle, a smoke-filled dish of vanilla cream enrobed in chocolate truffle and cocoa powder finished with melted chocolate and chopped nuts and the salted caramel budino which is a smooth creamy pudding swirled with caramel on a base of vanilla sponge and topped with a sticky caramel with crumbled shortbread and sea salt. They were amazing! If you fancy something a little lighter to round off your meal there a refreshing mango sorbet or if rich and indulgent is your thing the homemade warm chocolate brownie would be ideal.
Our table was booked for 8am on a Friday evening (monthly payday) and having worked in Birmingham city centre I have seen how lively the city can get. Although busy the restaurant/bar wasn’t filled with rowdy drinkers and was very relaxed and a great atmosphere; you wouldn’t have known it was a Friday night in a popular part of town. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the spice/heat of the dishes and portion sizes were ideal. It’s certainly a restaurant in Birmingham we will be visiting again.
You can find out more about Aluna here.