Take a look at the delicious new Autumn menu at Aria, the ‘Secret Garden’ restaurant within the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.
I visited the Aria restaurant as a guest of the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.
The Aria restaurant in the Hyatt Regency Birmingham recently unveiled their new Autumn menu, themed around The Secret Garden, the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. So I was intrigued and delighted to accept their invitation to try out the new menu.
Aria sits within a beautiful atrium setting inside the hotel, and in the daytime, natural light floods the airy space. Water features and large trees dotted around the restaurant give it a very peaceful and natural feeling.
It’s the ideal place to meet up with friends over an elegant and delicious afternoon tea. I tried this out earlier in the year and fell in love with their delicious selection of elegant sandwiches and delicate freshly-made fancies.
But as the sun sets and twilight falls across the city, the atmosphere in the restaurant begins to change.
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The ambient lighting in Aria is warm and relaxing, while twinkling fairy lights in the trees give Aria a touch of magic.
It lends a very intimate and relaxing feel to the restaurant; this would be the perfect place to come for a romantic meal or a special occasion.
Start your Evening in the Aria Bar
We began our evening in the Aria bar inside the hotel lobby. It’s ideal for a relaxing drink at the end of the day, or to start off your night out in Birmingham.
We enjoyed some of the excellent Hattingley Valley English sparkling wines which the bar stocks, I can definitely recommend the rosé. But Aria has an excellent wine list with plenty of choice – you’ll read more about this later in this review!
Or if you fancy starting your evening off with a cocktail, why not try the bar’s signature cocktail – ‘The Secret Garden’. This mixes mint and elderflower with in-house-infused cucumber vodka – a wonderful combination!
After a brief talk from Head Chef Justin Gabriel Brown, we moved through to the Secret Garden of the Aria restaurant
A Secret Garden in the Aria Restaurant
We sat in small tables of four, allowing us to experience the restaurant’s atmosphere at its best. I was delighted to be sharing my table with Jo Brain, Director of Sales & Marketing at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham, along with fellow Birmingham bloggers Vicky Osgood from Brumderland and George Elsmere from Caramel Latte Kiss.
The place setting featured a pretty hand-tied sprig of dried flowers, which I thought was a lovely little touch.
For my first course I had chosen a trio of scallops. These arrived sitting on a bed of cauliflower puree, with chorizo crumbs and crispy greens scattered over the top.
The scallops were sweet, plump and juicy, and cooked perfectly – seared on the outside and still tender within. The combination of flavours and textures on this plate is delicious, and I really enjoyed my starter.
Other options for the first course include a lobster bisque served with sourdough toast, asparagus with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce, and a chicken liver parfait which comes with toasted brioche.
As a table, we opted for a beautifully dry Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner to go with our starters. Not a well known grape in the UK, Grüner Veltliner is mainly grown in Austria, Czechia and Slovakia. It is similar in style to a Riesling, and an excellent choice!
A Main Course Packed with Flavour
Moving on to our main courses, and I had plumped for the Dingley Dell belly pork. It arrived with an accompaniment of dauphinoise potatoes, asparagus, dried apple pieces and roast cauliflower puree.
Each item on the plate is full of flavour, especially that beautiful piece of belly pork. It was rich, perfectly tender and beautifully unctuous.
Head Chef Justin explained that although the group makes some of the buying decisions, he does try to buy from suppliers with good provenance. So my delicious piece of belly pork came from Dingley Dell farm in Suffolk, where Mark and Paul Hayward raise their pigs with a deep love of the countryside and environment.
And I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of Vicky’s fillet steak. This is a mouthwatering piece of grass-fed Irish Angus beef, sitting on a potato rosti and served with baby vegetables. It looked amazing!
Vicky had ordered her steak rare and when she sliced into it, it was perfectly cooked. My only quibble was that the steak is topped with foie gras, and I’m not a fan. I would have to request it without foie gras, if I order this dish on a future visit.
Other options on the menu included a pearl barley ‘risotto’ with butternut squash and goat’s cheese, and a grilled seabream served with samphire, a tarragon and mustard veloute and potato fondant. You can also order additional sides, including garden greens, creamed potatoes and buttered new potatoes.
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Our table chose a mix of wines to go with this course. Some stuck to the delicious Austrian white, but I opted for a rich, jammy Melodias Malbec from Argentina. I’ve got a real taste for red wine at the moment, and this was a very good one!
So after all of this delicious food and wine, could we still squeeze in a little dessert?
A Tempting Array of Desserts
Of course we could!
Jo opted for this elderflower and strawberry sorbet, which was so pretty that I had to snap a photo.
As for the rest of us, we all ignored the sweet temptations like the chocolate mousse served with a mint sorbet and fresh raspberries. No, it was cheese all the way for us!
I love finishing my meal with a cheese board, and this was a really well put together selection which includes Cornish Yarg, a tangy goat’s cheese, and my personal favourite: Oxford Isis from the Oxford Cheese Company.
This is a soft cow’s milk cheese, suitable for vegetarians, which has been washed in honey mead, giving it a tangy rind. It’s rich, sticky and very more-ish.
The cheese was accompanied by grapes, chutney and crisp thin biscuits – not a soggy cream cracker in sight.
And although there was a very good bottle of Demi-Sec on the table, I opted to stick with the Malbec, which was going down very nicely!
Aria restaurant: The Verdict
My evening in Aria at Hyatt Regency Birmingham was a wonderful time. I enjoyed excellent food and drink, and equally good company.
This is definitely a restaurant that would be perfect for a special occasion, a romantic date night, or just an evening catching up with good friends. The atmosphere is relaxing, the decor beautiful and the service was top class as well.
Will I be returning to the Secret Garden? Most definitely!
Aria at Hyatt Regency Birmingham: The Details
Hyatt Regency Birmingham
Click here to visit the website
Tel: 0121 643 1234