When I visit a new city, I love going to bars and restaurants which aren’t in my hometown. Whilst in Birmingham recently, Phil and I went to Aluna which is located in the Mailbox.
I’d never heard of Aluna before visiting but I couldn’t wait to find out what it was about. Since there are only two Aluna bars in the UK (Birmingham and Bristol), we felt like we were in for a real treat.
And what a treat it was. First of all, the interior was spectacular. With a luxurious colour scheme complete with dramatic lighting and extravagant décor, it had a magical feel about it.
I couldn’t stop looking at the details. I’ve been in plenty of quirky bars before but none of them have been as eccentric and eclectic as Aluna. What a fun and unique venue!
As for the menus, let’s start with the drinks. I’ve ordered ‘crazy’ cocktails before (I’ve drunk through an incense stick before thinking it was a straw!) but I’ve never seen anything quite like the drinks at Aluna.
They specialise in drinks which are designed to push the boundaries of cocktail making. Expect unusual cocktails with a dose of theatre and a feast all your senses.
Admittedly, I’m not a big drinker but I sampled a few cocktails before Phil finished them for me.
To begin, I chose the Lava Lamp, an orange and red potion which literally bubbled like a lava lamp on arrival! The photo above doesn’t do it justice but if you were lucky, you might have caught it in action if you follow me on Snapchat!
For his first drink, Phil chose the Bush Fire which was Old J shaken with sloe gin, raspberries, rosemary and torched with a spray of Old J tiki fire. Again, the photo doesn’t do it justice but it was very cool to watch live!
Next, I had the Aluna Secret Concoction which was baby pink in colour and ignited, exploded and smoked. Following the Lava Lamp, I wanted another dramatic drink and I certainly got one.
Then, Phil went for a cocktail in a skull shaped glass which I can’t remember the name of but it was enough to keep him quiet for a bit – it was HUGE! Perhaps a bit much for a casual lunch?!
Now, for the food a.k.a. my favourite part! For a starter, I decided on the Soft Shell Crab, which is self-explanatory. The crab was halved and covered in flour before being stir-fried with salt and chillies. Delicious! My only complaint was that I should have chosen two crabs instead of one!
Phil had the Satay Chicken, which was marinated with herbs and aromatic spices and served with peanut dipping sauce. The peanut sauce was so good, I couldn’t help but have a dip myself!
Afterwards, I opted for the Lemon Sole Basket which was right up my street. Fresh lemon sole fillets delicately seasoned and served with dried seaweed. It was really tasty but in hindsight, I should have ordered some sides dishes for a bit of variety.
Meanwhile, Phil had the chicken Massaman Curry. It was a coconut curry with potatoes, peanuts and onions in homemade massaman paste. Of course, I had a taste and it was great – rich, filling and not too spicy.
To finish off, I had the egg custard tart with lavender shortbread while Phil had a panna cotta with a cheeky liquor twist.
In conclusion, Aluna is a concept unlike any other. It’s daring, adventurous and far from mainstream. The décor is magical, the service is second to none and the cocktails are works of art. A truly exceptional experience, which I’d highly recommend if you’re in the city.
Our visit was complimentary but as ever, my opinions remain honest and unbiased.