On Tuesday it was Stuart’s birthday and as a special treat, we were lucky enough to be invited to visit the new Aalto Restaurant in Hotel La Tour, Birmingham. We arrived a few minutes before our scheduled reservation time and we were warmly greeted by the staff and were taken up to the second floor to the modern and very spacious restaurant and bar. We sat in the bar and had a drink before our dinner. We perused the wine list (on an ipad!) and settled down and enjoyed the atmosphere. By chance, we saw James of Eat The Midlands while we were there and had a catch up with him before taking our seats in the restaurant.
Once taken into the restaurant, we were impressed by the chef’s table with views into Head Chef Alex Penhaligon’s kitchen and excitedly awaited the menu which has been inspired by advisor and Michelin starred chef, Marcus Wareing. To start, we decided on Charred sourdough, olive oil, roasted garlic, followed by Leek and Potato Soup and Shrimp ‘cocktail’, Marie Rose, baby gem, brown bread. The bread and garlic was absolutely amazing. I could of eaten it all night. The garlic and olive oil was full on flavour but not overpowering. My soup was one of the lightest leek and potato soups I have ever tasted however it was let down slightly by the chunks of only just cooked through potato in it. I know they are there to give a textual difference to the soup but I thought they were not needed as the soup was amazing on its own. To clear our palette in time for the main course, we were treated to The 1889, a in house invented cocktail made with Bombay Sapphire, apple, elderflower, ginger, and lime. It was very refreshing and zingy on the tongue.
For mains, I had Great Garnetts Farm pork belly slow baked, apple sauce, kale and Stuart had Hereford beef rib eye steak, red wine sauce, horseradish, chips. My pork belly was fantastic. Very well cooked and it was complimented beautifully by the apple sauce which was the sweetest and the most intense apple sauce I have ever tasted. I could of eaten bucket loads of it. Stuart’s steak was perfectly cooked to medium and was very tender. The horseradish was sharp and was the perfect choice for dipping the chips into.
In between our mains and my pudding, we were treated to a glass of a dessert wine and the name of it now escapes me as we were having a very good time by this point! For pudding, I had Jaffa cake pudding, warm chocolate, orange cake crumb, cream. I was very impressed by the pudding and thought the flavours were amazing. It was the freshest and most yummiest jaffa cake I have ever had. One of small let down with the pudding was that it was served with cream. I think it would be better if it was served with ice cream as it is a very heavy pudding with everything combined and I think ice cream would cut through this a little bit.
We finished the night with a well needed latte and headed home with very full bellies and a big smile on our faces. Overall, we were very impressed with the Aalto Restaurant and would happily eat there again. I have only one request: Can we stay the night next time and get to sample the breakfast too!
Many thanks to Sue and the team for a fantastic evening. We were invited for complimentary meal that was well timed with Stuart’s birthday however all opinions and views on the experience are my own.