Prepare yourself for the unexpected, as a little bit of Siam magic comes to Brindleyplace. The owners of Aluna cocktail bar have taken over the much loved Thai Edge and transformed it into a den of the Bangkok underbelly.
The name Siamais (pronounced Siam-aze) is a clever play on words incorporating twins (Siamese), and Siam (the old name for Thailand) to reflect its dual offerings of drink and food. The look is very ‘seedy Bangkok’ mixed with the mysticism of the Far East and it’s all going to be brought to life with a little bit of Siamais magic.
There is lots of fascinating attention to detail, include birdcages containing skulls hanging from the ceiling and glass jars on the windows and bar, including one with a tiny skeleton.
The venue replaces Thai Edge, which closed after 17 years of strong trading after owners Harish and Nancy Nathwani decided to retire. Sold to the team at Aluna cocktail bar, now the new Siamais has a large bar area packed with quirky touches, a separate dining area decorated with sleek sofas and giant wall murals as well as an outdoor terrace onto Oozells Square.
The mixology experts from Aluna have upped the level of wizardry and created a 60 strong list of cocktails to include cocktails in bamboo glasses and smoking drinks served in teapots. The food will reflect the mystery of Old Siam, against a captivating backdrop. There’s no doubt you’re going to be amazed by Siamais
Siamais will include a “secret drinks menu” that only those in the know will be aware about. You will have to ask to see it – a range of four drinks per month will be created specially.
The skulls on display are a nod to famous Siamese twins from the 17th Century. Operations director Yen-Tin Mui says: “The twin brothers, Chang and Eng were exhibited around the world as an oddity in the 17th century, so we looked into curiosities, oddities and bizarre artefacts like the skulls in bird cage and glass jars in the window to mirror that.
“Our concept is based on the two personalities of the twins, which is reflected in the interior. The bar is the curiosity shop with the oddities and the restaurant is more slick and stylish.”
Head barman Connor McCormack, from Aluna, has an array of liquid treats to delight cocktail lovers. Cocktail pouring becomes a Gothic work of art thanks to specialist techniques such as infusing drinks with smoke from specially dried maple wood chips or applying food-grade dry ice.
“Our theme is all about the old versus the new,” he says. “We even do ‘bitter blockers’, so if you have one of these half way through a drink, it will completely change the flavour of it by blocking out the bitterness.”
Nitin Solanki, the General Manager of Aluna, who is overseeing the launch, said “When you have a drink made here, the staff will describe everything,” he says. “It’s all about the love you put into what you are doing. We want our customers to feel loved.”
The drinks menu alone runs to 40 pages in a leather-bound book. A new range of cocktails have been created for the Book of Siam chapter and subtle twists introduced to classic favourites. Newcomers include: Siam (£8): twist on a vodka Martini with chocolate and floral notes; 1941 (£8): lychee and elderflower liquor shaken and served over crushed ice and the Thai Mary (£8): a spicy tomato and vodka thrown cocktail with spicy Wasabi.
To really push the boat out, try Bang Pai Falls (£18.50): over proof rum with cherry and vanilla notes and cranberry juice. ‘Named after the clear blue waterfall, you’ll see why! For two… or one if you’re feeling brave’.
General opening hours will be from noon to 11pm, closing at 1am on Friday and Saturday. www.siamais.co.uk