Monday, 21 November 2016
Metro Bar, in the Colmore area of Birmingham, was somewhere I'd never thought to visit. I believe it was popular with people working in the area but had its heyday a few years ago.
When it was taken over by the Brandasia Group, they decided to stick to what they know in the day (think business lunches of risotto, steak sandwiches etc) but then transform into Zen Metro in the evening, serving up Thai food and cocktails to their usual clientele but also grabbing some new customers.
I wasn't able to attend the launch party as I'd developed a weird summer cold. I finally made it down on a Tuesday evening with fellow bloggers Ting and Laura.
I liked the subtle decoration; sometimes Thai restaurants can go overboard. A curved walkway led us from the bar to the restaurant where the focal point was a large tree in the middle. This sort of thing is fashionable at the moment and I do like it.
We sat in a large comfortable booth and perused the menu. The waitress gave us some Thai wine to try but I decided to go with cocktails.
My first drink was a Lemongrass and Basil martini (£6.75). I'm always wary when something is called a martini just because it's in a martini glass but I get their point- it's short and strong. I like when restaurants have a little nod to their cuisine in their cocktails but I found the lemongrass a little overpowering here.
For my starter I chose a dish I'd seen on Alev's instagram- Chargrilled jumbo prawns in a garlic and ginger dressing (£8.95). The prawns were great quality, cooked and presented really well. The shell was still on, which pleases me, but they had been carefully butterflied for neat eating. I loved the crispy fried noodles too. What I enjoyed less was the sweetness of the sauce- I would have preferred more of a chilli heat. There was sauce in the pot and on the prawns- perhaps just put it in the pot and then people can choose what they have.
Others around the table chose tempura prawns, which looked great, and spring rolls. While I like a spring roll, I don't tend to choose them as there's often other things I want more.
Starters were all around £5-£9 and there are sharer options too.
I'd heard great things about the Thai curries at Zen Metro but it just wasn't what I fancied. Looking back at the menu, I think what I really wanted was deep fried, spicy chicken (£13.95) but at the same time I was craving something light and fresh with plenty of vegetables. So I chose steamed sea bass fillet, mildly flavoured with soy, ginger and Thai herbs. (£14.95)
I loved how fresh and vibrant this plate of food was. The vegetables were much appreciated. Again, though, I found the sauce rather too sweet and I was searching the plate for more chillis to counteract this!
I am wondering if I should have gone for a Thai curry like the others did as they really enjoyed their food.
The yellow prawn curry and lamb massaman both look wonderful.
I certainly cannot fault the cooking, produce and presentation of the dishes, I just found my choices a little on the sweet side- great for those of you who have a sweet tooth.
The egg fried rice I ordered was lovely and definitely plenty for two.
For my second drink I chose a Jungle Bird (£6.95) made with dark rum, campari and lime and pineapple juices. I found this fruity and refreshing and not too sweet at all thanks to the campari.
I will definitely return to Zen Metro. There's lots of great things happening there, though it didn't quite hit the spot for me on the night. I'll be trying the wok fried chicken and a curry for sure!
They're on deliveroo too, so I'll definitely be giving that a go.
Zen Metro, Cornwall Street
Photos by Helen.
Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes.