Aria at The Hyatt Regency: Less Hotel, More Restaurant

Now, I’m not normally one for a corporate, hotel-type environment (power-suits can be off-putting when I’m trying to relax into eating). So, when my lovely friend Laura, aka Bite Your Brum, invited me to try the menu at Aria in the Hyatt Regency, I was unsure about what to expect. I wasn’t worried about the food quality or service; I was pretty sure they’d have this down. However, I was concerned that the vibe wouldn’t be very “me”, or vice-versa, ya know? Long story short, I needn’t have worried; Aria has a secret garden thing going on (think real trees and fairy lights – yay), and manages to tuck itself into the hotel lobby beautifully.

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With a large glass ceiling, the atrium area of the hotel gave me Victorian, orangery feels. I liked it very much. Both Laura and I decided it would be a lovely venue to treat your mom, or have a romantic meal (together, obviously). There are zero briefcase, power-talking, fax machine (I’m picturing the 80s guys) types within this restaurant, well there might be, but, they’ve clocked-off for the week. I was impressed at how I soon forgot that I was in a large hotel on Bridge Street. There is a small bar area to enjoy a pre-lunch or dinner drink in too; they’ve really ensured that your whole experience is focused on Aria, as opposed to the rest of the hotel. Right, on with the food…

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Chargrilled asparagus, poached egg, hollandaise sauce, black truffle £10.50

If you’re after simple, clean, and classic flavours; the starter of asparagus is for you. Every element was executed to perfection (phew). The yolk was just runny, so there was no under-cooked egg white, but there was still plenty of rich yolk to cover the charred asparagus. Yummm, charred things. The hollandaise was light, and well, the black truffle tied the whole dish together both with texture and flavour. It also made me feel fancier than I am, and, what more can you ask of a dish?

I also loved the sound of the pan-seared scallops, even though they came with a non-pescatarian sprinkling of chorizo crumb. But, I’d have felt comfortable enough to ask for them without the chorizo, as the staff were friendly and super accommodating. We were also lucky enough to meet the chef, and he just wants you to enjoy eating the food as much as he does making it, so I doubt it would be a problem.

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Grilled sea bream, mustard and tarragon veloute, asparagus and samphire with fondant potato £23.50

God the sea bream was good. Look at that crispy, salty skin. I can confirm that fish underneath was cooked to perfection; the perfect combination of textures that you’d want from grilled fish. I am always a little nervous about fondant potatoes, as I eaten some right hockey pucks in my time. But this was a potatoey (yes, I know that’s not a word) cloud, hugged by a crispy coat; it was damn dreamy, that’s what it was.

The veloute didn’t overpower anything, it just gave the dish plenty of depth and layers of flavour. And the green veg were the ideal addition to the plate, giving it freshness and another texture. I’d happily pay to inhale it all again, and I highly recommend this dish from the mains menu, especially if you’re a fan of fish.

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Chocolate Mousse, chocolate ganache, dark chocolate curl, chocolate crumbs, mint sorbet, fresh raspberries £8.50

I mean, when a dish has chocolate in the description four times, what am I meant to do? In short, this dessert was incredible. However, I like to describe stuff and skip around in my happy memories regarding food.

So, imagine that chocolate mousse is the loud, shouty one on the plate; its rich and packs a powerful, cocoa-punch. Then you’ve got that little, shy mint sorbet tucked under the protective, dark chocolate curl, and it’s saying; just chill out a bit mate, to the loud, rich guy who’s been shouting in your mouth. Then you’ve got those sassy raspberries, who you might think have just gatecrashed the party, to be sharp; but, they need to be there to help the mint sorbet cut through the loud, rich one again. And, those chocolate crumbs, they’re there to add some laidback, chocolate vibes to the plate, along with another texture. Basically, order this dessert, and thank me later.

What a dreamy lunch; I was stuffed. A huge thank you to Laura for my invite, and the team at The Hyatt for being so lovely.

Peace, love, and chocolate forever, Fay x

*All food was complementary, and I was not expected to write a review. However, I wanted to recommend somewhere you might not have thought of for your next meal in the city, because the food was so good.

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