We visit the Mailbox Birmingham restaurant with amazing Mexican dishes and super posh loos

Did the super posh loos outshine the fine dining Mexican food?

Glittering with the gold, The Mayan made a dramatic impression as we entered the big black doors on the first floor of Birmingham’s renowned canalside destination, Mailbox.

This is where the ancient influences of the historic civilisation are promised to intertwine with modern Mexican cuisine for an enchanting culinary experience.

We visited early on a Saturday evening - not the most popular time for eating - yet the venue was still buzzing with diners.

As we were a tad early for our 5pm booking we decided to check out the much lauded cocktail menu - specialising in Tequila and Mezcal tipples.

With names like Moon Goddess, God of Sun, Pyramid of Heaven and Divine Creation it was a bit like picking a horse on the Grand National when it came to selecting one.

My friend isn’t a fan of tequila, so the team made her a French 75 especially. After much deliberation I plumped for God of Sun (£14) - it looked like a nice long tall drink and shimmered alluringly on the menu page.

I wasn’t disappointed with it in real life either, when our friendly bar man placed it in front of me at the beautiful bar with intriguing symbolism glistening amid the bottles of booze.

It was a long cool drink which, I am pleased to report, was not washed out with ice. The pink grapefruit soda provided a refreshing zing, enhanced by pretty powdered sundried tomato sprinkled down the side of the glass, while the tequila and mezcal blended to add zest and glowing depth to the drink. 

For dinner we were seated at the window, overlooking the canals and the busy walkways with people visiting the various bars and restaurants at Mailbox and The Cube.

It was an impressive menu - but don’t expect to find the usual nachos, enchiladas and burritos so often the trademark dishes at Mexican eateries. Although fajitas made an appearance, along with tacos.

Premium cuts of beef from the grill were featured alongside ceviche and other traditional Mexican recipes including carnitas de puerco and pollo con mole.

To start we selected totopos con salsa (£7.50). A dish of perfectly cooked fresh and crunchy corn tortilla chips served with three delectable dips.

The salsa rojo was smooth and tangy with a chilli bite back, the chimichurri was lusciously fresh and green with a chunky texture while the crema chipotle was a spicy hit from the start.

For mains, we almost plumped for the Ceviche fish dishes served with tiger’s milk - but changed our minds after our waitress helpfully explained that the salmon and seabass were served raw.

Instead with both opted for Lubina y Gambas (£35) and were each presented with a generous portion of pan seared seabass - meaty and juicy with a tantalisingly crispy coating - upon a bed of the spiciest chickpeas covered in tamarind sauce, soft to bite into with a warm hit to keep our concentration focused on our plates. The dish also came with Atlantic prawns - there were just two of them - although they were pretty big and hearty and tender to taste.

While the food and cocktails were priced more at the top end for a mid-range restaurant there were multiple bottles of wine at around the more affordable £24 mark. We washed our food down with a pleasant Poco Mas Chardonnay Reserva from Chile - a fresh and fruity accompaniment to our spicy feast.

And now it’s time to talk about those super posh loos. The Mayan are mighty proud of their toilets - we were advised that they had invested well in them before visiting.

We weren’t disappointed. Just as the restaurant and bar area glisten with gold, so do the lavs. Stunning pale gold cubicles accompany shiny metallic gold basins with tasteful marbling - even the soap and hand cream blended into the sparkling experience.

It was beautiful to see - well as beautiful as a bathroom can be that is. However, I’d say the food and drinks were ultimately more enjoyable.

If you love spice and fancy a trip into a golden land of wonder, then pop along to The Mayan for a tasty treat with a lively vibe.

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