Eating Out West Midlands

Review: The Purnells Tour, Birmingham

25th April 2013

Looking back through some old photos from before I started this blog I found some from our first meal at Purnells Restaurant in Birmingham run by Glynn Purnell as well as quite a few from some other Michelin starred meals we have had including Maze, Benares and The Berkley.  Helpfully to remember the dishes I had put some captions on the ones from Purnell’s, but not any of the others. I think the lesson I have learned from this is to take a snap of the menu as well so I can remember them in years to come!

I think although having been to quite a few restaurants with Michelin stars over the years since our first experience (Fischers at Baslow Hall in 2004), Purnells was the first time we had a full tasting menu and this really set the benchmark by which we began to compare to from then on.

Because of this I thought I would put on a couple of retrospective posts about the best meals we have had before thinking to keep this blog. See this post and the following one on La Becasse. This meal at Purnells was in November 2010

Purnells, Birmingham.

The first course of ‘The Purnells Tour’ was called ’emotions of cheese and pineapple on sticks’ intended I presume to evoke the retro flavour from all those children’s parties of cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks fanning out of a foil covered spherical object! As nice as these were way back when, Glynn’s version definitely surpassed the original.


Emotions of Cheese and Pineapple

When I was young I think my parents would have classed me as a relatively ‘picky’ child when it came to food. Over the past 10 years this has changed to virtually the complete opposite of this. Crab is certainly one example of food that has gone from utter hate to ultimate delight, and this is one of the best crab dishes I have had, with apple, celeriac, honeycomb and paprika.

Following this, another success,  venison carpaccio with sweet and sour parsnips.


Carpaccio of Vension, bresola, corned beef, sweet and sour parsnips textures


salad of Devonshire carb with apple, celeriac and smoked paprika honeycombe

One of the dishes which first made it’s appearance on Great British Menu was up next. Masala monkfish, incorporating the Birmingham Indian influence and flavours resulting in a fantastic very moreish plate of food.


Monkfish Masala, indian lentils, coconut coriander and pickled carrots

The final savoury course again used intriguing different flavours including liquorice charcoal dusted on the perfectly cooked duck and a twist on the classic orange flavour by using it as a glaze on the squash.


breast of duck rolled in liqourice charcoal, butternut squash terrine and orange glazed squash

Finally the two desert dishes – firstly the now infamous burnt custard served in an egg shell, followed by a slightly disappointing chocolate dish, apart from the fresh and light mango sorbet.


burnt english custard egg surprise with autumn friuts


chocolate with mango and rosewater sorbet and mango leather

In summary a great mix of new and sometimes daring flavour combinations alongside more classical flavours. Long overdue a return visit now.

Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own

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