Purnell's is situated in a Victorian redbrick and terracotta building, a short walk away from Colmore Row and Cathedral Square. The restaurant is tastefully decorated, cream leather chairs and gorgeous snapshots of Birmingham city centre adorn the walls; the AA describes Purnell's as a “chic and contemporary yet intimate fine-dining restaurant located in one of Birmingham city centre’s finest conservation areas.”
All of us ordered the 7-course tasting menu for the full gastronomic experience. Hubby and The Unc took it a step further and ordered the wine degustation. Different wines and spirits are paired with each course, so altogether 7 glasses of different wines! Warm bread and butter served while we await with hungry stomachs.
There is usually a story behind every dish at Purnell's. This dish was inspired by his mum who would poach haddock in milk "until it almost fell apart" and then, in the fishy pan of boiled milk, poach an egg, which naturally ended up tasting mainly of haddock. Cornflakes was something he used to have handy in his pocket to snack on around the house.
Third course - Salad of Cornish Crab, apple, celeriac, smoked paprika honeycomb and seaweed. The presentation was exquisite and the combinations work beautifully together to create a lovely dish.
Fifth course - Wild venison rolled in liquorice charcoal, served with tamarind and liquorice purées, two textures of black rice, green beans, roquet and salsify. For me, this dish looks too dark on the plate and could have used a little colour. The venison was nicely cooked but I am not a huge fan of liquorice. The textures however worked wonderfully together. Hubby declared this the best dish of the night for him.
Sixth course - Blackberry parfait, bay leaf custard, apple sorbet with crumbled pine nuts and caramelised apple. Sweet and delicious.
Last course- I can't believe we are at our last and final course already. We are served Warm dark chocolate mousse with mango leather, black olive and passion fruit rice pudding topped with a mango sorbet. The mango leather is inspired by the chewy strawberry lances. The mango sorbet was refreshing and I love the rich dark chocolate mousse. The better dessert of the two.
Recently I read that Purnell's Restaurant in Birmingham has won the prestigious AA Restaurant of the Year for England. This award recognises restaurants that “provide cuisine of a truly excellent standard, as well as demonstrating innovation and ambience, and providing a high standard of service and hospitality.” Earlier in January 2009, Glynn Purnell also won a Michelin star. This came as no surprise to me -after our memorable dinner here, I told my Hubby and The Unc that this chef was one to watch and I predicted that he would achieve a Michelin star in 1 year!
Someday, I would love to return to Purnell's and try his signature Burnt English custard which won him top dessert in The Great British Menu Series 3.
Service: Very good!
Price: £65.00 for the tasting menu plus £40.00 for the wine degustation. Lunch menu - 2 course (£21.00) & 3 course (£25.00).
Food: Great food presentation! His innovative style of cooking is a wonderful surprise for diners. Modern British cooking! 1 Michelin star restaurant.
Location: Purnell's, 55 Cornwall Street, Birmingham B3 2DH.