To celebrate our 2nd Wedding Anniversary at the start of September, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a meal at one of our favourite places, Purnells. We’ve eaten here a few times now and have always come away feeling extraordinarily happy and satisfied. This occasion was probably the best yet. The restaurant manager Sonal is one of the best we’ve experienced and so thanks to him and his team, as well as the kitchen for making this anniversary truly one to remember.
The ‘Now’ tasting menu at Purnells is pretty long and I could wax lyrical about the intricacies of the courses for a long time, but in case of boring you all a little too much, I’ll settle for all the pictures and less words.
Some obligatory champagne to start (on this occasion this was a little surprise treat from Lee’s boss, thanks Will!)
Lime Spiced Potatoes – tacos – duck egg mayonnaise. A top start – these were melt in your mouth and such delicate flavours against the rich mayo.
Poached Egg Yolk – Leek Pureé – Alsace bacon – Brummie Cake. Not my favourite course – but the brummie cake was immense.
A ‘4 in 1’ course of delicate veg; BBQ sweetcorn glazed with birch syrup, ‘Beef’ Tomato, Beetroot Lollipops & Carrots in Cumin and Passion Fruit. Sweetcorn, and the oxtail stuffed tomatoes the stand outs of these for me. Lovely presentation all round.
Next a duo of shellfish dishes; First up a Cornish Crab Salad with brown bread – Crab Bisque – Sumac and then Roasted Scallop – Almond Satay – Ponzu. These were the prettiest and the the most outstanding dishes for me. I couldn’t get enough of the flavours of the almond satay and that ponzu dressing especially – it had that ‘special’ something.
After this, something I couldn’t photograph – an ingenious take on a remoulade; salt baked celeriac cube, a little sphere that tasted entirely of mustard, and an apple and celery shot. Sounds odd, tastes of perfection. We were also then treated to a little extra course – I can’t remember entirely what it was but essentially there were little clouds of potato, with some purées and lots of shaved truffle – it was amazing!
The fish course was Roast Turbot – Broad Bean – Yoghurt – Cumin – Quinoa. Flavour wise I don’t think this quite lived up to some of the others, it was a lot more subtle, although the textures of the cumin and quinoa were superb and the fish was perfect.
Tail Fillet of Beef rolled in liquorice charcoal – peas – spicy tamarind jam was up next. I’m a huge fan of tamarind and this was another dish perfectly executed and bold but balanced flavours. The tamarind jam was superb. Glynn – please please can you bottle and sell this?!
Next a crossover; Waffles – Fois Gras Butter-Crispy Chicken Skin – Maple syrup. Yes please. What a delicious little morsel.
The first of 3 (yes 3!) puds was this Blackberry Crumble – toasted seeds. Amazingly light and the seed crumble was perfect.
The Burnt English Custard Egg Surprise is famous from Glynns’ Great British Menu days with a few tweaks here and there- and is as good now as the other times we’ve had it.
Last up (or so we thought) the ‘Mint Choccy Chip’, a theatrical masterpiece of Heston proportions with liquid nitrogen, dried mint and a warm chocolate, aerated chocolate and mint ice-cream extravaganza.
Just when we thought it was all over, and were knocking back the last of the gift of some dessert wine from Sonal, yet another piece of art arrived at the table – more chocolate goodness, this time with cherry, that left us pretty much in a food coma.
This meal certainly reminded us that Birmingham competes with best of the best in the Michelin and fine dining market, and Purnells is helping lead the way.
Disclosure: We paid in full for our meal. Purnells were nice enough to throw in a couple of extra bits and pieces because of our anniversary and the fact they’re really nice guys. All opinions are our own, as usual and as far as I am aware, they did not know I would be writing about the experience.