September is the start of autumn and the menu has changed at Purnells. We found ourselves free of children so took ourselves to try the new autumn menu and celebrate Mr. Reds birthday at Birminghams best restaurant.
This restaurant is so worth visiting if you have never been. The reception is large and cosy with ample and comfortable seating for enjoying a drink before and after your meal. The restaurant itself is much smaller than one would imagine but with enough space around each table that you do not feel cramped or overlooked by other diners. The kitchen has a window so you can see into the heart of this place if you are seated in the right corner, but if you’re not dont worry, you can also get a glimpse into the kitchen via a glass door should you visit the toilets. Decorated in contemporary browns with purple accents and an industrial feeling ceiling with exposed metal girders, black tables with no table cloths and huge windows this intimate and romantic room lends itself perfectly to any special occasion.
The staff are beyond attentive and guarantee to make you feel special without ever intimidating or making you feel you are not worthy of such a wonderful place. The restaurant was busy which is testimony to what a great place it is, it was after all only Tuesday.
We opted for the 6 course autumn menu which had only been launched less than a week prior to our meal. We started with Taste of Cheese and Pineapple. A delicious fondue style melted cheese base speckled with pineapple served in a rustic bowl and accompanied by the best bread I have ever had.
We then had the poached duck egg yolk with cauliflower, black pudding, bacon and birch syrup. The egg is presented in a nest of hay, the top of the shell removed with the same skill I’d expect from a surgeon and the poached yolk is bejeweled with the tiniest flecks of black pudding and bacon. Served with a bread straw, perfect for dipping into the yummy runny yolk.
A creamy smooth chicken liver parfait followed, again another sublime course, the fish course was Cornish red mullet and truffle dauphine with a sauce boardelais. As it is 6 courses the portion sizes look small but I was beginning to struggle and in a state of panic that I wouldn’t be able to experience everything on tonight’s menu, but never fear, the staff said lots of patrons feel they will not manage and suggested a ten minute breather. So Red & Gold took 5 minutes to walk outside and have a stretch of our legs, a cigarette and to look at the outside of this pretty red brick building now it was dark and the lights inside made it look even cosier. In those five minutes Glynn Purnell walked through the restaurant and we missed saying hello to Brums finest chef. But birthday boy enjoyed feeling smug when he told us what we missed. Damn you my inadequate stomach!
The meat dish was Slow cooked neck of lamb and it was amazing. So beautifully and mouth meltingly tender it did not need a knife and fork, a spoon would cut through this yeildingly soft and tasty meat.
Served on a bed of puy lentils this has to be the finest lamb I have ever had served to me. Then a very pretty tart provencal which had a corgette topping. This was art. I was eating artwork. Somebody had spent some serious time arranging the vegetables on top of our tarts and we had devoured them in a matter of minutes. But did I feel bad? well a little bit, but only because I was full. I was regretting being too greedy with our bread, but it really is the nicest soft bread.
Dessert was a perfect Golden lemon meringue pie with blackberries.
The meringue had a sheen of gold, the blackberries added a touch of tartness, the thin and crisp pastry was the best I have ever had, even better than the pastries I had in France and they were amazing. We all delighted in this wonderfully lemony Red and Gold treasure. How apt that I was wearing a gold dress, Gold was wearing a red dress and the final course of the best meal in Birmingham ends with a red and gold delight.
But the night was not over, coffee ordered we relaxed in the reception bar and I had a chance to finish my wine, we had ordered a very agreeable Rioja reserve which at £40 a bottle certainly didn’t break the bank. Petite fours served with the coffee, I really couldn’t eat another thing but Gold insisted I had to try at least two of the three.
The 6 course menu is a bargain at £68 per person, our wine and 12% service charge meant our bill still came in at less than £100 a head and for such an amazing experience it really is well worth every penny.
Menu swaps are available on the egg and the fish course. Glynn Purnell took a minute out of what must be a busy evening to sign a menu and we all left happy and full.
Birmingham has more Michelin stars than any UK city outside of london, it’s a fantastic foodie city so please don’t disregard Birmingham if you have not yet visited. It’s a lovely place and we are very friendly.