Birmingham-born Glyn Purnell’s mission was to make his home city a premier-league foodie destination – and from where we’re sitting, it looks like he’s succeeded. As a star of the Brummie scene and a “special-occasion venue with incredible cooking and top-class service”, his flagship restaurant knows exactly how to satisfy its customers. Despite some precious dish descriptions, audacious tasting menus are the way to go. The version entitled ‘now’ could feature roast Brixham turbot with broad bean vinaigrette, yoghurt, toasted cumin and quinoa, while the ‘reminisce’ option takes diners down memory lane with conceits such as ‘emotions of cheese and pineapple’ on sticks or roast coquelet with chicken toast, pea custard and caramelised onion. Well-spaced tables and smart, neutral decor suit the business crowd as well as courting couples, while polished staff are marshalled by maître d’ Jean-Benoit Burloux, who combines matinée idol looks with unflappable charm and inestimable knowledge of the food and wine list.
WINE LIST: The wine list at Purnell’s is a real crowd-pleaser, featuring some top European names, as well as a smattering of New World stars. Traditionalists will be delighted with the strong line-up of Bordeaux and Burgundy, while those seeking more leftfield choices will find happiness in some intriguing selections from Washington and Switzerland. And a big thumbs-up for the digestif list, too, which features a range of saké, eau-de-vie and grappa. BEST BUY WHITE 2010 Dr Loosen, Riesling Kabinett, Bernkasteler Lay, Mosel, Germany, £39.95. BEST BUY RED 2007 Bodega Norton, Privada, Mendoza, Argentina, £36.95.