Self-proclaimed ‘chic’ Purnell’s is one of Birmingham’s most well thought of restaurants. It’s headed up by chef Glynn Purnell, whose CV boasts time working with big-time names like Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes, and Claude Bosi. You might recognise him, in fact, from his time on the Great British Menu – a competition that he won twice and then later returned to as a mentor.
His flagship solo venture, Purnell’s opened in 2007 and has somehow managed to maintain its allure over more than a decade. It’s firmly in the fine-dining camp, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuffy. The overall ethos of Purnell’s is innovation, a theme that Glynn weaves throughout his menus. While there is a tasting menu, there are also quick lunch and traditional a la carte billings too. This freedom allows diners to enjoy the team’s cookery in a style that suits them.
At one end the tasting menu is set around the £100 mark, while the lunch menu gives guests a much more affordable in, offering three courses for £55. As is customary with many of the UK’s best restaurants, the dishes change regularly at Purnell’s, but starters might include fish du jour with kohlrabi, mussels and parsley or butter roasted cauliflower with capers, raisins, and sesame. Come mains, think chicken with asparagus, morels, wild garlic and potatoes or beetroot cured salmon with salted beets and horseradish cream. Both sweets and cheese plates are on offer too, with cheeses chosen from select artisan farms and desserts made by the in-house pastry team.
The restaurant itself is found within a handsome redbrick corner building with large windows which flood the space with light. The main dining room can seat up to 45 guests while the private dining room is available for parties of up to 12 diners. For those looking for larger numbers, entire hire of the restaurant is an option.