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“purnell's” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Purnell's

Purnell's
Ranked #3 of 2,185 Restaurants in Birmingham
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: European, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine, Romantic, Groups
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Neighbourhood: Ladywood
Abberley, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“purnell's”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 December 2013

Had the the tasting menu on Tuesday lunchtime. Loved all the courses. Only one I couldn't have and they adjusted all the other courses for me as I'm dairy and gluten free. The gluten free bread with dipping oil and salt were the best bread I'd tasted. Partner had the wine tasting with each course and enjoyed them too. The wine tasted better with the food than without he said. The service was very good. Attentive without hovering. Service was busy but you didn't feel unattended. 4 hours for 12 tasting courses so not rushed through. Given printout of courses and wines to take home too, nice touch. Need to try the lunch menu next time as well worth more visits. Thank you purnell' s for a great afternoon.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Fiona M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Now: That's What I Call a Meal”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 December 2013

Since Clare and I got married just over five years ago (at the time of writing), we've made it something of a tradition to go for lunch at Purnell's in Birmingham on the Friday of the week of our anniversary. Due to a scheduling clash this year though, we took the opportunity to make a weekend of it in the second city and enjoy an evening meal there instead. And enjoy it we certainly did.

After a pleasant day of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, gluhwein from the lovely German market and an afternoon nap, we made our way to the Jewellery Quarter where Purnell's is located. Following a helping of tasty olives and a fine glass of rum and gin, we took our seats for the meal.

Head chef and owner Glynn Purnell had (again, at the time of writing) recently launched a new menu, meaning diners were given a choice of two tasting menus: the six-course 'Reminisce' - which includes some of Glynn's classic recipes that had done so well on the Great British Menu, and 'Now' - which boasts twelve courses of more seasonal and contemporary dishes. As we've been lucky enough to have sampled some of the more tried and trusted dishes before we plumped for 'Now.'

There was no amuse bouche this time - boo, but with twelve courses it probably wasn't necessary. Anyway, the opening salvo was a delightfully gooey mix of cep Hollandaise with a runny egg yolk, accompanied by a crisp (yes, just one) and some freeze-dried Savoy cabbage to add texture and flavour. Following this was the unhelpfully named 'Autumn Salad,' which turned out to be an escabeche of beetroot, pickled red cabbage and a lilac-hued globule of cabbage purée. Both opening dishes were good, though the escabeche could have been a little more sour. The cabbage elements were delicious however, as was the creamy cep sauce in dish one.

Up next were two circlets of curry-cured salmon, sharing a plate with a strewing of wasabi crumble and some blobs of cucumber ketchup. The latter was cool, refreshing and surprisingly flavoursome while the salmon was soft and subtly seasoned. The wasabi crumble added a pleasing crunch and just a hint of heat from the Japanese horseradish. Dish four was one of my favourites of the evening; a ragout of pigs head (not as gruesome as it sounds), with crispy pork puffs, onions and a sprinkling of rocket leaves. The pork puffs were fantastic, think of pig flavoured popcorn, and the onions were sweet and crunchy. As for the ragout - tremendous. A warm, rich, hearty stew of slow-braised pork cheeks. It was very rich and salty - slightly too much so for Clare's liking but perfect for a sodium chloride fiend like myself.

The porky pleasantries didn't stay top of the tree for long as the next course was even better. A duo of sweet helpings of Cornish lobster were served up with strands of fennel, a shiny disc of Chorizo mayonnaise and a dusting of paprika honeycomb. This was clever and tasty stuff to be sure. Succulent lobster was beautifully matched with an aniseed tang of the fennel and the sweetness of the honeycomb. The mayonnaise too was excellent, creamy and warming without overpowering the seafood.

The halfway point of this gastronomic expedition was simply called 'Remoulade 2012' and came in three parts. A salt-baked cube of earthy celeriac was followed by a surprising ball of the same vegetable. Surprising because it looked solid, but when popped it in one's mouth it exploded to release a wholegrain mustard source. The last element was a shot glass of apple and celery - yes, celery - fizzy drink. Sounds bizarre? It was a little but it was also packed with flavour and cleansed the palate nicely in advance of the second half of the menu.

Dish seven took us back to the sea with a slab of tender and flaky red mullet. Surrounding the fish were smears of parsley purée and rings of pickled shallots whilst a bowl full of stones also held two small potatoes which had been cooked in salted water. The humble potatoes were elevated by the saltiness of their skins and the shallots added some acidity to balance the dish. As with the whole menu, everything was designed to provide a number of taste and texture sensations and it certainly did the trick.

A meat course was next, in the form of some wonderfully pink and squidgy venison. It sat next to a fallen column of salsify and a smooth spread of onion purée. Decorating the plate were two lines of intense liquorice and the dish was finished by a rich source. Liquorice isn't my favourite flavour but it went very nicely indeed with the deer meat. We were approaching the home stretch now.

As many tasting menus do, this one included a crossover dish and this particular example was one of the nicest I've ever had. A golden-brown mini potato waffle was topped with a small and beautifully crafted quenelle of foie gras 'butter.' Sticking out of this was a square of crispy and smoky chicken skin and drizzled over it all was some sweet maple syrup. Clare's not keen on foie gras and her version of the dish had sour cream instead and beetroot rather than bacon and chicken skin. When she saw the gusto with which I devoured mine I think she wished she'd had the same.

The final quarter of the menu comprised three desserts. First up were two apple and pear flavoured lollipops which looked and felt like Mini Milks (but were far tastier then they'd ever been. These nestled in a bowl of nutty crumble which soon became combined with the ice-cream. Our waiter gave us a spoon to 'pick up the deliciousness' as he put it. He wasn't wrong.

At number eleven in the hit parade was the nicest of the dessert triumvirate, 'mint choccy chip.' A bowl of mint essence was coated in liquid nitrogen and billowed forth clouds of minty smoke. Whilst this covered our table in a refreshing fog we enjoyed a chocolate sauce and crunch which was concealing some minty ice cream. Alongside this was a nugget each of chilled, mint infused chocolate which was more Vienetta than Mint Aero. Ending the meal was a rum baba, pineapple purée and frozen passion fruit. The frozen fruit was intensely flavoured and delicious and the baba was warming and sharp with alcohol.

This menu was quite different to our previous visits to Purnell's. The food has always been modern but this time it seemed even more experimental and really challenged the taste buds at every turn. Service was, as always here, exemplary though it was a shame that the immaculately groomed French Adonis of a maitre'd has departed to pastures new. Well, Clare thought so anyway.

We finished off our evening with a stroll round the corner to Glynn Purnell's recently opened bistro and bar: Ginger's. It serves an interesting range of cocktails and some of the dishes on offer make it look worthy of a visit itself. As for the main restaurant, this visit was probably our best so far and we'll certainly be back again next year.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Fritzromanov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lichfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“The Purnells Tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 December 2013

After promising ourselves this treat for some time , we visited with work colleagues and friends ! Staff were excellent - choosing the Purnells Tour along with wine flight was a great option , every course with a wine to suit perfect ! Would not only recommend we will definitely be back. Only disappointment is that the main man wasn't able to come a speak to us at the table ! Perhaps next time

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Clarky815
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
57 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Believe the Hype!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2013 via mobile

Fantastic!! Excellent service and quality of food. We had the seasonal tasting menu and it's hard to describe how good it was, really different tastes and stunning presentation. It is a bit pricy but well worth it as a treat for a special occasion.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Phil N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Whitwick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Worthy of its star status”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 December 2013

We were yet to do a Michelin star rated place in the midlands so having heard about Glynn Purnell's success in and around Birmingham with his flagship restaurant we decided to drop by for a birthday lunch.

Set a few streets away from the Bullring opposite AA rosette restaurant Opus sits Purnells, an unassuming yet stylish restaurant. Once inside the restaurant carries the look of a modern, inviting place without the formal feel, diners wear jumpers, shirts and aren't turned away for wearing converse, all good thus far.

The menu's offered are of good value, the lunch menu consisting of two starter, two main, one dessert with the option of cheese (supplement of course) and two further tasting menu's priced at £65 and £85 respectively. We opted for the 'full graze' option of the lunch menu, which was effectively a 5 course tasting menu for a respectable £42.

Amuse bouche arrived soon after the drinks consisting of small baked potatoes with parsley mayonnaise, very nice indeed. The highlight of a trip to Purnells for bread lovers will no doubt be the incredible soft bread you get along with home made butter, the best we've had.

After a flavoursome butternut squash veloute with egg yolk,parmesan and persillade went down well as did the fresh goats cheese and beetroot dish that followed but the star of the lot was the monkfish rolled in mushroom powder with slow cooked beef,lentils and confit parsnip, strange combinations but incredible taste and execution.

Its probably worth mentioning the presentation of Purnells, the care shown in the dishes is evident and shows thought and attention. Pork two ways with a pigs trotter nugget was a triumph and the dessert of rum baba with pineapple and coconut sorbet topped off a brilliant meal.

We got a glimpse of the man himself at work in the kitchen as lunch service came to a close, the only slight negative, and it really is being completely picky about Purnell's is the service seem a little too eager to please on certain clients, but I guess a combination of wealthy clientele and the desire for a second star can excuse this, the service in general is flawless and well orchestrated.

Brilliant place and value for money, lunch for two came to just over £100

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Chris D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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