PURNELLS RESTAURANT BIRMINGHAM: ‘NOW’ VEGETARIAN TASTING MENU


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Any visit to Purnells Restaurant in Birmingham City Centre is a real treat, when visiting with a couple of friends even more so.

Purnells Restaurant on Cornwall Street in the Colmore Business District is one of the go to restaurants in Birmingham. Chef Glynn Purnell has stamped his food footprint on this glorious city like a bright shining Michelin star that he has above his door.

Glynn Purnell has represented Birmingham well. He won The Great British Menu in 2008 and then again in 2009, one with a desert, one with fish.

Since it opened in 2007 Purnells Restaurant has always been a chic place to visit, a celebratory place. Well that is how it has been to Ruth and I. We have celebtrated special birthday’s and getting engaged there.

Purnells won a Michelin Star in 2009, its a contemporary space, fine dining without the stuffiness, way more modern and knowing than that.

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Being a vegetarian at Purnells Isn’t difficult. As long as they know in advance you will then be treated to some of the best vegetarian dishes that you’ve ever tasted. There is no menu to be found on their website or on their window. That is because the food served is of the ‘now’ seasonal, fresh and adapted from the main menu with what’s available. It’s a fine skill to be able to do this, some chefs are daunted by vegetarians, Glynn Purnell and his team aren’t. Hence the lack of menu. We are a challenge:)

It is always best to mention your dietary needs when booking, and whether vegetarian or I’m sure vegan you will be well catered for.

Purnells is a spacious restaurant, with a large bar area. This is where we began our night with a glass of champagne and some aperitifs with the menu.

The bar area is a comfortable space, designed to help you relax and before being taken into the main event.

The large dining room has seating for couples, small parties and one for a large group.

The menus represent the ‘old’, and ‘new’ or ‘now’ as its called.
This is the menu the four of us dined from. The adverb of which is titled

‘Summer, Sunshine, fun times and sand castles’.

Over the years I’ve eaten some stunning dishes at Purnells. The ‘now’ vegetarian tasting menu is 12 courses long. Each dish is a visual treat that is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

The imagination and skill across the menu was only bettered by the textures, flavours and playfulness of the menu.

The dishes are listed in the photograph of the menu. I’m not going to go through each dish individually but mention my favourite dishes on the night. Your menu may be different, dependent on the season and your personal tastes.

The vegetarian ‘Now’ menu is adapted from the non veggie ‘Now’ menu. The last two desert courses were the same on both menus.

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1.Lime potatoes in oats and spices duck egg maionaise. Photograph courtesy of the restaurant.

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2. Poached egg yolk leek purée, lemon balm Brummie cake.

Refined, delightful wonderfully presented it sets the scene with its eggy notes of flavour.

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3. Thus the third course of Beetroot mouse with horseradish, salted beetroot was a fine dish, an ensemble of harmonious flavours and fresh beetroot which floated gentle notes of flavour over the horse radish. A lovely balanced and fresh dish.

4. Provencal morsel. A delicious interlude. Well executed.

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5. Next came The pea salad with its fresh flavour of peas, broad beans, that exalted the seasonality of the produce to create a wonderfully hypnotic dish. Fantastic.

6. Remoulade 2012: A palate cleanser, three morsels designed to be eaten in succession in order to increase the flavours of the first. Breathtaking cooking.

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7. My favourite dish:) served along with the divine spicy lentils, which have an advanced spicy note that compliments the pickled carrots a harmony of stunning complicated flavours, with superb depth.

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8. Main course: tomatoes bursting with flavour, Mediterranean like textures, with the gentle borlotti beans, contrasting with the scorched lettuce and courgette, lovely.

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9. Waffle: morsel. Underwhelming dish because of the quality of before.

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10. Deserts: Strawberries and violet ice cream.
A delectable simple dish, summery and pretty. Lovely, a take on strawberries and cream.

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11. Mint choc chip, a playful take on summer ice cream and chocolate. Pure theatre, with minty notes wafting off from the steam stimulated at the table. Rich chocolate, pure heaven for chocolate lovers, teasing the palate. A lovely desert.

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12. Lemon meringue pie: demonstrating Glynn Purnells, nostalgic playfulness. The best lemon meringue I’ve ever had. A truthful report of his culinary vision. Evocative of childhood, a refreshing desert.

Purnells Deserts are playful, all fabulous, always original.

The service throughout the meal was excellent, formal/informal with the right balance between interaction and restraint. The staff at Purnells represent the restaurant well with enthusiasm and knowledge.

A vegetarian meal at Purnells is a cosseting experience. Glynn Purnells technical competence is evident. My food was incentive, seasonal, with superbly executed dishes that struck the right balance of flavour and texture. Delivering on all levels, of indulgence and nostalgic fun.

Purnells shows a keen focus on sourcing on the ‘now’ menu, quality ingredients, evident in the freshness of the menu and the work put into the dishes to make them delightful to the palate.

This star still shines brightly delivering stunning refined vegetarian cuisine. Every course delivers something new, always innovative and thoughtful.

A playful vegetarian treat.

Simply stunning.

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Please note, your dishes may not be the same as the ones I enjoyed. Due to seasonality and dietary preferences.
Let then know your desires and enjoy.

The cost of the vegetarian tasting menu is £85 per person.

Ruth and our two friends had the ‘Now’ tasting menu (non Veggie) and said it was superb.

Has anyone else being to Purnells and had athe vegetarian tasting menu? What did you think?

Disclaimer: we paid for our own meal at Purnells. The opinions expressed are my own and are honest and true.

For booking see website:
http://www.purnellsrestaurant.com

Info@purnellsrestaurant.com

Purnells
55 Cornwall Street
Birmingham
B3 2DH

0121 212 9799 option 1

Reservations taken up to 90 days in advance.

OPUS RESTAURANT: WORCESTER PRODUCE VEGETARIAN DINNER


Every source has a story.

That statement forms part of the ethos of Opus Restaurant on Cornwall Street, Birmingham City Centre.

The source dinner series of events that Opus run is a chance for customers to meet their suppliers and hear their compelling stories. Opus have a mission to promote their farmers, fisherman and wine makers, hence the vegetarian Source dinner with Worcester produce.

The source series introduces a food hero over four courses with wine.

As I’ve already explained in my previous blog post on Opus’ market menu and the Meat Free Monday menu at Cafe Opus, I’m a big fan of their vegetarian food and ethos which always means good seasonal veggie dishes.

Opus celebrates the freshest of ingredients, independent and market fresh produce allows the ingredients to dictate the menu and allows Opus to buy each day from their suppliers.

Fruit, salad and vegetables are grown in nurseries of Worcester Produce across the Vale of Evesham (Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Warwickshire) and were picked on day one and were with Opus on day two. The produce is nurtured by local farmers for nearly a year.

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Ruth and I were pleased to be invited as guests of Opus Restaurant for this their first vegetarian dinner.

As a vegetarian this felt like pure Indulgence, not only to eat delicious vegetarian food, but to hear about the process from ground to kitchen, to fork. Something I’ve always been fascinated by as a keen grower of vegetables.

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We arrived at Opus and were warmly greeted and shown to the bar area. Here we met other guests for the evening and were indulged with an aperitif and some home made nibbles.

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Eventually, We were shown into the dining room and were seated on a large round table we shared with six other guests.

Bread was brought round and wine before the main meal. Wine was topped up throughout the dinner.

The Vegetarian Source dinner was a four course dinner with wine, structured that before each course the producer of the ingredients used would give a short introductory talk into the mechanisms of growing the ingredients, the nurturing, and indulge us with stories of their motivations and history. This was a lovely intimate way to feel closer to the produce and producer, and it set up the meal well.

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The first course was the Sautéed King Oyster and maitake mushrooms, creamed tarragon, crispy rocket and crouton.

I’d not heard of maitake mushrooms before, but the Japanese name means ‘dancing mushroom’ and grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. Can be known as hen-of-the-woods.

It was a gutsy and meaty dish, with a really deep flavour and colour of mushrooms. The two mushrooms complimented each other well and when set with the creamy tarragon made an almost soupy texture, which worked really well. A lovely dish and testament to the grower Tim Livesey who is so passionate about his produce.

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The second course was a warm Pablo Cabrita goats cheese custard on whole grain granary biscuit, Pixley Court black berries, salted and caramelised walnuts.

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The Pablo Cabrita goats cheese is made by Sarah Hampton in Bridgenorth.

The dish was delicious, the goats cheese was creamy, set like a custard, and packed with flavour. The best goats cheese I’ve ever had. Set with the summery sweet berries and crunch of the walnut it made my favourite dish. The goats cheese worked well on the granary biscuit which gave it an almost desert like texture. Lovely. A high quality dish and produce.

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The third course was a Roasted celeriac tortellini, baby beets, kale, heritage carrots, beurre blanc, pumpkin seeds, and pumpernickel granola.

I loved this dish, the handmade tortellini, had a smooth celeriac flavour, quite different, but then with the fresh crunch of some amazing vegetables made for a pretty and beautifully executed veggie main course. The freshness of the veg was apparent and the flavours were complimentary to the silky pasta. It worked well.

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The final course, the desert, was delicious. It was called the ‘Celebration of the Victoria plum’ trio served with almond Tuille, sorbet mousse, poached. A summery dish, a ode to the plum. Packed full of flavour, simple in construction but as it says a celebration of Victoria plums in all their glory. A dish to end the meal on a high.

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Note that all vegetables and plums are grown within a ten mile radius of Pershore.

The Opus Source Vegetarian felt like a triumph. It was very well attended by both vegetarians and meat eaters, and it felt a privilege to be invited and to experience such passion and enthusiasm for vegetables and fruit produce.

The dishes served made the best of the great produce and Opus once again showed that they understand vegetarian food, that the freshest ingredients are central to good vegetarian cooking. One can only hope that next year Opus Restaurant do it all over again. Ruth and I will certainly be there.

Produce grown with pride, and eaten with pride.

An evening to savour.

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For details of the remaining source series dinners see Opus’ website
http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk

For all menus including the daily market menu see also the website.

Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Opus Restaurant. We didn’t pay for the evening. All views and opinions are my own and honest. I was not required to write a positive review.

Opus Restaurant
54 Cornwall Street
Birmingham
B3 2DE

0121 200-2323

@opusrestsurant

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OPUS RESTAURANT: MARKET FRESH IN BIRMINGHAM CITY CENTRE


Opus restaurant is one of my personal favourite restaurants in Birmingham. It’s independent, classy, contemporary and market fresh, using the freshest produce available.

It’s been open for eight years on Cornwall Street in the heart of the Colmore Business District, a thriving area in Birmingham city centre and home of some of Birmingham’s best cafe’s and restaurants.

Opus Restaurant celebrates the freshest ingredients, British, mostly locally sourced, knowing their farmers, producers and history of their fruit and veg.

It is one of the best restaurants for vegetarians and vegans as you can always guarantee a lovely seasonal meal.

It daily changes its menu, called market menu which allows what produce is best and now. Allowing all of the ingredients to shine through.

The Market Menu is great value a main course is £10 two courses are £14 and three £16 and includes home made bread. Which was excellent.

That is why Ruth and I visited on a Friday evening to sample the here and now. Ruth loves lobster, sold by Opus for a short period of time when it’s in season and at it’s freshest.

It’s a regular yearly treat and visit at this time of year for us.

For me the luxury is to try such great summer produce by sampling their market menu.

The Market Menu offers one veggie option for a starter and main, which though limited in choice is outstandingly good value. It’s probably the best value meal in the city for the quality in both food, service and the classy Opus environment.

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We began in the bar which is a really nice way to start a meal at opus as it sets the tone and it feels right and proper.

As an aside, two years ago we watched Mo Farah win his second gold medal at the London Olympics, in the bar, on our i phone:) it’s that kind of place:).

We ordered two Martinis, one dry and one wet, both excellent, both well made with local Chase Gin.

The restaurant area is spacious and caters for couples, small groups and large groups well. You never feel crammed in, and the room feels airy and classy.

I chose my dinner from the market menu.
For my starter I can only describe it as one of the best tomato soups I have ever had. A total luxury of flavour.

I had the Roasted Plum tomato soup, pesto, croutons.

The flavour of the tomatoes were so fresh and rich, an indulgent starter, demonstrating what Opus do well. Fresh bang on in season ingredients. It was superb, with a delicate pesto drizzle on the top and crunchy croutons sitting inside. Lovely presentation.

Ruth ate from the A La Carte for her starter and enjoyed the fresh bite of her celery, Braeburn apple, toasted walnut salad with Roquefort dressing.

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For my main course I had the Tian of grilled Mediterranean vegetables, gnocchi, and heritage tomato sauce.

Again, a superb dish, well flavoured, with the punch of the tomato complimenting the soft potato gnocchi , and well flavoured seasonal vegetables that were delicately grilled and gave the dish it’s balance. The accuracy of cooking shown and the balance of flavours are the key to a simple dishes brilliance.

Ruth of course ate her lobster, she said it was superb, I knew that, because she told me:) she always enjoys it:)

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I decided to stick with the two courses, and because we haven’t ever eaten the cheese at Opus we decided to share one. This gave us three British Cheeses plus homemade fruit chutney, celery and walnut bread, which is plenty between two after a filling meal. You can order more.

We chose the Sparkenhoe Red Leicester which is the only Red Leicester made in Leicester, a superb cheese, so much better than the norm, fresh and full of flavour.

The Perl Las from Cowes Canarth in Wales. A strong but delicate cheese, salty but creamy. Lovely.

The Wild Yarg garlic, a Caerphilly style cheese, from Cornwall, again a nice flavour and the three together compliment well.

The walnut bread again was good, though maybe needed a bit more on the plate:)

With the cheese we chose two glasses of Quinta de la Rosa LBV Port, lovely, and very generous in size:)

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The service throughout was as refined and unfailingly good, friendly and with a touch of elegance about it. Throughout a good team, from kitchen to front of house.

There is so much to like about Opus Restaurant. It’s a superb advert for all that’s good about knowing your producers, your farmers and suppliers. It’s veggie dishes are fresh, simple, but exciting, three good things on a plate. The presentation and skill is superb, the smells of the food at the table, shows the care in the ingredients and freshness of produce.

My two vegetarian courses from the market menu were outstanding and I’m sure the non veggie dishes will be too. The best I’ve had at Opus and I’ve been many times.

As a restaurant they are fiercely committed to their core values and quality with an ethical approach to food where the best is only good enough in season. The produce brought, the dishes created. Sounds simple. It is, but so many restaurants don’t adhere to this basic principle.

That commitment is to be applauded and our commitment to that should be too. The humble veg never tasted so good, so respected, indeed Opus is a vegetarians idea of heaven.

Opus Restaurant,
54 Cornwall Street
Birmingham
B3 2DE

0121 200 2323
Restaurant@opusrestaurant
@opuscornwallstreet

Opus restaurant will be hosting a Worcester produce source vegetarian dinner on Friday 15th August 7pm.

This will be an opportunity to meet the farmers and producers from the Worcester area and eat 4 courses of vegetarian food for £45 per person with wine.

Contact the restaurant on the addresses above for details.

I will see you there:) it should be a good night. An evening to savour. An evening for the Veg:)

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Please note that the market menu that you have at Opus Restaurant may not be the same as the one I enjoyed. The menu changes daily. Enjoy:)

We paid for our own meal, my opinions are my own and are honest and true.