The other week we decided to treat ourselves to a visit to Turners of Harborne. Turners is one of three restaurants in Birmingham that boast a Michelin star. We’ve visited Simpsons a number of times in the past, but had yet to try Turners Restaurant (our closest one) or Purnell’s.
We booked a 7.30 table for a Saturday night. Turners has a number of different nights with cheaper menus available on less popular nights to eat out, but Saturday night means they only serve the tasting menu. This was fine by us anyway as we wanted to taste a range of dishes to gain an introduction to Turners food. As you’d expect for a Michelin starred restaurant, the tasting menu comes at a premium with a price of £80 per head for 8 courses, although you might get some little extra culinary surprises along the way.
The door was opened for us as we approached and we were shown to our table immediately. As we were eating quite early, there was only one other table full, but by 9pm all the tables were full. With only 8-10 tables, Turners has an intimate atmosphere. The small premises size means you come into the main dining room from the door on the street. As you are met at the door and escorted in, the time the door is open is kept to a minimum. We sat close to the entrance and didn’t find it a problem.
Service was prompt, discrete and courteous throughout. The fact that everyone is having the tasting menu on Saturday night makes ordering food unnecessary, so the only decision to agonise over is the wine list. We had considered having the wines to go with the tasting menu, but in the end decided that we would prefer a more restrained night (not sure what came over us) and opted instead to order a single bottle of wine. Our pick for the night was a local wine from nearby Worcestershire from the Tiltridge Vineyard. We chose the Elgar Medium Dry (white wine). The sommelier told us that if we wished we could take a visit to the vineyard and I think we might just do that in the future. We’ve drunk English wine before, but I don’t think we’ve ever tasted wine of that quality before from this country. It was light and refreshing without being lightweight in flavour terms.
Our first taste of Turners came with the arrival of some miniature fish and chips (pictured above). They were exquisite. I loved the crispiness of the chips which reminded me of those French Fries crisps in size and shape, but not in taste as these were on a much higher level. On the teaspoons was a very refreshing mouthful of pure pea flavour with super sweet and fresh tasting peas and pea shoots.
Part two of my Turner’s Restaurant review will review the remainder of the tasting menu.