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Blog > Archive 2010

Louis Cipolla Award 2010

Glynn Purnell has won the "Louis Cipolla Award 2010" voted by the British Culinary Federation.

This was awarded by Andreas Antona, his old chef from Simpsons Restaurant last Sunday the 2nd of May 2010.

The Awards ceremony was held at the NEC where 280 people attended the event.

4 May 2010

Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell talks to Richard McComb about achieving culinary excellence...

Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell talks to Richard McComb about achieving culinary excellence... photo

Glynn Purnell article in the weekly TV Guide.

Please click on the following pdf to read articles.

Article 1

Article 2

23 April 2010

Something different...

Nowadays food in Britain has evolved dramatically. Some of the best chefs from all over the UK are coming up with innovating and creative cuisine. What an exciting place to be at the moment.

The standards have never been so high. 

Our Chef, Glynn, does just that. He pushes boundaries a little to make food different; to stimulate and revive our palate again. 

Not only will you experience that with the three course A La Carte menu at Purnell’s Restaurant but more so with the tasting menu.
While people are busy getting educated with the culinary scenery, we would also like to think that we could do the same with wine. After all, food is made for wine and wine for food. 

We aim to find out “ordinary wines” and have some exclusive to Purnell’s. I feel very fortunate to be able to express myself in this sense! Most of our wine list includes wine made uniquely by Proprietors as opposed to négociants and boutique wines made in tiny quantities. These are the wines to look out for. Of course, a "big name" are impressive but to me a little too predictable without a lot of imagination. This makes my job a nightmare. This means I will have to try as many wines as possible-perfect!

One of our wines comes from a small fishing village called Akaishi or Sea Bream in Western Japan. They have been around for over 140 years making this Sake. We have paired this wonderful and versatile wine with our Carpaccio of beef. It has been rolled in cinnamon and served with brown shrimps, caviar, Mouli and melon.
Together they make an explosion of flavours. 

This Sake is made from Yamada Nishiki rice (considered the best rice for making Sake) and has been milled at 40%. By doing so, you are left with the core of the rice containing most of the starch thus making this rice wine complex with an amazing, long finish.
On the nose we find Lilly’s, white roses, sea salt, lemon and a touch of melon.
On tasting we find elegant, aromatic complexities; such as lemon and bitter orange. Although this Akaishi-Tai Junmai (pure rice) Daiginjo is served cold, as it reaches 14-16 degrees, the flavour develops liquorice and tamarind; simply superb.
We have 3 other Sakes from the same producer. The Genmai Aged Sake (made from brown rice-a first), the Shiraume Umeshu made from plums and the Tokiwa Shochu-a traditional spirit made from rice. They are all deliciously brilliant and really serious wines!
Sake has been around for quite some time; 300BC to be exact. The wine makers used to chew the rice and spit it out into a bucket thus creating fermentation. You will be pleased and be re-assured to know that this method is no longer with us. Times have evolved.

The rice is hand harvested at the end of the season towards the end of August and the beginning of September.
The rice is steamed (picture a sauna room), then sprayed in mould creating enzymes which will then convert into sugar. Water and yeast are added creating alcohol. This process is repeated 3 times doubling the amount each time. It is then left in enamel tanks for up to two months then bottled.
There we are, done!

I will be more than happy to discuss this furthermore with you should you wish to experience something different. This is what food and wine should be about. A little discovery of exciting textures and flavours.

24 February 2010

Purnell's Carignan Story

Purnell's Carignan Story photo

Upon visiting my mother and step father in a little village near Perpignan, Ceret to be exact a few weeks before Easter, I had the pleasure of trying the most amazing Carignan. A sample was left for me to enjoy (as they knew I was coming) knowing that the wine wasn’t quite ready yet. Even then, it was almost a revelation! It blew me away; more so knowing that the “new growers” were British with only three years expertise behind them. Jayne from Birmingham (she used to live almost next door to where Glynn was brought up) and her husband Corin Fairchild from Wales. What an adventure I thought and let’s face it, a whole lot of guts!
Yet another Brummy fusion going on-it’s all happening! 

Alongside this sample was a Grenache and Syrah which were both delicious. But for me it was the Carignan...it was outstanding. All are Vins de Pays as opposed to AOCs as only one grape variety is used as opposed to the typical blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. But not to worry, rules are there to be broken and thank goodness they share this opinion! 

I went back to France in the summer and the weather could not have been more perfect. It was hot, very hot and what a great year for wine I thought (and will prove to be an amazing year so make notes of the 2009 Vintage). I met up with Jayne and Corin as they invited us for lunch at their house in a small village called Maury. Nothing is there apart from vineyards, a few houses on a small stretch of road and very loud Lorries passing through the village. A very beautiful and picturesque area…but apart from drinking red wine all day there isn’t a lot to do! One might say this isn’t a bad thing. Arriving at their home, I was taken straight to the basement. It could not have been more perfect. Almost a dream of mine as they had transformed it into a winery! 

We were served an amazing stew and of course to accompany that, we had a cheeky taste of the wine…. Just to make sure that it was evolving well of course!
I had definitely decided to take this further. I wanted this wine on the Purnell’s wine list. After a brief chat about it, they offered me all 700 bottles produced in the 2007 Vintage – also their first ever Vintage. An acre to be precise for the Carignan vines. They are over 120 years of age and were completely restored to new (as they were abandoned) with great care, knowledge and of course, love. This revealed the full potential on what was to come. The vineyard is immaculate and beautifully looked after. Grapes are hand-picked and thrown into small baskets. The small baskets means that the grapes don’t get crushed and start the fermentation process at the bottom. The wine has spent 12 months in new oak and 3 months in used oak before bottling. The wine has then been filtered with egg white and bottled in a beautiful, amphora shaped bottle. Unfortunately on one disastrous afternoon, they had to spray a little sulfur on the ground. They could not unfortunately class it as an organic wine. Just for that one day…but isn’t sulphur a natural substance? 

We had the label designed with our specification with the colours of the restaurant although I wanted to leave it more to them as after all, it was their pride and joy…and hard labour I can’t tell. This is the wine business for you.
Small growers are suffering at the moment and they have been for quite some time but we seem to ignore that. We tend to buy in our local supermarkets; mass produced wines with only one vision and purpose behind them-making profit. It will cost on average over £3.50 for the label and its art work, an average quality bottle, taxes (plenty of them), shipment, transport and the rest. This is where the Euro hasn’t helped much. Then you pay for what is inside bearing in mind that the growers/producers have to somehow make a profit. On many occasion the “smaller man” doesn’t really make anything; maybe just enough to have food on the table. When you see the commitment that is behind this craftsmanship, you begin to learn a thing or two and really appreciate the facts. It is like having a new born, you are with it 24/7. The only thing is you cannot leave it to the grand-parents!
Our Carignan isn’t just another wine-not when you understand the history behind it. It is simply wonderful. You are drinking something unique, something made with passion and the skills to working a vineyard to its full potential. 

These people like Corin and Jayne Fairchild are an example to a lot of wine growers. I’m certain that within the region, these “inexperienced Brits” can show the French a thing or two because everywhere, you really have horror stories.
I am wishing them the best of luck in their new venture and looking forward to many more Vintages to come out of their vineyards.
We hope to see you at Purnell’s to discover this wine and enjoy it the same way I did.

13 January 2010

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