I love to make sure that I have things planned during the time inbetween Christmas & New Year, so as to really make full use of the holidays. This year we booked an overnight stay in Birmingham, and arranged lunch at Turners at 69 with friends
We had a couple of drinks at The Botanist before lunch, then grabbed an Uber from the city centre – finding a taxi when the Christmas market is on is not an easy task!
We eventually made it through the traffic and the first thing that struck me was that the location of the restaurant was nothing like I had expected and was on quite a busy main street full of shops. I was also surprised by how compact it was inside too, it’s funny how you create an image in your mind before you go and sometimes you’re way off mark!
The restaurant has recently been re-vamped and feels really luxurious and understated with muted grays and simple white linen. The small size of the dining room made it feel quite personal, like you were in someone’s home (albeit a very plush home with a resident Michelin starred chef!)
Head Chef Richard Turner has made the bold decision not to offer a tasting menu at Turners which I don’t feel is a bad thing at all. Don’t get me wrong I love a tasting menu, and will choose that option 9 times out of 10 if it is available, but I think taking that option away means you have to think more about what you really want to eat
We enjoyed a bottle of processo whilst we decided between menus – two of our party of six opted for the set lunch menu, and the rest chose from the a la carte. A bottle of Argentinian Malbec was also ordered for the table, along with several of the restaurant’s own IPA’s which were a hit with the men
Firstly we all had the bacon & onion bread with pork fat – the bread itself was a warm, dense swirl full of salty smokey bacon and sweet onion, and we only just managed not to order another each! The pork fat however was what really made us all roll our eyes in appreciation, as it was almost molten on the slate and was just so silky smooth and light. Not mentioning names but someone at our table put this on both their starter and main so as not to waste a drop!
On to starters… I am so easily swayed towards a dish when it involves truffle so there was only choice for me – crispy egg, celeriac, autumn mushrooms & truffle. As I said when I posted this picture on Instagram, this was possibly one of my favourite dishes of last year! The white of the egg was just set whilst the yolk was bright orange and runny and the crisp outer coating gave a great contrast. The egg sat atop celeriac and hearty mushrooms but the broth that was poured into the dish was just incredible – it was so pure and hearty with the perfect amount of saltiness that made you wish it would never end. Top it all with fresh black truffle and what more can I say – wow!
Continuing with a theme of rich, wintry food, for my main course I chose the Anjou pigeon wellington. This came with a smooth bread sauce puree and a pigeon leg which had been wrapped in strands of potato and deep fried, leaving the leg meat tender inside and the outer lovely and crisp. A rich, well seasoned maderia jus was then poured around the dish
The pigeon was deliciously pink when I cut into the wellington, and was so soft it was almost velvety in texture. It had a strong gamey flavour that was complimented well by the cabbage it was wrapped in and the bronzed pastry casing had the perfect amount of colour and bite
You definitely needed to order sides with this dish so I went for the sprouts with bacon & the chervil roots. The sprouts were perhaps a little soft for my liking but were lifted by the bacon. Chervil roots were something I’d not tried before and I really enjoyed them. If I have to compare them to anything it would be a parsnip
For my dessert it just had to be the rice pudding with blackberry & rice crispies. Tart blackberry compote was layered underneath creamy rice pudding, and then topped with a sort of whipped foam (this was my favourite part as it was just so light) and sprinkled with golden puffed rice. I almost didn’t have dessert as I was in danger of feeling uncomfortable but I’m glad I did and this wasn’t too heavy at all
With my dessert I had a glass of the Jurançon, La Magendia Lapeyre dessert wine. It was a lovely wine, however a couple of the others had a late harvest dessert wine which I believe was Chilean and I actually preferred that as it was a touch sweeter
Turners’ website states that their set lunch menu probably represents the best value Michelin starred lunch in the country and at £18.50 for two courses and £25.00 for three, I wouldn’t disagree. The dishes from the set menu were of exactly the same size and standard as those from the a la carte menu and were just as beautifully presented
I would definitely return and recommend booking ahead, especially now knowing the size of the restaurant!
Visit the website here.