Turner´s, Birmingham – 21 June 2013

Being invited to a trip to see a Bruce show in Coventry and spice it up with some gastro adventures by good friend Jörgen, and leaving me in charge of all the details and bookings. It was easy for me to pick Hyatt, Birmingham,  love this hotel, love Birmingham – and the lunch we had before this visit at Pickled Piglet put our hopes up high for this evening. The last time I chose Simpson´s restaurant where I was mostly impressed by the friendly staff and the decent dishes – but where there were also obvious flaws. So, up to something new – well for me – Turner´s also hold 1 star Michelin. I have had this review sitting around, but having visited The Greenhouse in London I thought it would be fun to compare.

Turners - view from the High Street.

Turners – view from the High Street.

And inside looking out.

And inside looking out.

I liked the room, but unfortunately, given the choice I chose the corner table, only to discover later it was half the size of a normal table. My mistake I guess.

Richard Turner is in the kitchen, and the small restaurant (main room holds less than 16 people I would say) – and I am not sure there is any other rooms. It is a funny little wooden barack, I think I remembered the carpet a little worn, and what Jörgen spotted right away was the dust on the liquor shelves behind us. Note to staff. With all the spots on, it does look nicer when the dust is gone.

Well, we are common people, and that should not spoil our dinner.

Tasting menu was ordered and here it goes…

A little fish burger

A little fish burger

Nice, if not very posh presentation. And taste was ok, but not overwhelming – we were starting to wonder.

Tomato consomme

Tomato consomme

Very fresh, very nice amuse – that I nearly spilled.

Amuses – 6p

Our bread selection

Our bread selection

Nice quality bread. Funny thing, after saying no to the second bread I think, no further bread was offered during the whole menu.

Organic (bio) egg yolk

Organic (bio) egg yolk

This was the first dish to hit the michelin level we had expected. 7.5p

Frog legs...

Frog legs…

Not a fan of frog legs, but this was a funny little variation with the tempura 7p

Salmon

Salmon

Slowly cooked at low temperature, this confit of salmon was close to perfect, and again a rather rustique presentation 7.5p

Scallop

Scallop

The worst dish of the evening, the scallop slightly overcooked, the truffle cream totally overpowering everything else on the plate. The onion ring on top I liked. 1p for the onion ring.

Fois Gras

Fois Gras

So after the worst dish, the scallop, we had this little pearler, mango, ananas to go with the delicate pan fried fois gras. Great dish, way up there where you start to smile and remember how happy food can make you. We shook our heads by the up and down in the dishes, but this was definetely a winner. 8.5p

Turbot

Turbot

I do believe it was Turbot, and I do believe it was very nice. Perfectly cooked, nothing here was out of balance. 7.5p

Veal

Veal

Same level as the fish, nothing more nothing less. 7.5p

Say cheese.

Say cheese.

The selection from a larger tray was done outside of our view, but it was all goat cheeses and they were all bloody nice. At this point I always forget to shoot the pictures, thus the half eaten plate. But very nice selection 8p

Pre-dessert

Pre-dessert

This little thing was just brilliant. Delicate, fluffy, berry. We both loved it 9p

The grand finale...

The grand finale…

Another go at a tiramisu – again, high level, great finish 8p

Sweets for my sweet - well for Jörgen actually :-).

Sweets for my sweet – well for Jörgen actually :-).

Conclusion:

The service – the three people – I think – consisted of an eager very friendly maitre/sommelier (?),  a young waitress, who only started to smile after my small mishap where I shook so hard to my dish that it almost fell over. At least it broke the ice. The last waiter looked misplaced – kind of your local bouncer. Now there was nothing really wrong with these people. They were VERY friendly. But they were not very professional. The knowledge, or at least the knowledge that was transported to us when serving the wines was very very poor. Or very very general. And the wines inside the wine menu that we chose did not leave us impressed at all. Actually the female waiter was the best I thought.

The food  – there were some highlights, some of accepted quality and some of below par quality. It was a large menu. We did get a lot of impressions to take with us home. But in compare to the dishes in my post before in London. They did not quite hit that level. But the biggest difference for me was the way the whole evening went down, impressions, table, room, wine selection, wine presentation, dishes presentation, all those things that makes a perfect restaurant. And Turners tonight was a nice little restaurant where we would have had a blast had we expected less. It was just that it has just been rewarded readers choice in Birmingham 2013/2014 – and holds 1 michelin star. Well tonight it might hold that star, but just barely in my humble opinion. And in compare to Greenhouse. Well as I said there really is no compare.

When that it said. A nice evening was spend, and I feel that on any given night Richard Turner might give you some great dishes. I wish he had more professional staff.  Because maybe then he will feel the the whole thing rise to a higher level. But – we had a few words with the friendly maitre, and he was a nice chap. He just did not have the heart in the thing. And that makes the difference.

We left with mixed emotions, happy that the end of the meal was stronger than the shaky start, it is always better than the other way around.

My rating for this visit: Food 7p (10), service 3p (5), ambience 3.5p (5), 13.5p (20)

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