Have we finally got a decent Spanish restaurant in the City?

A new tapas restaurant has opened up on Edmund Street brought to you by our very own Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell. Mr Purnell has certainly answered my prayers as I have been begging for a good quality Spanish tapas restaurant in the city centre for years now. With a high celebrity profile behind the brand and a long wait, expectations for Plates by Purnell’s are high, but does it deliver?

The restaurant is small, intimate, and decorated beautifully with a Spanish rustic interior and around 28 covers. Four of us all were nestled in one corner and luckily we were the only group in there – otherwise I think we would have pissed off a few diners with our happy food dances.

The waitress who served us was very polite and attentive. As soon as we sat down I heard a “Drinks ladies?”- I was still looking for a peg to hang my coat on. I was contemplating ordering an espresso martini before my meal but quickly forgot where I was and mumbled “I hope they got a decent toilet here”. Luckily the lady thought it was funny, so it was nice to know that Plates by Purnell’s appreciates a bit of toilet humour, anyway, enough about toilets more about espressos!

One sip and I was convinced with its smooth, almost velvety texture with a hint of sweetness, that it was one of the best espresso martinis I have ever had. I could be in trouble here…but we are off to a good start!

Scanning the menu I could see there was plenty of choice from fish to pork to a good variety of vegetarian options (lunchtime menu). We ordered around nine dishes with two/three dishes at most coming out all at different times. The first dish that came out was the Berenjenas con Miel (Aubergine chips with truffle – £6.50). They gave a wicked crunch and were absolutely gorged in truffle, we found ourselves fighting over them, so the first dish was a huge hit. Bread is a must, so we ordered two of these that were the toasted bread with olive and tomato (£5) it was nice but wasn’t much to shout out about, I used the bread more with the other dishes’ sauces then the tomato sauce it came with as I found it a bit bland.

The cod (Bacalao Al Pil Pil £9) was gorgeous in the chilli and garlic sauce. I cut into it and I was nearly blinded by the glistening white of the fish, it had a lovely silky texture to it that just melted away in my mouth and was full of flavour, a dish everyone must order.

The Gemba’s al ajillo (Prawns and garlic, £11) another perfectly cooked dish however a little on the small side for the hefty price tag, I did love it, but I didn’t love it enough to pay £11 sadly. The prawns were covered in a beautiful garlic sauce and when I bit into them, they were so juicy and succulent. Scooped onto the toasted bread and scoffed down, it’s a great dish but I just think the price might scare a few people off.

The Patatas Bravas dish (£6) was smothered in a lovely tomato/paprika paste, but I had to do a little prayer before I tucked in as my biggest pet-hate with this dish, whenever I dine in Spanish restaurants is that it comes so smothered with the sauce that the potatoes are soggy. Soggy Potatos break my heart, however, there was no issue here. Golden-brown with a good crunch and fluffy golden potato inside, each time getting spicier and spicier. I am fully convinced, these are the best Patas bravas I have ever had.

Another dish that is definitely worth ordering is the Croqueta de Queso (Cheese croquettes) almost a snack-like dish, these little pleasure balls are bloody addictive. Shame they go within a minute shared by four, another dish we had to fight over!

The chicken thighs were nice but I am not a big fan of chicken, so I preferred the other dishes more, the girls loved this dish. We ended our meal with a very generous offering of Queseo Espanol (Cheese selection £6) A dish that I thought was very good value for money and had a variety of Spanish cheeses that were superb! We washed our food down with a good quality jug of Sangria, my god it was stunning! What a fabulous way to end a great meal. So much so, that the Spanish music and the authentic Spanish food that we just consumed suddenly lifted us up from our chairs and we started breaking out the Salsa dancing – It was almost like we were transported to Spain, that sangria is pretty magical.

Bless the staff, I think the lady came out one or two times and didn’t know what to do with the spontaneous salsa dancing, we finally went back to our seats once the sangria had been finished off. The bill came and it was around £30-£40 each between four, I found it quite reasonable. Most of the dishes were great value for money and I only found one or two that were not, however, it’s Tapas, which can be quite a pricey cuisine. I have in the past been constantly frustrated with Spanish restaurants offering tapas that are not authentic, have a lack of variety and offer expensive dishes for tiny portions. This however was different; Plates by Purnell’s is well worth it. The quality is obvious, and the restaurant offers such a pleasant dining experience that had us all smiling and laughing all the way through, we were full of compliments and we all left very satisfied.

I do feel this is a perfect restaurant for all kinds of occasions and I am really looking forward to booking again but this time for a date night with my partner. Glynn has got it spot on and expectations were met. Finally, we have a great Spanish restaurant in Birmingham City Centre, there may be one or two tweaks, but it has the potential to be a permanent fixture of the Birmingham food scene.

Book your dining experience at Plates by Purnells now

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