Updated: Apr 7, 2020
The venue for our first ever review was chosen through very simple reasons. It was local. We’d never eaten there. We’d heard it was good… oh, and it had a table!
Turners @ 69 is located in the middle of the main road in Harborne. We arrived and after finding a place to park was surprised by the unassuming façade. One could easily mistake it for a coffee shop and the dirty scuff marks on the seats outside would bear out that assumption. Upon reaching the door however we were met by a large man with an even bigger friendly smile.
Inside Turners contradicts its unassuming exterior, large glass mirrors reminding you of where you are cover most walls. The seating is either a white, long, bench seat that goes all the way along one side of the small space or black brushed velvet seats. We sat nearest to the kitchen at a small round table and looked at the large chandeliers above. The ambience was very relaxed. Guests sat in T shirts or smart casual clothing. With some tables only 4-6 inches apart, it was hard to avoid the hustle and bustle of other people’s conversations; the proximity of you to the table next to you meant this was not a place for a romantic dinner. With space for only 26-28 covers we thought this would appeal most to well-healed locals who appreciated good food, or to business professionals eating out after a long day.
The Menu arrived promptly and we each chose a Colchester Rock Oyster and some Bacon & Onion Bread with pork fat. The Oysters were very well prepared and sat on an iced bed of seaweed, but at only 1½ inches long I felt mine was a bit small. They were accompanied by a small dish of (we think) sherry vinegar with shallots. They were very nice.
The bread arrived and with bits of bacon and onion protruding from it, it looked like a cinnamon bun. Together with some rock salt, the pork fat had been placed on a large black rock. Pook couldn’t face putting it on her bread as it looked like it was… 10 calories per gram! I tried it but didn’t get the sense it added to the bread and would have probably been happier with salted butter. Pook’s bread was perfect but mine was just a little undercooked in the centre.
We had been in the restaurant about 20 minutes when the starters arrived. For starters Pook chose Venison Tartare, heritage beetroots and chestnuts. It was visually stunning, presented very nicely along a letterbox shaped plate. The venison meat had been mixed with what looked like shallots, tiny squares of cucumber and tasted delicious. It was accompanied with tiny white mushrooms, pea shoots, mixed beetroot colours and some beetroot gel. Pickles, prunes, creamy chestnut puree and small chestnut chunks finished off this lovely looking dish.
I chose the Duck Liver Parfait, burnt orange, chicken skin and brioche.
The brioche was soft, sweet, light and served with an orange infused butter. This was in sharp contrast to the crispy salted chicken skin. Both strangely complimented with duck liver parfait perfectly. The parfait was served in a small glass pot and was beautiful. Soft, creamy and with an orange tinge
that was very well balanced. I loved it and felt I could have eaten it from a spoon. My only criticism would be that some people may expect a duck liver parfait to be a little gamy and we could find nothing of that.
For my main I chose the Anjou pigeon wellington. Against the wellington lay a pigeon leg that had been deconstructed and reconstructed before being delicately wrapped in potato string. It looked a little simple on the plate but this exterior hid the talent and skill needed to create some of its parts. Cutting into the wellington was a breeze and the pigeon inside was moist and pink.
Pook had chosen the Rare Breed Pork served with mustard, prunes, apple, Marjoram and butternut squash puree. A roasted apple sat centrally and was surrounded on three sides by a pork sausage, a neatly cut square of pork belly and a round pork medallion. We disagreed initially on the star of this dish but eventually agreed that the crispy skin and juiciness of the pork belly won. It and the sausage had a dark prune on top whilst the medallion had a small chunk of cooked apple. They were all covered with twigs of marjoram and French mustard. The plate was finished off with a butternut squash puree and light gravy. It looked and tasted delightful.
We shared some roasted chervil roots served with a dark green cabbage that had been softly braised. Only available after the first frosts of winter, we found the Chervil root’s hint of chestnut complimented our dishes perfectly.
For dessert we had ordered the special Apple Tart Tatin with caramel and bay leaf ice cream. The apple had been cooked perfectly and sat on top of a puff pastry base that was light and thin. However, we found that unless each mouthful was accompanied with the ice cream, the dish was a touch overpowered by the caramel sauce which was a little too bitter for our liking.
Overall we had some beautiful food and a relaxed and very enjoyable evening; we even got to see Richard Turner as he joined some guests next to us.
Pook guessed that the food would cost £55 and was almost bang on target as to the actual cost per head (£50 each). This, we felt made Turners@69 good value for money. We decided we would drive 30 miles to eat there again. So if you would like some lovely food in a relaxed atmosphere and are within 30 miles of B17, ring up, book it and go to Turners@69.