That talented chef Richard Turner will be relieved to learn that he doesn’t feature frequently in my dreams.
But several dishes off the menu at his new restaurant will, I’m sure, appear often in my reveries.
Among them a rice, strawberry, meringue and vanilla confection that rates among the loveliest desserts I’ve eaten.
The Marie de Bois berries appeared dehydrated and as puree, adding sharpness, sweetness and perfume to a bowl of soothing creamy loveliness broken here and there by shards of crisp meringue.
This was the Platonic deal of a rice pudding. One that causes my eyes to grow moist as I remember its delights.
After achieving a Michelin star at the Harborne restaurant which bore his name, he’s now heading the kitchen at Maribel which is in in Brindleyplace in the space formerly known as Edmunds.
A visit on the restaurant’s first night was, perhaps, unfair.
But already the Turner hallmarks are there – a masterly grasp of technique, a fine palate, imaginative but not outlandish combinations, a deep knowledge of ingredients and a huge respect for them.
His dishes continue to express flavours gently with, every now and then, an eruption of dazzling flavour.
And, as at his old gaff, Turner makes the occasional sortie from the kitchen into the dining room looking stressed and ever so slightly murderous.
The tasting menu – 11 separate dishes including snacks – costs £85 so ambitions are high.
This wasn’t a flawless meal – for instance, a smoked eel, apple, nasturtium and horseradish nibble didn’t have enough fishy or smokey flavour for my taste buds.
But for pity’s sake, I turned up at the restaurant within 15 minutes of its doors opening for the first time and perfection isn’t achieved that swiftly.
And there were some absolute delights on the nicely-paced journey from amuse bouche to desserts.
Such as gougères – savoury choux buns – with 36-month-aged gouda which imparted an almost fruity tang to the light yet rich pastry.
Or an audaciously simple plate of baked Jersey royals liberally seasoned with sea salt and given a whack of sea flavours by caviar and seaweed butter.
A refreshing dish of heritage tomatoes came next with a gentle goats’ curd and an impeccably lively tomato consommé.
There was an incredibly deeply flavoured consommé later in the meal, too, dotted with squab pigeon leg meat and served with a soft, pink delicately gamey breast partnered by tangy orange and earthy beetroot.
Hogget was another highlight – flavoursome year-old sheep meat complemented wonderfully well by wild garlic and a jus that was sticky, clear amber and packed with flavour.
Then a pre-dessert of what must be Birmingham’s poshest cheese on toast – Lincolnshire poacher on thin slices of sourdough dressed with micro-leaves and accompanied by a home-made brown sauce.
Oh for another serving of the strawberry, rice and meringue combo that came next and before a rich and indulgent chocolate hazelnut and sea salt caramel finale.
Service throughout was attentive, efficient and knowledgable.
And the room itself – stripped back, light and shades of grey and beige – is pleasant.
Early days for Maribel, I know, but this is a place that I’m sure will be visited by a blubbery French bloke who looks remarkably like he’s constructed tyres.
It’s great to see Turner back in the game – and back in the running for a Michelin star.
Here’s the tasting menu…
6 Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2JB. 0121 633 4944.