Turners at 69: a verdict

A belated first visit to Richard Turner’s restaurant since he ditched his elaborate tasting menus and embraced a plainer style of cooking.

Verdict? His ability as a prodigiously talented chef committed to quality still shines through. The new format is a winner.
Which is probably why Turners at 69 this month retained its Michelin star, despite the eponymous owner discarding the usual frippery of fashionable restaurants of that status.
The decor remains recognisable, though the room has been tweaked.
But the menu has changed radically and is now full of classic and standard dishes of a style that people crave to eat.

The food

A starter of heritage tomatoes of various hues served with tangy Innes Farm curd was a beautiful dish, perked up by basil and leaves.
It’s perhaps tempting to yawn at yet anther riff on the theme of tomatoes and cheese.

But the thing was elevated to a far higher level by a sort of clear tomato essence – a crystal clear liquid of extraordinary flavour and balance.
An intermediary course – not yet on the menu – combined raw scallop barely cooked by the rich velouté poured on top at table.

Mussels and caviar gave the dish a real depth of oceanic flavour.
Next came a properly medium-rare chunk of longhorn sirloin beautifully seasoned, plated with the traditional accompaniments.

Bearnaise sauce was rich, fragrant with tarragon and enlivened by the correct level of vinegar and lemon.
Fat chips cooked in duck fat were perfect and a side order of peas à la Francaise – that classic dish combing the vegetable with bacon and lettuce – was a delightfully nostalgic touch.
Desserts proved beyond my dainty frame after such substantial food.
Which is a great shame because I was terribly tempted by the tart tatin.

Need to know

Expect to pay around £48 for three courses, with wine extra.
There’s a lunch menu with two courses for £18.99 or three for £24.99.
There are vegetarian options.
The place is accessible for the disabled.
There’s a P&D car park nearby.

Turners at 69
69 High Street, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9NS. 0121 426 4440.

My lunch at Turners was by invitation.