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SIMP-ly the best! Michelin-starred Simpsons is top of four in the city to make it on to a list of the best 100 places to dine outside London. Sanjeeta Bains reports.

FOUR Birmingham restaurants have been named among the "very best eating experiences in the UK today".

Michelin-starred Simpsons in Edgbaston, Adam's and Purnell's in the city centre, as well as Turner's At 69 were listed among the top 100 restaurants outside London.

The poll is based on the votes of Square Meal guide readers and reviewers across regions of the UK but not including the capital.

Simpsons was named 25th best UK restaurant outside London, Adam's was 38th, Purnell's was voted 51st and Turner's At 69 came 95th in the list.

Michelin-starred Carters Of Moseley and Peel's Restaurant at Hampton Manor, in Solihull, which won its star in the 2017 guide published last year, did not make the list.

The Square Meal guide posts up-to-date reviews of UK restaurants and bars, written by a team of independent critics with the aid of comments from thousands of restaurant customers A spokesperson said: "Whether at a white-tableclothed bastion of formal fine dining, a gastropub serving some of the tastiest food in the county, or a casual, city-centre Asian cafe, a meal in any of these restaurants will be among the very best eating experiences you will find in the UK today.

"Every year we compile the list based on the votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2017.

"Thousands of readers took part in our search to find the UK's best restaurants and the results were moderated by Square Meal's editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. We conducted our survey in May and June this year, so you can rest assured that this is the freshest UK list there is."

Gastropub The Sportsman, in Seasalter, Kent, came top in the Square Meal list, Raymond Blanc's Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons, in Oxfordshire, was second and two-Michelin-starred Simon Rogan's L'Enclume, in Cumbria, came third.

Here is what voters said about the Birmingham restaurants: SIMPSONS (25) "Overseen by chef director Luke Tipping, this venue delivers topdrawer modern food with real vision - whether you pick the set lunch or the brilliant tasting menu. Measured, thoughtful technique and a respect for the seasons underpin everything, from a starter of Evesham tomatoes with flamed mackerel, tomato and coriander broth to Brixham cod with smoked eel, onions and monk's beard or Cornish lamb with potato puree, black garlic, baby leeks and hispi cabbage. To conclude, desserts such as gooseberry souffle with elderflower ice cream emphasise Simpson's pedigree. A serious French-accented wine list adds further gravitas, although staff bring some unaffected local charm to proceedings. Simpsons is a big shout for special occasions too."

ADAM'S (38) "On offer is a choice of 'unbelievable' menus defined by clever, playful conceits and terse dish descriptions - from 'scallop, white wine, eel, grape' to 'pigeon, mushroom ketchup, rhubarb, pickled carrot' or 'duck, beetroot, kale.' .' Opening salvos might include a punchy combo of veal sweetbread, hen of the woods (mushrooms), black pudding and golden raisins, while seasonally inclined desserts could feature raspberries in company with lemon curd, meringue and sherbet. Lunch is a more straightforward prospect, but whatever you choose, this headturning Brummie challenger is bang on the money for a city with an ever-rising foodie profile.

PURNELL'S (51) "As one of the original stars of Birmingham's resurgent foodie scene, local boy Glyn Purnell's flagship restaurant knows exactly how to satisfy its customers by offering a series of audacious tasting menus full of kooky but highly convincing ideas. The version entitled 'Purnell's journey' might take you from 'peach barley, whipped feta, red grape and rosemary' to a tartlet of white chocolate, raspberry and mint, while '10 years in the making' features the likes of '1,2,3,4,5... once I caught a fish alive!' (Orkney scallop, pickled mooli, smoked eel and lumpfish roe) or roast loin of veal with mousseron duxelle, Wye Valley asparagus, yeast extract and sauce albufera."

TURNER'S AT 69 (95) "Following a shake-up, Richard Turner re-branded his quirky Harborne restaurant, extending the opening times and replacing his intricate tasting menus with a more accessible, customerfriendly carte offering 'great value for the quality on offer'. Turner is a chef 'who believes in letting the food do the talking', although there are 'no ridiculous combinations' on his lively seasonal line-up - just straight-talking, creative modern ideas.

To start, smoked eel might be paired with scallops, horseradish and nasturtium, while mains could run from turbot with oxtail, brassicas and yeast to rare-breed pork with mustard, cabbage, prunes, apple and marjoram.

"After that, go for 'properly matured' cheeses or something sweetly comforting - perhaps raspberry souffle or duck-egg creme brulee with vanilla, Yorkshire rhubarb and strawberry. To drink, there's a choice of eclectic wines and a fascinating selection of foodfriendly bottled beers (put together with help from Warwickshire's Purity Brewing Co)."
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 4, 2017
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