We were nervous going to Plates by Purnell’s because we rated its predecessor, Pinxtos a lot. It was an absolute gem in the city. Like nowhere else it served delicious Spanish tapas in an environment that felt authentic – buzzy, friendly, casual and intimate. It felt so Spanish that our mate wheeled out his best GCSE español without a second thought!
It turns out our worries were needless because aside from the logo on the signage and menus, you wouldn’t know the difference. The place hasn’t lost any of its charm – if you picked up the restaurant and popped it back down in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter, it would slot right in and no doubt it would be packed every night.
It’s small, so expect a bit of a squeeze but the kind you’d relish if you were on a city break somewhere more exotic than Brum. Despite two lively chefs working from an open kitchen the size of a small car, the food is brilliant. It’s not fancy but it is delicious. Simple sounding dishes like bread with olive oil and tomato are elevated to mouth-watering and that’s some skill.
We cooed over plate after plate of food such as oozing, crisp cheese croquetas, perfectly charred padron peppers, juicy garlicky prawns, punchy patatas bravas and a rich flavour packed cassoulet of chickpeas. Dishes range from £2 for smoked anchovies to £9 for a more substantial plate and we recommend three to four dishes per person. In truth we could have grazed the afternoon away working our way through the entire menu, but work got in the way…
Perhaps the drinks menu could do with a bit of attention – in fact the place has a ‘bring your own’ vibe that we can’t really explain as it’s not, so please don’t rock up with a couple of bottles under your arm! It’s the kind of place we’d lap up if we were on holiday and it’s on our bloomin’ doorstep. Whether you pop in and grab a stool by the floor to ceiling windows or hunker down in a cosy corner, you’re in for a treat. Use it or lose it Brummies – this little foodie addition should be a keeper.