Celebrity chef Glynn Purnell said the Warwickshire location of his pub and restaurant is “like Midsomer Murders but without the crime and death rate”. The chef, known as Yummie Brummie, made the comparison during an interview with Shakespeare’s England.
He was asked about Henley-in-Arden, the Warwickshire market town chosen as the location for The Mount, which opened last month. There has been huge interest in the project since it was announced earlier this year and the new site’s website was inundated with booking requests when it started taking pre-opening bookings.
Anyone trying to book a table at the restaurant will currently have to wait until June, unless they reverse a cancellation. However, the pub side of the business and the garden are walk-in and a more limited bar menu is available.
READ MORE:Glynn Purnell says he still comes to Coventry to open a restaurant
The Mount is located in High Street, Henley-in-Arden and is housed in a 200 year old former cider works. It previously housed the Butcher’s Social, which has moved. The premises are owned by couple Luke and Tania Fryer and operated by Glynn and have a team.
Asked about Henley in the recent Shakespeare in England interview, Glynn said: “Henley-in-Arden is a quintessentially English town. It’s like Midsomer Murders but without the crime and death rate. “It’s a great little town. It’s a stone’s throw from one of the most famous cities in the world, Stratford-upon-Avon, and it’s stunning.
“It’s so perfectly English. There is such a lovely local atmosphere. When you walk down the street, it makes me happy to be there.”
Glynn was also asked about the growing food scene in South Warwickshire and said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic. You say it’s growing, but I think it’s been there a long time.
“He probably hasn’t been highlighted as much as he is now. I used to work with Andreas Antona at The Cross – I was his Sous Chef at Simpson’s in Kenilworth. I know Adam Bennett.
“Mark Fry and Matt Cheal trained with me when I was Sous Chef at Simpson, so I know those two guys really well, and Matt is going to be just across the road now, so hopefully the see more I saw Mark just before Christmas and he is doing very well at Tailors in Warwick.
“Simon Haigh is a bit of a legend so it’s great that he’s returned to Mallory Court. He won a star there years and years ago and kept it for a decade so that would be great if it could happen again.
“Paul Foster is another phenomenal chef – I did a podcast with him and ate at Salt earlier this year and it was great. I keep in touch with a lot of them, and hope I can spending more time with them now, I’m going to be in South Warwickshire a bit more.
“The food scene here is already great, but if I can do my part to bring more attention to the quality of food in the area, then that’s even better. I think there’s an abundance of talent , and identifying one or two people would be difficult.
“I think Matt Cheal is doing a great job at Henley at the moment, and I’m happy to be a part of that scene. I always meet up-and-coming young chefs, and if I can give them advice, then I do.”
Other questions offered insight into the food at Mount. Glynn said: “What’s great about having a pub is that we can do absolute classics like breaded fish and chips, which is sustainable fish for day boats.
“We can offer a very good offer of a Herefordshire sirloin steak. We also play on things in a typically playful Purnell way.
“So starters include a cheddar custard, which is almost set, with sweet and sour tomatoes. Bringing a bit of Birmingham to the menu, we have a ham hock terrine with GP sauce (I tip my hat to the great HP Brummie sauce).”
He also pledged to make good use of local produce and said, “We will try to use as much local produce as possible. I’m already a big fan of Berkswell cheese. It’s delicious, and it’s always on the menu at Purnell’s.
Glynn was also asked about catering for vegetarians and vegans. He said: “Veganism has become massive. We welcome everyone through the doors of Purnell’s – vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians!
“We have vegan options on the Mount menu at the moment, and there are vegetarian options there, there are lots of fish options, so there is a good variety of items on the menu.
“We’ve seen an increase in veganism in restaurants, so we’ll just suck it up and see. If the demand is there, then the choice will expand.”
Glynn also had a lot to say about Warwickshire and its surroundings.
He said: ‘I worked at Kenilworth when Simpson was there and I actually live in North Warwickshire. I’ve spent a lot of time in Warwickshire – fishing on the Avon and taking day trips to places like Stratford. I also spend a lot of time in Solihull.
“I went to college in Solihull. I was actually going to open a place in Knowle before The Mount was created, but that didn’t work out, so Henley got me instead.
“Stratford-upon-Avon is a cracking place and Henley itself of course. I used to come to Henley and have a drink in the local pubs. Did a rafting trip down the River Avon in Stratford when I was younger, which was great, and I’ve fished some really great places in the area, so everywhere, really.
“Knowle is lovely. And Solihull – I love going to Touchwood for a bit of shopping and for a glass of wine. But my favorite place is probably Henley Ice Cream. It’s fantastic. I’ve been going there for years. “
Glynn was asked about her favorite cuisine and said, “I love all forms of cuisine. I like a little spice, but I also like solid British stuff. You can’t beat shepherd’s pie.
“I don’t mind a fagot or two. I love traditional cuisine as well as modern flavors, so it’s really hard to determine which is my favorite cuisine. Good food. That’s what I like.
At the end of the interview, Glynn was asked about his perfect day and said: “My perfect day would be a fly fishing spot, taking my two dogs – my Jack Russell, Pickle and my hunting dog to the retreat, Bracken – for a walk, good wine, good company and fresh air. Just a really cool day.
And he admitted one of his biggest inspirations was his late mother, saying: ‘She was a great cook. A good and solid cook at home. And a good, solid, honest person.”