Glynn Purnell Opens New Café & Bistro In Coventry

17 April 2023

Michelin Star Chef Glynn Purnell has announced that his new café & bistro at Charterhouse, one of Coventry’s most historic buildings, will open on Thursday 27 April.

The Grade I listed fourteenth century Carthusian monastery – one of only ten ever built in Britain – is owned by Historic Coventry Trust and completed a £12m restoration project in March this year, part funded by a grant of over £6m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Charterhouse is a stunning oasis in the heart of Coventry and a major new visitor attraction for the region.

Purnell and Historic Coventry Trust Chairman Ian Harrabin have worked together with Birmingham-based architects BPN and PCPT on the plans for Glynn’s fourth eatery. Following seven years of hard work, the Grade I listed Charterhouse off London Road welcomed visitors for the first time on Saturday 1 April, and Purnell’s Café & Bistro at Charterhouse opens its doors on Thursday 27 April.

The 14th Century building features three carefully restored and conserved wall paintings and a newly revitalised garden as well as the brand-new café bar. Named Purnell’s Café & Bistro at Charterhouse, the indoor and outdoor venue will operate during the day as well as bringing a special evening destination to Coventry, as it will remain open after Charterhouse itself has closed.

Following the success of The Mount by Glynn Purnell opening in Henley-in-Arden in March 2022, Glynn said it was an ambition of his to further expand his businesses outside of Birmingham:

“I am thrilled and proud to be part of what is unquestionably an amazing venue. Charterhouse is a remarkable building of national importance and the project to restore it has been fantastic. Ian and his team at Historic Coventry Trust have seen their vision and plans for Charterhouse become an attraction of regional and national standing. It is an honour to be part of one of the most important times in Coventry’s history as it enjoys its legacy from UK City of Culture. Bringing the Purnell’s brand to the city of Coventry is very exciting, especially to be doing so on such a historic ground.

It is a massive opportunity to bring such a strong food brand into Coventry and to hopefully be the catalyst of an explosive new food culture, as I was in Birmingham in the early 2000s. My award-winning team and I will bring a stunning café & bistro which will offer an all-day menu centering around simplicity and seasonality, taking the very best ingredients and respectfully combining them to deliver the most incredible flavours.”

Ian Harrabin, Chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, said, “Following the successful opening of Charterhouse visitor attraction earlier this month, we are delighted to have Glynn and his award-winning team now opening the Café & Bistro. The Café & Bistro is not only a great addition to Charterhouse, but an exciting culinary destination for the city. We look forward to welcoming people from Coventry, Warwickshire and across the UK to immerse themselves in more than 600 years of history and enjoy the mouth-watering offering available onsite.”

Purnell added: “Our welcoming, beautiful new café & bistro offers a wide range of delicious food and beverages within a unique and historic setting. We will use locally sourced ingredients to produce mouth-watering combinations, with great wines and other drinks to match. The stunning views of the Charterhouse heritage park, with equally incredible food, will offer something that not only Coventry can be proud of, but the whole country, placing the city firmly on the culinary map.

The aim is that Purnell’s Café & Bistro at Charterhouse will provide an all-day experience for Coventry locals as well as visitors to Charterhouse. With a field-to-fork ethos of making the most of the amazing produce being grown in the garden on site, Purnell’s Café & Bistro at Charterhouse will provide visitors with some much-needed respite after a busy morning immersing themselves in the history of Charterhouse. Our cake counter will be a veritable feast for those visitors who have a sweet tooth. Freshly made cakes, pastries, snacks and hot drinks are on offer for those wishing to enjoy elevenses or a mid-afternoon treat, and the café & bistro also offers a ‘small plates’ menu with wine, champagne and other drinks available for those wishing to enjoy a celebratory lunch or evening meal.”

Often called the ‘Yummy Brummie’, Purnell started cooking professionally at the age of 14. He served his apprenticeship at the Metropole Hotel at the NEC, gaining experience in every department from banqueting to the A La Carte Terrace Restaurant, where he discovered his talent and passion for fine dining. It wasn’t long before he began winning awards including the prestigious Salon Culinaire. His next professional step was as Chef de Partie at Simpson’s Restaurant in Kenilworth where he progressed to the position of Sous Chef under Andreas Antona. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star and Glynn went on to win many accolades within the industry.

After training with top chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes and Claude Bosi, Glynn travelled abroad to work with well-known Michelin starred chefs in Europe. He went on to help launch Jessica’s in Edgbaston in July 2003, which was awarded Birmingham’s first Michelin star back in 2005. Glynn is now the proud owner of two establishments in Birmingham; Purnell’s Restaurant on Cornwall Street, which opened in July 2007 and was awarded a Michelin star in 2009, which it has retained every year since; and Plates by Purnell’s on Edmund Street, which opened in February this year and was listed in the Michelin Guide within two months of opening.

Glynn became a household name after taking part in The Great British Menu, winning twice and then later appearing as a mentor. He has previously featured on The Great British Food Revival and The Secret Chef, among other television programmes. He can regularly be seen on Saturday Kitchen as a host and guest chef. He presented the latest series of My Kitchen Rules UK alongside Rachel Allen on Channel 4.