Januarycan be a dull month. Following the excesses of Christmas, many of us feel like we should probably give our bodies at least a couple of weeks rest from gorging and live on nothing but rabbit food. There is one big upside though, and that is that the sane ones amongst us who are not dieting find it much easier to get tables in restaurants where we can carry on the bacchanalian excess of the festive season and forget those stupid resolutions we made.
We chose to forget all our well-intentioned resolutions at Parlour in Kensal Green. Near enough to Notting Hill to attract the young, attractive, well-off West London crowd, it is slightly too far north to attract the more annoying ‘Made in Chelsea’ Sloane Rangers. Situated just around the corner from quality boozer Paradise by way of Kensal Green, the area has a lot going for it. Parlour itself retains a lot of quaint early 20th century charm with reclaimed tables and retro tiled walls, giving a vaguely hipster atmosphere.
We weren’t just here to appreciate the view though, so we kicked off our meal with ‘McTucky’s popcorn chicken nuggets and fried Brie. The popcorn chicken is clearly supposed to echo the KFC product of the same name but couldn’t be more different, a huge bowl of fried chicken with spicy coating covered in actual popcorn, giving it a sesame-like taste. The deep fried cheese was gooey and rich as it should be, served with homemade cranberry sauce.
Having set the bar high, the mains would have to go some way to impress us…The sea bass was delicately flavoured and complemented with potted shrimp and broccoli, but the star of the show was the cow pie. Evoking Desperate Dan’s favourite dish, this was something even the most creative comic writer wouldn’t dare create. The dish was family sized (providing there’s eight or more in your family) and shouldn’t be attempted by one person. In the centre of the pie, a hollowed out bone was used as a chimney to allow steam to escape, preventing the pastry from becoming soggy. The bone marrow from the hollowed bone was presented on top of the pie, a gloriously rich accompaniment to the quality beef below.
Having eaten more pie than is healthy, we had to split a dessert, opting for the giant wagon wheel, a playful riff on the old school biscuit. Two giant chocolate covered cookies were delivered to our table, one with a handful of marshmallows piled on it. The waiter then produced a huge welding torch and melted the marshmallow at the table, nothing like a bit of gastro-theatre. Sandwiching the two cookies together, it provided the perfect finish to a fantastic meal.
The Parlour also prides itself on it’s range of beers, from rare imports and unusual brands to their very own in-house brew. It would have been rude not to sample it of course, and we can report that Parlour lager is very refreshing and light with a malty taste.
The Parlour is the perfect balance of quality food, creativity and showmanship and all very good value too. Just be prepared to give up the diet when you visit.
5 Regent Street, NW10 5LG