The Parlour in Canary Wharf
It seems apt to first describe The Parlour, situated in Canada Square Park, as a bar with a restaurant appendage. Canary Wharf is inundated with establishments that tread the familiar path of serving ubiquitous and serviceable food in a gussied up atmosphere – think burger and chips served on a wooden platter, or as The Parlour sees fit, burgers brought to the table on giant, red plastic trays.
The menu is vast and explores nigh on every cuisine you could possibly imagine, but only in terms of quantity and to the place’s detriment. It’s eminently possible to cook a British classic like Sausages and Mash in the same kitchen as a wok that’s preparing a Pad Thai Stir Fry, but doing it with any degree of success is an entirely different matter.
Two delicious cocktails arrived before we ordered from the “Small Plates” section. Prosciutto, Fig and Truffle Honey Crostinis were fine, the figs with a jam-like texture and the prosciutto doing well under the sweet scent of honey. An authoritative hum of garlic had been rubbed on the bread, though beyond that, the dish was nothing more than an exercise in good shopping and straightforward thinking. More inventive – at least upon reading – was a Skillet of Prawns with Chilli, Garlic and Lime and Flatbreads. The prawns were plump and well-cooked but the advertised holy trinity of flavour had failed to survive the journey from kitchen to plate. Instead, the prawns struggled amid a puddle of largely tasteless and cloying, greasy oil.
Having skipped the offerings in the “Woods, Pastures & Gardens” section of the menu (implicitly focused on healthy salads, punctuated by calorie counts at the end of each dish description), the Roast Lamb Rump with Pumpkin Mash seemed a dependable choice, ordered from the “Large Plates” segment and served on a zeitgeist wooden board. The rump of lamb was small and perhaps as a consequence overcooked, with the accompanying pumpkin mash served in a twee copper pot. Fortunately, the mash itself was delicious: buttery, autumnal root vegetables were topped with freshly ground black pepper, a welcome if slightly delayed introduction of flavour to the meal.
Elsewhere, a Teriyaki Salmon Burger with Cucumber Relish, served on the aforementioned tray, was yet again lacking in the promised tastes. Instead of experiencing the delightful collision of these classic flavours, the salmon laboriously dried in the mouth with a near imperceptible whiff of Japan failing to complement it. Alongside the fish were some undercooked chips, though at least their addition made the school dinner shtick more convincing.
The less said about a small wire basket of courgette fries the better (a questionable concept, an unpalatable reality that confirmed the courgettes’ flowers to be the only part worth frying).
Cocktails and service were both good and for that reason, The Parlour is certainly somewhere worth visiting for afterwork drinks or if you’re parched and in the area. Best not to go on an empty stomach though, unless you’re only looking for something to soak up the highly agreeable alcohol.
Photos: Krish Nagari
The Parlour: 38/60
To book a table at The Parlour, The Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square Park, London E14 5FW, call 0845 468 0100 or visit here.