Parlour in Kensal Green
Parlour in Kensal Green is a new venture headed by genius chef Jesse Dunford Wood. In a spacious converted pub, tiled walls, vintage touches and comfortable booth seating make for a relaxed and stylish atmosphere. The menus aim to make a visit at any time worthwhile, as the kitchen serves, from 10am to 11pm each day, all-day breakfasts, overlapping brunches, and lunch-to-dinner options.
Already up and running is the chef’s table, which can be booked for up to seven people, and is highly recommended for a wonderful and entertaining feast. Here, we were privileged to try out a range of treats from the dinner menu, as well as some experimental off-menu inventions from the irrepressible creativity of Dunford Wood. The menu is rewritten weekly (some staples are constant) in tune with seasonal ingredients and the inspiration of the chef, and such reinvention is a sign of excellence.
Starters include Fresh Warm Soda Bread, which is an excellent bake, almost like a tangy gingerbread. The Chestnut Hummus is a revelation with a curious sweetness, incredibly fine texture and tastes like Christmas. It comes with Rosemary Pitta Bread, a perfectly judged balance of a sometimes-overwhelming flavour. You might guess at what McTucky’s Popcorn Chicken Nuggets are likely to be, but they happily turn out as far from the high-street version as possible – these are moreish, tasty morsels.
The “Back Door” Smoked Salmon is so-called because it is actually smoked at the back door of the kitchen. Is there anything that Parlour has not refined and perfected? It turns out no, as the salmon has a delicate flavour and melts in the mouth. Chicken Liver Pâté with Pickled Onions is a pretty dish, silky smooth with a light texture and refined flavour. It comes with Yesterday’s Bread, fine crunchy crisps of the toasted soda bread.
The chef has a wicked sense of humour and a retro turn of phrase. He’d rather intrigue in his menu than list ingredients. Raw Vegetable “Ravioli” with Goat’s Cheese may not sound like the most enticing dish, but it arrives looking like a bouquet of roses on a plate. The micro-thin slices of beetroots and kohlrabi house a puff of cool goat’s cheese, and a scatter of dressing adorns the plate. As Dunford Wood states, he’d rather over deliver on expectations.
Cow Pie and Chicken Kyiv are the two most popular dinner dishes at Parlour. The former looks hilarious and intriguing, with a spout of bone marrow, breadcrumbs and parsley extruding from its centre. It is hearty, tasty fare, with great big tender chunks of beef in gravy, and wonderful pastry. The latter sits on a hash brown, which becomes gloriously soaked with garlic butter as the chicken is cut.
At the chef’s table, diners get to try a bit of all the deserts, as the chef rolls out foil and makes a beautiful arrangement with sauces and sprinkles, slices and sweets before your very eyes. It’s all great fun and a bit Willy Wonka, and then you get to eat it all. Remade 70s classics like Waggon Wheel biscuits and Arctic Rolls allow everyone to feel like they are let loose in a sweetshop.
The place is beautiful, the drinks well chosen, the food exceptional and the prices reasonable: a local venue not just for locals.
To book a table at Parlour, 5 Regent Street, London NW10 5LG, call 020 8969 2184 or visit here.