Ben Allen unveils debut menu at The Parakeet pub in Kentish town
The Parakeet, Kentish Town’s brand new pub and dining room, has just opened with an exciting debut Menu from ex-Brat chef Ben Allen alongside sous chef Ed Jennings. Guests can expect a selection of modern European dishes created using locally sourced, regional ingredients, which will be cooked over an open fire at the restaurant’s custom grill. Allen, a born-and-bred North Londoner, brings to the table his experience at fine dining restaurants including world-renowned Brat and the two-Michelin-star Steirereck in Austria.
Starters on the opening menu include Potato Bread and Smoked Butter; Poached Oyster with Pickled Elderflower; and Spider Crab Croquette. Main dishes on offer feature the likes of Braised Leeks, Pecorino sauce and Smoked Mushrooms; Lamb Chop and Artichoke; Beef Rump, Braised Turnips and Nettles; Trout, Sea Herbs and Butter Sauce; and Wood Roasted Rabbit, Kohlrabi and Curry Leaf along with sharing dishes of Grilled Sea Bream (cooked over embers till crispy and lightly sprayed with a dashi vinaigrette) and Ox-Cheek (slow cooked in the wood oven overnight in a sauce made with red wine and black peppercorns). Meanwhile, the dessert section comprises treats such as Rhubarb and Buckwheat Tart; Brown Butter Ice Cream; and Chocolate Torte.
Allen says: “Our opening seasonal menu at The Parakeet is informed by a European style of cooking with lots of vegetables; light, clean flavours balanced with fatty and rich proteins; and using high-quality ingredients from local and sustainable suppliers. This, along with the combination of cooking over fire, creates a unique dining experience that doesn’t overcomplicate great-tasting food. We’d like to think of it as relaxed, unfussy, and accessible to everybody.”
Regenerative agriculture plays a key role in the suppliers with whom the pub works, and includes vegetables from Flourish (a regenerative farm in Cambridgeshire who grow heritage species of vegetables that are farmed in a way that captures carbon and nutrients in the soil, giving more flavourful crops that are better for the planet), Matt Chatfield (The Cornwell Project raises mutton in the same way as Iberico pork, meaning female sheep are put to pasture in woodland and on herbal lays, giving them a deep grassy flavour while also improving soil health and capturing carbon) and Farm Wilder ( a social enterprise consisting of farms which use cattle in a regenerative system and improving biodiversity).
The Parakeet will also serve a wine list centring around biodynamic and low-intervention bottles – visitors can expect this to feature selections from producers including Seasmoke, J Rochioli, and red and whites from Jayne Ayre (a former Australian hairdresser now making pinot noir as well as chardonnay in Burgundy), with cofounder Riz Shaikh commenting: “Our featured wines are made by wineries and winemakers that go to great lengths to ensure their practices will not impact the ecosystems they operate in. Nearly all our wines are natural, organic, biodynamic or have a commitment to hands-off winemaking. A personal favourite is a Babera from Pira made by Chiara Boschis, one of the great female winemakers of Italy”.
Occupying the space of the former prominent Victorian landmark pub The Oxford Tavern on Kentish Town Road, the new venue retains much of its local character, featuring its own separate food and drinks menu for spontaneous locals stopping by. Throughout the rooms, the interior, lighting and ornate antique furnishing have been designed to complement the ample natural light and airy space.
Photo: Justin de Souza
The Parakeet Pub, 256 Kentish Town Road London NW5 2AA, is now open. Bookings can be made via the website here.