British Food Flying Ahead @ The Parlour, Kensal Rise

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Wicked Courgette Patterning and Blue Cheese Custard

Positive reviews of The Parlour had hit me. Brazilian born Head Chef Jesse Dunford Wood is an expert in modern British cooking – appearing on Celebrity MasterChef. The menu is chic, inventive and pulls off a great twist on traditional British food!

My first visit to The Parlour was a drinking occasion. I tested a “Neanderthal Dinosaur Egg” and wasn’t impressed. A well-cooked hard-boiled egg served on a haystack of parsley stems with mayonnaise and celery salt. Underwhelmed.

My second visit to The Parlour was a warm August afternoon with my 6-month-old god daughter and her mum. The food was rave-able.

From beginning to end the package was charming. A great bar team, warm non-intrusive service and classy food assured me I would return. Top marks for treatment – perfect for a modern middle class British pub.

IMG_4049Sharing food makes me happy. On-the-house bread arrived before we could say Rumpelstiltskin – perfect. Hot, fresh, brown soda bread with a wedge of creamy butter. We chose a starter and a main to share: “Blue Cheese ‘Custard’ with Lots of Bits to Dip” and “Chicken Kyiv”. I was an eager beaver for the blue cheese arrival. It was yummy. Creamy light, almost aerated blue cheese topped with caramelised breadcrumbs aided by a great dipping medley: crunchy raw veg and crisp Melba toast. Bloody great. Authentic British ingredients twisted into a contemporary fresh appetiser. Radishes dunked in blue cheese ‘custard’ were a winner.

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“Blue cheese ‘custard’ with lots of bits to dip”

For main: the ‘notorious’ “Chicken Kyiv”. It was the size of a football. Chicken Kiev the size of a football? Come at me like Maradona’s left foot has booted you! Balanced on a hash brown and whole grain mustard coleslaw it looked banging. My diner and I agreed the Kiev was less gripping. I mean, everything tasted okay and had been cooked well but elements lacked innovation – specifically the oversized portion of coleslaw bathed in copious expanses of wholegrain mustard. It was overpowering and killed the thrill of the ginormous Kiev. The Kiev oozed out garlic sauce when released and tasted decent but how good can a Chicken Kiev be?

The alcohol is rock and rolling. A “Beeropedia” selection of craft and tap ales, largers, stouts and ciders – predominantly local micro-breweries. The cocktail list is short, sweet and fair priced. Including, house made twists on an “Old Fashioned” and “Gin Fizz” – full of infused spirits. Popcorn infused Four Roses Bourbon? Why not!

Taste: 7

Atmosphere: 7.5

Drinks: 8

Staff: 8

Value for Money: 7

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