Usual soundbites from a parlour would include “what colour would you like your poodles nails painting?” or in the dairy world “that one’s called Daisy”… however on our visit this weekend, to The Parlour in Kensal Rise we were greeted by the question “are you ready to be assaulted by food?”, and with elasticated waistbands at the ready and a gallantly famished hangover in tow, we accepted the challenge.
Jesse Dunford Wood, the charismatic epicurean and head chef at The Parlour lead us through to The Chefs Table.
Sat in a wooden paneled booth, that faced the fully staffed kitchen, we waited, expecting posh beans on toast or perhaps an Instagram worth avocado – but we got much more than that.
With a fiery Bloody Mary in paw and (ironically) a pint of Love Not War in my guest’s palm, we discussed game tactics and prepared ourselves for the pre-warned assault.
The first dishes to arrive were all dip-able delicacies. Organic radishes in various shades of lipstick pink or buttercup yellow (full with the leafy stalky bits on) which were to be dunked in English butter and sea salt.
Nestling in straw came delicate pheasant’s eggs that were oozing with flavour, ready to be dipped in the hollandaise and sprinkled with celery salt.
Inspired by one of Jesse’s favourite restaurants (KFC) the popcorn chicken came intermingled with actual buttery popcorn all of which, again dunk-able in paprika dusted aioli.
Whilst narrating each course, Jesse next brought over a jar of rich duck liver pate with marmalade and cold toast so finely sliced it had curled and alongside this a dollop of humous, which used chestnuts in the place of chickpeas.
Minding our own business the table was suddenly divided by a huge plank of wood. Jesse had slid through the concourse of wine glasses and small dishes ‘smoking wood’ which held thick slices of oak smoked salmon with dill and caviar, and on the side a nutty soda bread and butter to carry the morsel.
A course which was somewhat of a breather, was served in a mini brass sauce pan. Inside was a fresh green salad; butter beans, waxed beans, French beans, runner beans – you name it – all tossed in a hazelnut dressing, which was then lavishly seasoned with fresh, black truffle.
Still we were yet to reach the main course yet.
Vintage candle stick holders were brought to the table, holding a hollowed out blue duck egg. Inside the egg was a sweet, Stilton based custard, layered with crunchy hazelnut praline and a marmite-less homemade twiglet to scoop with.
The large plates on the menu were; place with oyster leaves, seaweed, samphire, broad beans and sweet peas which was decorated with little purple flowers. This was mixed and matched with my guests slices of pink pork chop with crackling and a fresh tomato and basil seed salad.
Thinking it was all over, Jesse reappeared from the kitchen wavering fish slice was in front of our noses and instructing us to put on some silent disco style headphones.
Whilst they played a medley of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Mary Poppins classics, Jesse coated the table in tin foil. To the sound of the music he splashed and dashed the length of the table with chocolate sauce, raspberry coli, lemon curd, vanilla yogurt and toffee sauces. After which Jesses set about creating a landscape of deserts; elder flower jelly with a vanilla panna cotta base, homemade smores (which were scorched in front of us), Hubbabuba ice cream, Terrys Chocolate Orange Battenberg cake, slices of chocolate black pudding, salt caramel balls, Eaton Mess (not very messy, ready to be messed), apple and almond soufflé and many others which were all decorated with a dollop or a dash of vanilla cream or garnished with fresh fruit.
Much more than I was ready for, I left gobsmacked (and gob full).
Combining fine English dining with our renowned obscure sense of humour, this is a dining experience that collaborates fine food and fun in one fail swoop.
5 Regent Street