Jesse Dunford-Wood is a classically trained chef who cooks in an unpromising looking pub down a quiet street in Kensal Rise. He particularly enjoys taking clichéd dishes from the 1970s and modernising them, so on the menu you will see dishes such as “arctic roll” and his take on “chicken Kiev”. As well as the regular menu there is a chef’s table option with a surprise menu that I highly recommend; it is a very inventive and entertaining experience, but you need a group of people for this.
At a recent meal, chicken liver pate with figs and honey (from nearby Cricklewood) had deep flavour and smooth texture, the figs providing the acidity to balance the richness of the liver and sweetness of the local honey. This was a dish of which many Michelin-starred kitchens would be proud (15/20). Salmon smoked in-house was as excellent as ever, served with excellent soda bread that is made from scratch in the kitchen. The flavour of the salmon was much superior to the commercial smoked salmon used in many high-end London restaurants (16/20).
Chicken Kyiv is a modern take on the 1970s cliché dish, here the chicken sphere packed with garlic butter, encased in fried breadcrumbs and served with coleslaw and a base of potato. (15/20). Vegetarian Scotch egg was interesting, using a nut roast in place of the usual meat centre, the egg cooked soft, the coating crisp, served with a little coleslaw on the side (14/20).
For dessert, pear soufflé was light and fluffy, with good fruit flavour and with sliced pear served on the side (15/20). Vanilla ice cream with blackberries and apple was very pleasant (13/20). Service was friendly, and the bill came to £39 a head. If you shared a modest bottle of wine from the list then a typical cost per head would be around £45. The cooking at Parlour is genuinely high class, making the very best out of basic ingredients. The food here is better than many lauded central London restaurants, and is a bargain to boot.