This was my second meal at Parlour, just before Christmas. Chef Jesse Dunford Wood moved here, to a location that an estate agent might describe as "north Holland Park" but in reality is Kensal Rise, from The Mall Tavern. Soda bread is made from scratch in the kitchen, not too heavy and with very good flavour (15/20). Scallops (£8.50) were served with mushrooms, a potato tuile wrapped around mashed potato and a sherry vinaigrette. The scallops were cooked nicely, the tuile was crisp and the sherry gave some balance to the dish; my only comment is that it was a very large portion for a starter, though that is hardly a complaint (14/20). A salad with fennel, carrots and mixed leaves and herbs was simple but nicely dressed (13/20).
Turkey Kyiv (aka Kiev at £15) was a seasonal take on the trademark chicken Kiev usually served here. Turkey is hardly the tastiest of birds, so frying it with a filling of garlic butter is about the best thing that could ever be done with it, avoiding dryness. What was impressive in this dish were the little touches: coleslaw was surprisingly good, its red cabbage crisp and with a precisely judged mayonaisse dressing, and on the side was a hash brown nicely flavoured with rosemary, crisp on the outside (14/20). It is one thing to take, say, langoustine or turbot and produce a good dish, but it takes skill to make coleslaw exciting. Sea bass (£17) was carefully cooked, served with broccoli and almonds (14/20).
For dessert, cranberry and clementine jelly (£6) was an unusual dish, evoking childhood memories of jelly. However jelly was never quite like this, at least in my childhood, the fruit fresh, the texture light (14/20). Apple and blackcurrant soufflé (£8) was just as good as last time, cooked evenly through with light texture, the fruit just sharp enough (easily 14/20).
The bill, with one of the priciest bottles on the list and a glass of dessert wine, came to £65 a head for three courses, with drinks. Given the level of skill demonstrated in this understated yet delicious meal, this was a bargain. With a modest wine you could eat here for much less. A three course lunch is just £12.50 - Parlour magic.