Parlour is already a hot spot for many Londoners in the Kensal Rise area, a gastropub whose humor is reflected both on the menu and in the décor. If you’d prefer dinner with a heftier dash of flair and “wow,” do look into Parlour’s Chef’s Table – an exclusive prix fixe menu experience best for couples and groups who enjoy their dining experiences to be full of surprises.
The Chef’s Table at Parlour is the brainchild of Jesse Dunford Wood, an acclaimed, well-traveled chef with previous stints that include Mall Tavern, Le Gavroche, and Balthazar. Wood devotes himself exclusively to his Chef’s Table patrons each night booked, bringing his charisma and delightfully zany cooking style directly to his guests.
The magic takes place in Parlour’s semi-private booth (seats up to seven) adjacent to the kitchen, fitted with an open porthole that allows regular passers-by to peek and gawk with envy. Guests are not told what’s on the menu beforehand; guests are not aware how many courses will be served – the only givens are to come with empty stomachs, and that the price is £50 ($75) per person, excluding drinks and gratuity. Wood tells guests upon arrival that they’ll never know how much is coming, and to prepare themselves for “a tsunami of food.” This tsunami, one will discover, usually consists of six generous courses and one of the most extravagant desserts one could possibly fathom.
The Chef’s Table menu changes at his whim, but guests can expect novel plates such as McTucky’s popcorn chicken nuggets (with real popcorn); chestnut hummus with rosemary flatbread; smoked salmon and salmon skin served on a large plank; and the raw vegetable ravioli: a pasta-less plate of goat’s cheese with beetroot, cranberries, capers, kohlrabi and red cabbage.
Though guests are entertained by Wood’s sharp wit and edgy charm throughout the evening, the real theatre begins once dessert is introduced. The chef briskly clears the table and hands his unknowing diners sets of wireless headphones, playing jingle-ready Willy Wonka and Mary Poppins tunes followed by a round of smoke enveloping the booth. He then lays out a table-length spread of tin foil and proceeds to lash its surface with caramel, raspberry, and chocolate sauces before he places his desserts. At the end of his dramatic, 10-minute presentation, guests are left with a confectionary extravaganza: rolled cheesecake; chestnut macarons; s’mores made on-site (with a blowtorch); four arctic roll variations; Eaton mess; rhubarb soufflé; “kosher” black pudding with nuts, rhubarb jello, spiced egg nog, and caramel custard with biscotti; green apple sliced in loops; shortbread with caramelized bananas; and chocolate truffles (this being a partial list).
If you’re one that wouldn’t mind a bit of theatre and unpredictability with your dinner, book Parlour’s exclusive Chef’s Table sitting post-haste…and be sure to come with an open mind and a ravenous appetite.