Posts Tagged ‘speakeasy’

Brunch at The Parlour

Canary Wharf seems, from a distance a futuristic forest of glass towers. Without working there, it is easy to imagine a constant current of commuters, tube-work-sleep, grey and silver, no fun. It is however an amazing place with green spaces, fountains, sculptures.  The Thames is nearby, restaurants open on terraces, families come over the week-end with bikes and buggies to enjoy the promenade. At the week-end, the neighbourhood switches to a softer mood -  so why not start the day with a brunch at The Parlour?

This fabulous address belongs to the Drake & Morgan family and you probably already know The Refinery, The Folly, The Anthologist and The Drift. Each has its own very original and design universe, different all along the room. You can lose track of time by looking at all the details, the cocoon atmosphere. The Parlour mixes inspiration from home and garden in the furniture, summer colour aniseed, sky blue, bright yellow, aromatic herbs on the tables, comfy armchairs and sofas, a play on heights. The result is a very refreshing alfresco effect.

Here, the art of breakfast cocktails is brought to perfection -  the perfect festive note for a brunch. At the heart of the room is a counter displaying all the ingredients of a Bloody Mary. Oh, not only the usual recipe, a whole list of alternatives: whisky, tequila, sauvignon rather than vodka, pickles, clamato juice. Change a tiny detail and you rediscover it entirely. The same, yet entirely different -  a cryptic sentence that suddenly means something. The menu proposes, amongst many others, the Celery Mary (Ketel One vodka,  tomato and celery juice,  lemon juice, strawberry basalmic vinegar, salt, pepper and tabasco) and the Caprese Mary (Ketel One vodka,  tomato and celery juice, basil julienne, strawberry basalmic vinegar, cherry tomatoes, celery salt, black pepper). Each week, new creations are put forward or if a specific idea really intrigues you, ask them! I really fell for the Kimchi Mary (£8.95) which marries sake, tomato and celery juice, wasabi, Szechuan pepper, rice wine vinegar and pickled ginger. Extraordinary. Your tastebuds suddenly wake up, wasabi and ginger just enhancing all the senses, you feel completely re-energised.

Other breakfast concoctions also are available with new options each week-end. The one below is a breakfast martini (£7) – chilled, sweet, bourbon and vanilla, crowned with a egg-based foam so velvety it feels like a carress on the lips. Served with bacon, it brings an amazing sweet-salt taste and quite a range of textures. Naughty but nice, very well said indeed and so worth a try!

Is it too early for alcohol yet? You are not doomed to the usual orange juice. see this one? This is a Juice Pharmacy (£4.50) with green apple, raspberry and celery. Amazing as each taste is very clear for a couple seconds then blends it wonderfully together. Thirst-quenching and I would not mind getting those in a jug, you just want more of it. Orange juice? Ah! Boring!

On that day, the team were filming demonstrations of the new creations to go on the menu. We were lucky to taste a few like Away with the fairies, which composition escapes me but which evokes spring mornings, bright and cheerful, full of flavours.  Down the rabbit hole will amaze you too: a very clever mix of limoncello and poppy liqueur. Floral, a little bubble-gum-like, one of those drinks that make you lick your lips. The last one will go on the dessert cocktails list and oh, do I love that concept! Perfect where you can’t manage the chocolate fondant but can’t resist a sweet finish either. Like, mmmh, the crème brûlée martini,  or the maple-espresso version… Ours had sherry, cream and coffee, slight caramel note, lingers on the tongue… the cute bottle is topped with an ice-cream cone and tequila chantilly (yeah, wow, right?) and a flake. Not a basic chocolate one, no, every little detail matters: a brownie one.

English breakfast is a must but let’s be frank, on a plate it does not look very glamorous. The Parlour has thought of those wooden boards instead and each separate part suddenly looks very elegant. You can make your ideal version too as each ingredient exist as extra.

The classic are all there: Florentine eggs or Benedict, scrambles (with or without salmon), boiled with soldiers. Bacon or sausage sandwich, bubble and squeak but also steak with roasted potatoes. Mouthwatering -  if you cannot make up your mind, have a look at the open kitchens, maybe this will help! We loved the very last choice Californian Kick Start (£7.95). Delicious AND healthy -  what more could you wish for? English muffin, hummus, avocado, flat mushroom, roasted plum tomatoes, poached eggs and a sweet chili toast. Gorgeous.

Depending at which time you arrive, you could mix both the breakfast and lunch options. Like those delicious crab raviolis that make in the mouth, such a tender heart, a little pesto. Add a few leaves from the herbs on the table -  fresh basil on this is divine. Don’t worry, the plants have been thought this way so enjoy!

The chef believes in fresh products only, on home made sauces. He also is incredibly creative -  an idea a minute! The specials are really worth the detour. Those are rich scallops brushed with a tangy barbeque sauce on an unctuous mash hiding a heart of lobster and drizzled with truffle oil, to alternate with a tomato salsa (£13.95). Such a range of luxurious tastes, sublime.

The most delicious experience, excellent background music too, classics, a little jazz too -  we arrived at 13.00 and did not leave before 16.30… I will definitely come back to try the speakeasy, a hidden dimmed room, open on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The other days, you can book it to enjoy a romantic cocktail.

The Parlour also opens up on Canada Square -  think terrace, green lawn and recently installed a fun musical sculpture. And soon, with the days getting longer, there will be a barbeque/rotisserie option outside too. That’s it – summer meeting place found. Believe me you will be back again and again. So much to try and always a surprise! Also a good place to start a walk from Canary Wharf to Tower Bridge.

The Parlour
The park pavilion,
40 canada square park,
London e14 5fw

A week-end in London: March 29-Apr. 01, 2012

Look. This is my secret weapon for challenging weeks. You know, those when files build a China wall around you. This perfect butter and honey flajack, with a layer of caramel, another of chocolate, sprinklend with hazelnuts and pistachios take all the trouble away, one bite at a time. Of course, you have used more than your calorie allowance but yes, it is that good, even if it seems simple enough. Stock on those at Prêt-à-manger. And to burn the extra energy, choose in the week-end ideas below!

That’s art baby:
* On Thursday, dress 1930ies style to see the Mondrian exhibition.
* Friday, the late evening of the V&A celebrates Persia.
* A musical sculpture in Canary Wharf? Now that will make you love modern art.

Yummy time ahead:
* A speakeasy behind a sex-shop in Soho, how intriguing!
* The food market on Southbank will be all about chocolate this week-end.
* Indulge at the chocolate lab too. They even do brunches.
* The best Sunday idea ever -  a roast with a “Make your own Bloody Mary” option. And a kids club!

Take the little ones along:
* The Harry Potter studios are opening on Saturday – magic!
* Dimanche, sortez les cerfs-volants.On Sunday, go and fly a kite.

Out of the ordinary:
* Try Kicktable - an amazing way to discover new skills or share yours.
* Revise your London ABC.
* Kensington Palace has reopened, even more magical than before.


This Week End in London

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