I have a confession to make; I don’t like breakfast. There I said it. Shocking I know, but unfortunately we Brits have never done it right. How can the likes of the sugary bland cereals, burnt dry toast and greasy fry ups compare to a gloriously freshly baked crisp French croissant or a plate of spicy Mexican huevos rancheros. Occasionally a meal before noon has been redeemed with the gleeful dipping of egg and soldiers, but I’ve still never waved the breakfast flag for my favourite meal of the day.
Though a recent trip to Parlour in Kensal reveals I simply wasn’t doing it right. Not anywhere near. In fact not only was I not doing it right but I should probably stop trying altogether because my bleary morning eyes will never achieve such perfection as that of the brunch I encountered one fateful Sunday morning.
Tucked away off the main road and a five-minute walk from Kensal Green tube, locals will remember the newly renovated building as the beloved Regent but as they say, out with the old and in with the… old? Despite the obvious renovations, there’s a distinct whiff of retro glamour about the place; from the ‘I’m so vintage, I look brand new’ furnishings to the soothing primary colour palette and varnished wood floors that ease you into a state of inner ‘parlour’ peace even before you’ve ordered you’re first Bloody Mary (well actually make mine a Virgin Mary, but whatever floats your boat, order one…THE best I’ve had in London by far).
Onto the menu, and as I’m feeling neither delicate nor still drunk from the night before, I have my sights set high. My aforementioned spat with breakfast is well and truly forgiven and forgotten as the bircher muesli with berry compote and porridge with bananas and honey are set before us; both as soothing as the roaring log fire opposite and equally as warming.
And yes my trusty hungry companion and I are going for gold; think of these as the supporting act to the main stage. And my main stage is salmon; beautiful smoked salmon served with creamy scrambled eggs and a knot of dark soda bread that I still claim was sent down on clouds from the angels; dense, sweet, chewy and perfect. Only divine interference can measure up this good surely? For the atheists among you, send you’r praise by way of Jesse Dunford Wood and the boys at Notting Hill’s infamously good Mall Tavern who have hopped ship to help get the party started in Kensal.
I resisted the temptation to stay until my stomach called out for lunch, though a return visit has already been scheduled in to make an acquaintance with the legendary CowPie. I hear the melting braised beef shin is stuffed into flaky suet pastry and topped with a bone marrow chimney then served with a helping of smoked mash *swoons* and a sweet rumour tells me that a formidable toasted marshmallow wagon wheel, burnished at the table has left more than one happy eater in a sugar coma.
With a carefully crafted beeropedia, on-tap-wines and a handful of cocktails, no doubt the opening hours of the late night kitchen and bar will please those cool Kensal kids looking for the new funky place in town. I can only imagine how easily a frozen margarita would go down relaxing in the pretty garden late into a warm summer evening.
Walking past an estate agents window on the way home, I find myself lingering over a flat in Kensal; just imagine, breakfast every morning could be that good. And lunch, and dinner…
5 Regent Street
Tel: 020 8969 2184