Lockdown is dragging on isn’t it? But for the first time this year, I had a freshly-cooked roast dinner from an actual pub. Parlour in Kensal. Or is it Kensal Green?
It feels like a first step to normality, the first roast from a pub this year, the first time I’ve seen someone other than my housemate or a delivery driver this year, the first time that I’ve broken the lockdown rules this year – though I’m sure the Metropolitan Police are far too busy keeping me safe by stopping those dangerous candlelight vigils.
Yet last week I think was the most difficult week of lockdown for me so far – and it was really depressing reading all the stories on social media from women of their lifelong bombardment of harassment.
Yes, I’m actually going to write a serious paragraph. Or three. If you don’t give a stuff then scroll down to George Galloway and where I’ll revert to the usual nonsense. But I was pretty angry about what I read this week and I need a moment to vent so I hope you’ll humour me.
I like to think that most people in my life are really decent, sound people – even if some voted for Brexit. You know, I don’t actually mind if you are a Brexit-supporting, vegan communist who thinks everyone should eat peas 3 times a day.
But I do mind if you are racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, etc. It really isn’t acceptable in 2021 or whichever future lockdown year you are reading this from. As I said, I have really decent people in my life but even in recent months I’ve seen guys I know and mostly respect, say things like, “well, why did she go around to his house” when it came to the “alleged” Erick Morillo rape case, for example. I’ve had arguments with people who believe that wolf-whistling to random women on the street is a compliment – and that they shouldn’t feel threatened. And I know far worse goes on.
It really is time that the sexual harassment of women becomes as societally unacceptable as, say, child abuse.
Groping. Stop it.
Catcalling. Stop it.
Following women in the street. Stop it.
Wolf whistling. Stop it.
Making excuses for rapists. Stop it.
I could go on but I know you are only really here for my nonsense and to know what Parlour’s takeaway roast dinner is like – I’m just some fool with a roast dinner blog so I’ll leave it there. I hope you are already perfect and didn’t need to read this, but maybe you can also help make sexual harassment as unacceptable as possible across all of society.
So, erm, roast dinner?
Well I’m not really sure how to move on from my introduction. Please tell me that George Galloway isn’t a well known sex pest. Maybe I should Google it to double-check. Hmmm…yeah let’s move on.
So I went to Parlour a couple of years ago – we were booked into Paradise by way of Kensal Green, and were an hour early. I cannot remember whether my accomplice went into the wrong pub or our table wasn’t ready…anyway, we went for a beer in Parlour – one glance of exceptional envy at this amazing looking pie that someone was eating on the table next to us and we looked at each other and said, “it’s going on the to-do list”.
Of course, I have a lot of places on the to-do list and thanks to every other country except China who are totally innocent of all charges (hello to my visitors from China that all spend exactly 0 seconds on this website ever since I mentioned Xinjiang), this is still almost as high as it was a year ago. Though my delivery driver did ask me whether reviewing a takeaway roast from Parlour meant that we wouldn’t be visiting – no, there will still be a proper review of Parlour the pub at some point in the future.
Parlour are essentially running some kind of farm shop during lockdown, open 10am to 7pm every day, where you can collect your pre-ordered meals, snacks, desserts, wine, beer – take a look yourself.
I couldn’t help but order one of the rhubarb and almond cakes that you can see front-right, which was quite delightful though didn’t actually have as much evidence of rhubarb as those you see.
Roast dinners are sold in portions of either 2 or 4 people – so we both had to have the same meat, which isn’t a problem to me as long as my delivery driver isn’t a vegetarian, which she isn’t – sirloin of beef, roast chicken or pork belly were the choices – the former at £30, the latter two at £25 which I think is a bargain. We went for the beef – I didn’t really have an option as that is what my delivery driver always eats.
Welcome to my beauty parlour
It was pretty easy to finish the roast preparations. Beef and potatoes went in the oven for 20 minutes, yorkies for the last 5 minutes – gravy was warmed up on the hob, vegetables were warmed up in the microwave.
So simple even the Metropolitan Police couldn’t fuck it up. Don’t worry – I’ll go back to blaming the government next week. Yeah, there might be a next week. Actually no there won’t be a next week as my delivery driver is doing some volunteering (how selfish) and the only place I know doing roasts for one person sold out before I could order.
Yeah I know, pigs in blankets, beef – I see you and your thoughts.
I. DO. NOT. CARE. FOR. YOUR. JUDGEMENTS. Judge me on my looks, not the look of my roast. Actually, don’t judge me on my looks. Judge me on…erm…my writing style? No, maybe not that either. Well, my mum likes me and that’s the main thing.
So onto the vegetables. You want to see them? Fine.
Well you still cannot see the parsnip. So anyway, the vegetables that you can see were much of a muchness.
The red cabbage was fine, you probably know I’m not keen but it was a small enough amount not to bother me and didn’t leak purple colouring, so this is really all I ask for.
The green cabbage was also fine – perhaps a bit stringy and, I don’t know, I just feel that more could have been done with it – I normally really like non-red cabbage and this was just a bit ordinary.
Carrots – of which I have a fridge full at home because I bought a bunch and then Oddbox sent me around 10 two days later – and I am currently researching carrot recipes. These were reasonably nice, sliced, a tiny bit buttery with chives.
Out of the vegetables, the parsnip was the pick – really quite flavoursome – yeah, very enjoyable. Would have liked more than one, but that seems the least of my desires at the moment.
3 roast potatoes were supplied – one large, the other two medium-large. They were in the right direction – they were actually crispy on the outside but, alas, required a steak knife to cut. Some nice rosemary flavouring, a hint of garlic – they were definitely in the right direction.
Similarly the Yorkshire pudding was in the right direction, but seemed to have spent just a bit too long in the oven – the base being nicer than the top.
You’ll be pleased to know that the beef was really good. 20 minutes was sufficient cooking time for a nice level of medium/rare – there wasn’t anything in the instructions about letting it rest so I did question myself as to whether I should have been slicing it immediately, but I ain’t no chef (however will be a very accomplished carrot chef in another week).
It was tender, some nicely glutinous fat on top of part of it, a little crispy around the edges – yeah we were both happy with this.
Finally, the gravy. For some reason I decided to take most of the photographs before pouring the gravy on but you can just about see it on this one. There was lots of gravy but that’s because we asked for extra – I don’t think we paid extra. It was a bit watery and inoffensive, quite a mild flavour to it – but inoffensive and mild is far preferable to flavoursome and offensive, like quite often happens, so I’m cool.
Pigs from the parlour
We did pay £5 extra for the pigs in blankets – so you should direct your judgements towards me, not Parlour for putting them on a beef roast dinner, should you be offended. Actually my favourite part of the meal – I’m still trying to work out what sausages they were as they were very pink inside (in a supposed to be pink way) – they kind of reminded me of kielbasa or some other German sausage in miniature form – and the bacon was good too.
You’ll probably have worked out that I’m not astounded by the takeaway roast dinner from Parlour but I was happy enough with it. I do wonder if I have become more reticent to complain about hospitality over the last year – fuck – it is a year isn’t it since we were being told that we were more likely to catch covid if we wore a mask?
Everywhere that I’ve done a takeaway review for, I know is better in house – either through experience or belief, like Blacklock, which I know is even better in the restaurant, or Popup Emporium, which I am convinced will be even better when I do visit. Parlour comes into the latter and I’ll be surprised if they don’t score at least an 8 when I do visit.
Takeaway roasts just don’t quite replicate the magic available – and hence I don’t add the scores to my league table, nor make them my only judgements of a venue.
So please take my score into context. And my score is a 7.20.
Because the beef and parsnip were the highlights of the roast – everything else was broadly middling. Oh and the pigs in blankets were ace, of course. My delivery driver rated it between a 7.60 and 7.70.
One final thought is that a broader range of nut-free desserts might be helpful. My delivery driver judged them all to have nuts in – until she bought the apple and rhubarb crumble. Which we realised after dinner was described underneath as “nutty”. Oh well, at least she has some vegan custard – the crumble is in the freezer as I didn’t really want a whole crumble to myself…so I cannot tell you how good it is, or otherwise.
I will be going to Parlour to review properly at some point, hopefully in 2021 but I don’t like to get my hopes up too much. I do think you should add it to your consideration list – I’m charmed enough to have added Kensal to my list of areas to possibly move to when I’ve finally saved up £500,000 for a house deposit, or whatever it is you need nowadays.
Otherwise I guess it is goodbye for now. I hope you didn’t mind me getting a bit serious earlier and I promise I will be back to more nonsense soon – especially when I reacquaint with alcohol.
I feel like I’m ready to get back in the swing of things, alas I have no options for this Sunday – so I guess I’ll be back in two weeks. I’ve actually got two roasts booked for outdoors dining – you might want to think about booking ASAP as places are filling up – you might not find anywhere on opening weekend now.
Which is the perfect time to plug my new page – Roast Dinners Outdoors. Do let me know if there is somewhere I need to add – slowly going through various lists but I have a job and shit also. Help me help you. I’m on holiday next week – yay another staycation except this time I won’t even leave Harrow – so I’ll finish my research then.
Parlour, Kensal (Takeaway)
Price: £30.00 (for two people)
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Beef was really good
Loathed: Gravy was watery, and generally it was quite middling - but it was a takeaway with a long drive.
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: The Holly Bush, Hampstead