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Parlour's Confit Bangalow pork belly, pickled fennel, and chorizo rolls.  Image: Michelle Brotohusodo.

Parlour’s tantalising new tapas menu

Michelle Brotohusodo

Winter in Canberra is a tempting time to hibernate. But sometimes there’s a good reason to leave one’s bear cave—like Parlour’s new tapas menu.

For those who were around when Parlour first opened, you’ll remember that it started as a tapas and wine bar. This winter, it’s gone back to its roots, introducing a range of traditional Spanish tapas to enjoy with its wide selection of drinks.

Last week, my friends and I scurried in from the cold to have a taste of Parlour’s new offerings. The atmosphere was warm and cosy, and we settled down on Chesterfields and arm chairs for a relaxing evening of good food, drink, and conversation.

The first dish we tried was the quince, Manchego and caperberry pinchos. Deceptively simple, each element had a strong flavour that worked well with the others.

Parlour pinchos

Arriving at the same time as the pinchos was a serve of Serrano ham with pickled watermelon rind. All of us were perplexed at the idea of pickled watermelon rind, and even more surprised to discover that we really liked it with the ham. We found the best way to eat it was to take a piece of rind and wrap some ham around it, resulting in a sweet and savoury combination of flavours and textures.

Parlour ham

The next dish was one that all of us were eager to try: Serrano ham and Gruyere croquettes. These did not disappoint, and they disappeared very quickly. We liked them so much we ordered another serve.

Parlour croquettes

Some bocadillos (traditional Spanish sandwiches cut into smaller fingers) were then presented to us, one featuring in-house smoked wagyu, Ghost Chilli pickle and Manchego, and the other local fresh cheese, tapenade and piquillo peppers. The bocadillo was originally a very humble food in Spanish households, but the Parlour team said they wanted to take it up a notch, making their wagyu bocadillo resemble a rich New York style Reuben sandwich. While both were nice, the wagyu was the winner for us.

Parlour bocadillos

Pork belly on a menu is like a magnet to me, and I will almost always order it if I see it. At Parlour, it came in the form of Confit Bangalow pork belly, pickled fennel, and chorizo rolls. They looked like little burgers and they were juicy and delicious.

Parlour pork belly

We finished with two of the seafood dishes: Ortiz anchovy, caramelised onion tart, and basil, and Cured salmon with pickled onions and herb sauce on brioche. I like salmon, so I was already predisposed to liking the second dish, but I was surprised at how much I liked the first, given I don’t usually like anchovies.

Parlour salmon

There was a bit of a debate amongst our group as to which dish was better. It was a tough call, but the caramelised onions with the anchovy gave that dish a slight edge (and gave HerCan arts writer Heather a chance to recite, “Anchovies, anchovies, you’re so delicious. I love you more than all the other fishes.”).

Parlour anchovies

It wouldn’t be a visit to Parlour without mentioning the drinks. Amongst us we tried a few, ranging from red wine to mocktails, cocktails, and tea. The mocktails/cocktails were particularly nice, we really liked the taste of the Sicilian Hit (limoncello, vodka, vanilla, rosemary, lemon, pineapple) and found the fairy dust on the Fugazi glittery fun (the description of this drink on the menu is also entertaining).

Parlour drinks

Spending the evening in comfortable chairs with excellent company and delicious food and drink was a very pleasant way to while away the time, and we were there for hours without realising it.

Parlour’s winter tapas menu is worth braving the cold for whether you’re looking for a quiet bite to eat before or after a movie, or something more substantial while you relax with a drink during the evening.

the essentials

The place: Parlour
Where: 16 Kendall Lane, New Acton (Kendall Lane runs off Marcus Clarke Street)
When:  Monday 5pm-late, Tuesday-Friday 12pm-late, Saturday-Sunday: 11am-late
Food: Tapas, not tapas, and more!
Drinks: Extensive wine, whisky and spirits selection, cocktails
Call: 02 6257 7325
Web: www.parlour.net.au or check out their Facebook page.

The author and her friends dined courtesy of Parlour for review purposes, but all opinions remain their own. It complies with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s guidelines on Online ReviewsRead our Sponsored Post Policy if you would like more information.

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Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town. More about the Author