For those that don’t live there, Chorlton seems to really rub people (especially those that are particularly vocal on the internet) up the wrong way for whatever petty reason. Long before I first visited I’d long formed the impression it was some sort of trendy vegan hippy commune albeit a very expensive one to live in when in but it’s actually pretty a really pleasant leafy suburb to while away an afternoon.
I’ve still yet to explore properly but in the brief time I’ve spent down there I’ve been surrounded by pretty normal humans and been really impressed with the range of food and drink options (ie the important stuff) on offer. I’ve been in The Beagle for a banging pint from their impressive range, I’ve been drunk as a lord on cheap cocktails in The Font, I’ve scoffed some stunning street food from The Hungry Gecko van in the garden of the Beech Inn (whilst it was still there), and now I’ve had a fantastic pub lunch in the wonderful Parlour.
I remembered the name of The Parlour from winning the best Sunday lunch in the country in the Observer food awards a few years ago. Friends based in Chorlton had also recommended that the food was definitely worth trying so when I had visitors for the weekend I suggested we escape the city and give the place a try for lunch.
The lunch menu on this particular visit was made up of three types of sandwich, a couple of salads, platters (vegetarian, meat or seafood), a handmade burger and then the special of the day which was beer battered fish and chips.
"Seafood Parlour Platter"
There were a lot of elements to this one – a traditional little glass of prawn cocktail served on a bed of fresh salad leaves, the crab cakes were served slightly warm and were crunchy and with plenty of meat, the trout pate was ideal for spreading over the side of bread that was served alongside the board. A small handful of pickled cockles were sprinkled to one side of the board and I got stuck into these along with the oak smoked salmon. I really enjoyed this as a main; the individual flavours complemented each other without any overpowering of the others. I’m sadly still not over my absolute hatred of food being served on boards like this mind.
"Fish and Chips"
This was text book fish and chips for me – crispy beer batter, not one but two giant pieces of tender fish all dished up on a bed of freshly made tartar sauce (which was deliciously heavy on the capers), a generous portion of chips and a side of mushy peas with a hint of mint.
It’s commonplace now when a burger is dished up to expect a perfect looking production line patty and bun and whilst this hand formed patty was way off the mark looks wise, the all-important flavours and quality of the meat more than made up for it. It came served with a pile of excellent red-hot chunky chips, a couple of giant beer battered onion rings which had a properly satisfying crunch to them and some token salad leaves (which added little other than some colour to the plate) Extra marks granted for allowing it to be ordered rare and arriving perfectly pink in the centre. As we all know by now adding a slice of pickled gherkin to a burger is a match made in heaven and chopping them with capers here through the mayo sauce worked an absolute treat.
The salad had some serious work to do to compete with the other food that was rapidly filling the table. It consisted of really well cooked chicken delivered on a bed of salad leaves and then sprinkled with toasted cashews and croutons to add some crunch to proceedings. The fruity coronation sauce had been lightly applied to the greenery to give it a flavour throughout and with plenty of spare served on the side to dig the chicken into.
There was a reasonable wait for food (just over 20 mins) but we were caught up in the lunch rush and for the freshness on display it was obviously being cooked to order, it felt like there was real care and attention involved in this food. The positive about the wait is there is a decent bar which had a range of ales, beers, ciders and plenty of spirits. We were all impressed with our individual courses and I had a massive dose of food envy in that I only got to taste the other three dishes and not enjoy them in full myself so will definitely be heading back next time I'm in Chorlton to enjoy some more of the menu. I really must try that infamous Sunday lunch too.