Back in the day, the parlour was considered the room to mark ‘one’s social status’. People would decorate the ‘best room in the house’ with their family’s finest furnishings and artworks (and maybe a piano) making the room a fitting place to offer the vicar more tea after he had stopped round for his afternoon cake and chat.
It may be a quaint picture that I am painting but of course, over time, the word parlour has taken up other connotations and relations - we’ve all visited a beauty parlour for a pamper and a gossip with the stylist; maybe a pizza parlour and ice-cream parlour too. Some of us may have frequented a tattoo parlour or massage parlour… and anyone who has been in a milking parlour will know they are called this because farmer’s talk to the cows (usually calling them ‘girl’).
The Parlour on Chorlton’s hip Beech Road is a ‘modern-traditional’ pub, serving modern-traditional food and a fine selection of craft ales and beers – and, as such, is the perfect place to meet, socialise and have a top meal whilst listening to their ace jukebox!
Since opening a couple of years back, they have been awarded a number of accolades including a runner up spot in the Observer Food Monthly Awards (2011) for serving the ‘Best Sunday Lunch in Britain and ‘Pub of the Year’ in the 2011 Manchester Food and Drink Awards.
I ‘started’ with Mr Frost’s Salt Beef with Mustard Mayonnaise on Rye Bread. Head Chef Nicola Duncan and her team had done justice to the salt beef supplied by local butcher W.H. Frost (also a winner in the 2011 MF&D Awards as the ‘Best Food & Drink Outlet’) by cooking it well and serving in a delicious soft rye and good, sharp pickles.
For mains, I opted for the lunch favourite ‘Sustainable Haddock in Beer Batter with ‘proper chips’ ‘Manchester caviar’ and ‘homemade tartare sauce’. Fish and Chips is always a good benchmark dish to assess the quality of a pub kitchen as everyone knows what good fish and chips should be like… this wasn’t good, it was great!
Three pieces of white, fresh and flaky fish with a delicious crisp, golden beer batter were stacked on top of the best tartare sauce I have ever tasted – creamy, rich, with a good balance acidity and a generous amount of capers and big chunks chopped gherkins.
If the pieces of gherkin in the tartare were ‘chunky’ the chips were positively gargantuan - perfect for dipping in the well-minted ‘Manchester Caviar’ (mushy peas).
After a big man-sized mug of cappuccino I was too stuffed for dessert, despite the fab sounding ‘Chocolate Crème Brulee with Shortbread’ or the ‘Selection of British Cheeses’ available with my favourite Weise & Krohn 1978 Colheita Port (for a very reasonable £4.50 for 50ml) – still, with that and the promise of one of the ‘Best Sunday Dinners in Britain’, I’ll be back soon!