French & Grace at Barber and Parlour

Barber and Parlour - 64-66 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP

Now that autumn has set in and the dark, early nights are upon us, life is less about al fresco dining and rooftops, and more about cosy eateries and wholesome, warming grub. Barbour & Parlour’s Supper Club series ticks both of those boxes, along with the extra bonus box of tirelessness, thanks to its changing line-up of chefs.

The inimitable barbour-come-parlour-come-cinema-and-kitchen on Redchurch Street will be welcoming chefs of different backgrounds and cuisines to take the helm of its kitchen for a string of intimate ticketed supper clubs. Each of these will be communal-style dining, so it’s a case of sharing is caring, and there’ll be veggie options at each. Tickets for each 3-course supper hover around the £30 mark, and upcoming chefs include the duo of Smoke and Salt (who’ve cut their teeth under the likes of Blumenthal), and Will and Rick of Indian-inspired, London-tailored resto, Kricket. We went down to the inaugural dinner of the series, hosted by Brixton Village residents, French & Grace, to check things out…

Supper clubs are much like dinner parties: if you’re late you miss you. You table isn’t going to want to wait for you, hence we made it our mission to arrive promptly at 7:30pm as advised, and were greeted with an elegant champagne and peach cocktail. There were 2 other guests already seated at the end of our 6-person table, who we sort of mumbled hello at, before sitting down and picking at the sumac pork crackling table snacks. Before long, the first dish on the menu was served: a board of grilled halloumi with fig vinegar and fresh figs to share between the 2 of us. It was delectable (in all fairness, when is halloumi not?); we wolfed it down no problem and showed impressive restraint in not enquiring about another round…

 

Barber and Parlour - 64-66 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP

 

By this time, another couple had joined our table and the 6 of us were all sat rather closely. 2 mezze platters were brought out to share between the 6 of us, and though delicious—with baba ghanoush, labneh, rosemary hummus, and muhummara, I’d say there wasn’t really enough flatbread for the table, meaning everyone was rather polite and reserved… In all fairness, it was quite a nice change to usual dinners with my partner at which he gobbles down the bread basket without me getting a look in…

As with most supper clubs, the menu is far more restricted than that of a restaurant, and usually you’re only really choosing between perhaps 2 starters and 2 mains. Here, it was just your main you were choosing, so either pork belly, sumac, pumpkin, smoked feta and plum; or autumn roots, smoked feta, and pearly barley. Being veggie, I went for the latter, which was comforting and delicious— the barley al dente and the smoked feta a new flavour to me, whilst my partner opted for the pork, which was a richer option with a large slab of meat. Delicious too, I’m assured. Side dishes of buttery kale and fresh slaw were served too, to share between the table.

Dessert was delicious. Ed and I must have devoured our mains faster than the rest of the table, as we were brought our desserts first. A square of almond and pistachio tart (more like a brownie) was served with a poached pear and a dollop of light, elegant orange-blossom infused cream. Though temperatures were a little off — we weren’t too sure whether it was meant to be a warm or chilled dessert — it was bloody delicious. I could have eaten a whole bowl of that cream.

All in all it was great. I loved the setting and the intimate set-up, and the food was all full of flavour and moreish (despite being a little cold at times). I’d happily go back for the next dinner, knowing it would be all different and exciting again. £30 for 3-courses and a cocktail is a steal; my advice would be get a group together so you can have a whole table to yourselves.  That way it’s just like having a dinner party, only without any of the pressure!

Barber and Parlour – 64-66 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP

barberandparlour.com

Words by Alice Tate, you can catch her @ALICETATE

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