There were some exciting offerings on the Park’s Edge menu. Mine were especially exciting as I had allowed The Tornado to choose for me, writes Michael Holland.
The Tornado is the term of endearment awarded by her colleagues to our fireball-of-energy waitress who, once she saw me dithering over the menu, suggested with a smile that I should entrust my choices to her. Perfect. My dinner companion, Julia, fresh from Selhurst Park with three points in the proverbial bag, had a no-nonsense approach to proceedings, going straight for a celebratory G&T before choosing the Oxtail Ravioli, of which she declared, ‘Amazing’.
My first course turned out to be Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Dumplings, a very seasonal and tummy-warming bowl of loveliness. Our server had also chosen two nice wines to accompany the first courses so we were off to a good start.
Park’s Edge Bar & Kitchen is on the edge of Brockwell Park, affording a nice vista for diners. Inside it was busy with a pleasant atmosphere created by general conversation getting along harmoniously with the background music. Claudia and Barry keep an eagle eye on everything, ensuring their high standards are maintained. And they are.
Julia continued with her appraisal of the ravioli dish, which had now become ‘Delicious’, and that led on to talk of family dinners, homeopathy and then she ordered Fried Cauliflower as a main course! ‘What!’ She fought off my protestations that built a case for anything with cauliflower in can only be a side dish. How wrong was I? It arrived looking extremely intriguing, with a dribble of sauce around its edge and a light crust of something interesting. Julia let me try a little, which only went to pique my interest even more. What were those ingredients that created such wonderful flavours, I wondered. We shall never know, because my Pork Shoulder with braised vegetables in a rich gravy came and I could think of nothing else except tucking right in.
The meat simply fell to pieces, and there was something special about those humble vegetables… And that gravy with its intense meaty taste was a wow… Plus, the triple-cooked chips were an added bonus! Tremendous.
We were quite in awe at the quality and presentation of the dishes emanating from the open kitchen, and I was transfixed by the serenity and calmness of those doing the cooking. Claudia broke my daydream with an offer we couldn’t refuse, i.e. sampling a pinot noir she was thinking of adding to the wine list. It, like everything else we had had, was really good.
It was now time for dessert but after such a feast we sensibly decided to share the Poached Pear with Quince and Ice Cream. There was some cheese in there too, which we weren’t sure about, but still a good ending to a great meal. This was fine dining at its best. The Caribbean twist to classic English dishes is quite niche, but it definitely works because now I feel a need to go back and try the rest of the menu.
There will be a premium rum tasting on Friday 21st December at 7pm hosted by Roger Barnes, a globally renowned rum enthusiast and experienced rum judge with over 25 years in the industry. Guests can look forward to tasting and learning about rums from Worthy Park Estate in Jamaica, Rhum HSE from Martinique, English Harbour from Antigua and from Four Square Distillery in Barbados, considered the World’s Best Rum Distillery. A selection of Caribbean inspired Modern British small plates and a rum punch are also included in the price. Tickets (£60) can be obtained direct from the restaurant or via www.designmynight.com/london/restaurants/herne-hill/parks-edge-bar-and-kitchen/christmas-in-the-caribbean-rum-tasting
Park’s Edge Bar & Kitchen, 49 – 51 Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, SE24 9AA
020 8671 0306 – http://www.parksedgebarandkitchen.com
Tues – Wed 6pm – 10.30pm; Thur – Fri 12pm – 10.30pm; Fri 12pm – 11pm; Sat 10am 11pm; Sun 10am – 9pm
Food 4.5 Stars
Value 4 Stars
Ambience 4.5 Stars
Disabled Access Yes
Disabled Toilet Yes