I am always super excited to discover a new eatery local to where I live, because if great, its easy for me repeatedly return, with ease of getting home, avoiding trains, tubes and hoards of people.
Parks Edge Bar and Kitchen is located on the Norwood road opposite Brockwell Park, the restaurant is cosy enough to feel like a neighbourhood restaurant, but it looks more like a west end restaurant because of the carefully considered interior, including beautiful light fittings, blue upholstery and a vintage art work.
There is a clear Caribbean thread running throughout the bar and food menu. The bar menu, is appropriately named “Island Cocktails”, and heavily features different rums, sorrel and tropical fruit. The food menu has more of a sprinkle of Caribbean influence, with the use of jerk seasoning, plantain and rum cake.
The starter was an easy choice, and I ordered the Jerk Hummus, Pineapple, Yoghurt, Flatbread (priced at £7.50). The jerk added a warm kick to the hummus, which worked really well. In the middle of the hummus a pineapple chutney and yoghurt which balanced out the heat of the jerk.
For main, I ordered the Grilled Whole Mackerel, Black Cabbage, Shrimp, Lime, Ginger and Chicken Skin on Rice (priced at £16.50). The Mackerel was grilled to perfection, the skin crispy and the flesh almost melt in the mouth. The dish itself was cooked well, I just felt that there was too many things going on at once, both in my mouth and on the plate.
The mackerel came accompanied with something referred to as ‘chicken skin on rice’, which actually tasted more like a cross between rice and peas and risotto. On its own very nice, but given that my main was already very busy, it added an unwanted further confusion to my taste buds.
I ordered the fried plantain with indo (priced at 3.95), which was not what I was expecting. Where plantain is usually served, fried, plump and sweet, this plantain was not particularly sweet and dried.
It was absolutely not necessary to order a dessert (is it ever?), but I did anyway. The Banana and Rum Cake, Pineapple, Coconut and Vanilla Ice Cream (priced at £6.50).
The Banana and Rum cake was delicious, moist and delicate. The huge dollop of coconut foam that covered the ice cream, went on to over power everything else on the plate, to my disappointment.
Similar to the main, I just think that if they had stripped the dessert back, to simply the cake and the ice cream, it would have been divine.
As someone who has eaten in restaurants extensively for the past 18 years, my key take away from eating at my favourite burger restaurant to my favourite Michelin star, is that they use the best quality ingredients, and keep it simple. Those that do not keep it simple, create art for the taste buds, carefully constructed dishes, with a perfect balance of all flavours on the canvas.
Park Grill ticks many boxes, on what a great restaurant is made up of, the environment is lovely, the staff and service friendly and attentive, the food quality was unquestionable, I simply believe that they have a very enthusiastic chef, who cooks very well, I just personally felt that the dishes were over-complicated and unbalanced.