6 June 2018

Parlour: Canberra’s finest tapas destination celebrates 10 years

| Sophia Brady
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Dusk at Parlour. Photo: Supplied.

It is an incredible milestone for any restaurant to celebrate 10 years in the business, but one that was also devastated by fire and then lovingly restored within that time frame is a colossal achievement. That type of accomplishment deserves a party!

So, in their birthday year, Parlour is throwing a double birthday party (celebrating their 5th and 10th birthdays) on the 6th of October and giving away gifts to celebrate a decade of decadence and feeding Canberra with their Spanish share plates and upscale wine, all served in an art deco dining hall filled with plush furniture in New Acton.

In June 2008, Parlour Wine Room was originally conceived as a hip and intimate venue, serving up tapas. It quickly became known for its eclectic furniture, unique wines and cocktails, and as a lavish escape – just a short walk from the city.

But in 2011, fire devastated the restaurant. In the face of this tragedy, owners Bria Sydney, her parents Ross and Lynne Sydney, and husband Ben McHugh set out to recapture what made Parlour such an important part of the Canberra hospitality scene while also reimagining what Parlour could become.

Maintaining the contemporary Spanish flair, Parlour was rebuilt and in October 2013, reopened in all its former glory, but with a twist. The new look captured the old aesthetic but introduced modern appeals and functionality – think Edwardian and Art Deco styling meets contemporary trends.

The original building that houses the lavish dining room was opened in 1927 and is typical of the early Canberra architectural style, making it a perfect match for the old world ambience at Parlour. The beautifully cluttered space looks in part more like a lounge room than a restaurant. Tucked away corners filled with comfy sofas and carved timber chairs complete with traditional dining settings scattered about.

Owner Bria Sydney said, “Since Parlour was first conceived, the landscape of New Acton has changed dramatically. It is no longer a construction site but rather a precinct full of interesting buildings, artwork, beautifully established gardens, two of Australia’s best hotels and some of Canberra’s best restaurants and establishments.”

“The passion that The Molongolo Group – New Acton’s creators – have for the precinct instils a sense of pride in the owners of the various venues. It’s a precinct that has had great vision and has been future thinking from its conception and to be part of a precinct that is renowned for its architecture and ingenuity, not only Australia wide but worldwide, is a wonderful thing.”

Char-Grilled Octopus. Photo: Sophia Brady.

Spanish clam escabeche. Photo: Sophia Brady.

The popular tapas bar continues to evolve but maintains what has made it such a recognisable and loved part of Canberra’s restaurant landscape. Bar patrons can keep things simple with delectable tapas-style plates and a cocktail. Typical are serrano ham and gruyere croquettes along with the tasty Black Forest chorizo, preserved lemon and chives bites.

The dining room menu may best be described as modern European. Starters include a char-grilled octopus, wild rocket, chorizo dust, preserved lemon, black onion puree. For mains, Spanish clam escabeche, red pepper & garlic butter broth, toasted herb bread hit the spot nicely. A meal is never quite complete there without a side of the thrice cooked (to perfection!) potatas bravas and a taste of dessert with the ricotta doughnuts, toasted almonds, salsa de chocolate & vanilla bean ice cream providing the perfect end to a meal.

Bria revealed plans for the festivities this year saying, “We are asking the Canberra community to celebrate the 10th Birthday with us by booking a full venue function for a major life event between the months of June and September to go in the running to win half of their function value back (valued up to $5000). We will be announcing the winner in the 1st week of October. Then on the 6th of October, we will be having a celebratory night at Parlour full of good food, good wine, good friends and good music. All people need to do to be part of the night on the 6th of October is book a table. For all details for the competition and the night of celebration please go to our website.

Ricotta Doughnuts. Photo: Sophia Brady.

Parlour is located at 16 Kendall Lane, New Acton and open Monday – Sunday 12 pm – late. For more information visit the website.

*Sophia dined at Parlour as a guest of the venue.

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