With an impressive background that includes being the founder of the award-winning street food company, Green Goat Food and ex Petersham Nurseries and Club Gascon chef, Claude Compton's first restaurant launch above a well-known champagne bar has all the ingredients to sparkle.
Situated in the centre of Parsons Green life, opposite the Tube Station and a few strides from the pleasant Green, Claude's Kitchen is described as “a delicious hub of fun in the form of a quintessential neighbourhood restaurant” and is situated upstairs to the popular champagne bar Amuse Bouche.
Candles on the wooden stairs leading up to the restaurant create a good first impression and once inside there is a warm glow to the comforting and rustic style dinning room, with lighting from a ceiling peppered with squirrel filament bulbs, candles burning in abundance and well positioned wooden, cottage-style furniture blending in with the attractive aged wooden flooring.
There are other decent touches like the appropriate champagne art posters on the walls, an attractive focal point fireplace, enhanced by the clever use of candles and olive oil cans, and a clean, crisp colour scheme for the 40 seat restaurant.
The restaurant offers a short well constructed menu (three starters, four mains and four deserts) and with all ingredients served fresh from carefully selected producers, each dish is seasonal and changes weekly – a nice touch diners appreciate.
The young kitchen team, headed up by Compton, produce some imaginative and interesting dishes which encourages diners to try under-used cuts of meat, choose sustainable fish (sent up from Cornish fishing boats the previous day) and learn about lesser-loved British ingredients that work in delicious harmony on the plate.
I started with melt in the mouth seared wood pigeon which combined with the crunch and spice of red cabbage, currents, a delicious spinach and parsley purée and delectable lavender honey (£6) made for a well balanced and flavoursome dish.
Fiona went for the wonderfully fresh Cornish crab, with shaved spouts, fennel, blood orange, chilli, campari and crunch grape (£8) which made for a vibrant, well seasoned choice. The flavours blended together, and the light perfectly seasoned crab was quite rightly the star turn on the plate.
She followed this with a deliciously braised barbary duck (£16), served with a lovely smooth parsnip mash, fennel and a rich Seville orange sauce. At first unsure of the sauce's strength and consistency it gradually grew on Fiona's palate and she declared the whole dish a lovely partnership.
I could not resist the crispy gilt-head sea bream (£16) and it did not disappoint. The fish was cooked to perfection, each mouthful of fish and crispy skin a delight, with the colourful dish lifted by the use of wild garlic, baby plum tomatoes and new potatoes and a light and delicate sauce, with hints of saffron. The slight saltiness of seasonal lightly steamed monk's beard – which originates from Tuscany and is similar in appearance and taste to samphire – rounded off a great plate of food which was well seasoned, a real strength of all the food served up.
From a well priced wine list we enjoyed a bottle of the wonderfully named Hooley Dooley (£29) a big robust Aussie red from McLaren Vale with bundles of flavour which sat comfortably with our choice of dishes.
For desert I marvelled at an expertly made creation that hit really the spot. A rich and divine bitter choc parfait (£6) came with great tasting red wine figs, dreamy fizzy grapes and a wafer thin beet crisp to top it all - a mouth watering pud with a brilliant mixture of tingling tastes. Fiona took the more simple approach with some vanilla ice cream after the rich delights of her previous two dishes.
The service from the young friendly team was perfect making for a relaxed experience – and I must mention the wonderful rosemary and port vinegar butter that came with the bread to nibble on (please provide more bread to spread it on ) – just another little touch that makes you leave Claude's Kitchen happy with the quality of the well matched seasonal menu, that does not the break the bank balance, and should make it a firm favourite in the neighbourhood.
The restaurant is open from 6pm Tuesday through to Saturday.