photo credit: Parsons

Parsons image




Covent Garden

$$$$Perfect For:Business MealsCasual Weeknight DinnerDrinking Good WineDrinks & A Light BiteLunchPre-Theatre Eats


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According to Google and an arbitrary council PDF we’ve downloaded, Covent Garden has an annual footfall of over 45 million people. Per day, that works out to approximately a lot. A lot of people who walk v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and stop for no reason in the middle of the pavement. A lot of people who huddle in doorways. Basically, a lot of people who can cause you to get a little bit twitchy eyed. It’s at times like these that you need a bit of haven. A sanctuary where things are simple. Where you can sit down, have a good and solid bit of food and, most likely, a drink or two. This is where Parsons comes in.

Parsons is one of those restaurants that you can imagine becoming a bit of a regular in your life for three reasons. First, it’s in a very busy area but it’s very modest, both in appearance and size. This is good, as it means it’s unlikely many people will stumble in there, so there’s more room for you and I (and two other people, tops) in this extremely ‘intimate’ space. Second, there’s the food. This is a seafood-focused restaurant that switches up what’s on as per what’s been caught. Ultimately, you know what you’re getting with well-cooked, good-quality fish, and a side of something potatoey. And that’s what makes it straightforward. You sit down and eat something tasty and familiar, and have a couple of beers or a glass or two of wine. If that isn’t the sign of a sanctuary, we don’t know what is. Third, this a good-looking place. There are tasteful white tiles with detailing, oak panelling, and a central marble island holding wine and beer. This is a civilised place for civilised people. We’ve seen people here knocking back oysters on their own, and we’re very down with that sort of thing.

So, three clear reasons as to why Parsons is the haven you’ve been looking for. That’s this review done right? Job’s a good’un. Well, not quite. Parsons is one of those restaurants that you have to use correctly. For example, the food is simple in theory but there is potential to go off-piste. Things like trout tartare with bloody mary jelly are, well, a little bit weird. As is a cucumber and seaweed ‘salad’—warning, you’re going to be receiving something long, green, and stuffed. Also, there can be a slightly confusing inconsistency in portions. The excellent octopus starter is a very healthy size to share, but pricier mains can arrive looking a little bit more dainty than you expect. We’d definitely recommend clarifying ‘is this big enough to share?’, if you’re that way inclined, otherwise you may find yourself politely cutting a fillet of red mullet and a few bits of samphire in half. Although with a bit of lobster mash on the side you’ll more than likely forget any potential stomach rumblings.

A tasty and unpretentious restaurant in one of London’s busiest areas is always a welcome thing. Parsons feels like a restaurant that answers your call when you’re in need—in need of an escape from the masses and in need of somewhere that you can take a friend, family member or colleague that requires little or no thought. This isn’t a place you make a big song and dance about going to, and that’s not their style either. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you want.

Food Rundown

Parsons image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Bread And Seaweed Butter

This is good bread and better butter. You’ll probably ask for more. And maybe more again.

Parsons image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Brown Crab Pissaladiére

The poshest mini pizza you’ll ever have and probably (one of) the tastiest. It’s sweet and fishy and you’ll want one to yourself.

Potted Shrimp Croquettes

These are nice but not as nice as they sound.

Sea Trout Tartare, Bloody Mary Jelly

Not all that. The jelly overpowers the fish, which is a shame.

Parsons image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Octopus and Pork Fat Potatoes

An unapologetically octopussy looking plate of food. This charred arm with potatoes and paprika and parsley oils is excellent.

Fish Pie

A fine pie. One that’s much more enjoyable once it’s cooled a bit.

Seaweed and Cucumber Salad

A little bit misleading, perhaps. This is a cucumber stuffed with seaweed in a herby ‘Green Goddess’ dressing. Hmmm.

Parsons image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Fresh Fish

These change daily and either come plain or with a dressing and some greens. All delicious.

Parsons image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Lobster Mash

The sort of thing Henry VIII probably had for elevenses. Outrageously delicious.

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