parlez review

I had my first opportunity to visit new Coulgate Street restaurant Parlez on Friday. Co-founder Louis invited me along to talk to me about the experience of opening in Brockley.

In the early evening sunshine, the place was full inside and out. The addition of pavement dining transforms the area around the station and completes the effect started by the Broca, Browns and the station garden: Coulgate Street now feels like a coherent centre and provides a tempting diversion for anyone spilling from the southbound platform.

The inside / outside seating also creates a sense of accessibility and permeability, in keeping with the parlez ethos. The founders, both South East London locals, have worked hard to keep prices low and hire locally. The clever design and personal touches have instantly imbued a relatively unprepossessing unit with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The layout combines informal seating at the front with more formal booths as you go deeper in to the belly of the beast.

The affordable menu places lots of emphasis on small sharing dishes, as well as more spectacular set pieces. Vegetarians are well-catered for, as are kids. As the sun set on Friday night, the young families gave way seamlessly to a grown up crowd.

Louis told me that they were caught by surprise by how soon after opening they started to fill up. It has been busy since day one, proving the Brockley Central axiom that things that are good in SE4 will also be popular.
Although a quality experience already, Louis insists that parlez is still a work in progress. He asked us for constructive criticism of the food and the wine list, but we drew a blank. It was all good - especially the cheesecake. I apologise to you and to him for not having a more sophisticated critique than that.

With their first couple of weeks under their belt, they are now recruiting for new chefs to join the team. Louis explains:

"Successful candidates will work alongside head chef Michal Zajac (formerly of The Groucho Club, Smiths Of Smithfield and The Wolseley) and join an enthusiastic, well-organised and ambitious outfit in the kitchen. We’re offering competitive rates of pay and an opportunity to grow. Breakfast Chef and Chef De Partie position available immediately."

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