Date of review: June 15, 2016 | Reviewed by: Wilson Fok
The Parish occupies a sizeable space on restaurant-filled Staunton Street, and it’s difficult to miss with its spread of dark, cast iron-framed windows giving the venue a homely vibe. The establishment looks better at night, as lights are dimmed down, bringing out the tanned tones of vintage leather sofas set against dark brown furnishing. The focal point of the industrial-chic space is a communal table with hanging lights and high stools, complemented by the interior’s abundance of worn wood.
Jack Carson, previously of Restoration has joined Enoteca Group as their group executive chef. The Parish, his new project since the move, takes guests right back to his roots as the restaurant prides itself on authentic Southern cuisine from New Orleans.
The one-page food menu is filled with a generous list of options. We suggest ordering a few dishes to share. We began our meal with eggplant fingers with chili aioli, where batons of aubergines are evenly coated and deep fried until golden brown. The aubergines may not be seasoned but the aioli dip made up for its share of fiery heat. Blackened BBQ shrimps came sizzling in a small cast-iron skillet, with half a charred lemon and toasted bun to mop up the last bit of garlic-laden sauce. The shrimps were juicy but they could use some more browning on the outside, as they were far from ‘blackened’.
Arriving in a colourful soup bowl, the smokey duck and andouille gumbo with white rice looks the part of a soupy rice dish, the rice absorbing the meaty flavours from the stew, which packed a considerable amount of heat. Southern fried chicken arrived with another hot aioli on the side and housemade watermelon pickles, a Southern staple. The pickle, made with a seasoned vinegar and watermelon rind, is crunchy and refreshing, tart enough to cut through the richness from the cornmeal-coated tender fried chicken, although the breast meat was a little dry. It is smart to order a half-rack version of backyard BBQ ribs, whose hickory notes are complemented by its tender flesh under the sweet smoky glaze.
If you could only order one dessert at The Parish, it should be the key lime pie, where the cookie crumb crust is extra thin to make way for the creamy but light light filling with a texture resembling a fine mousseline, putting the Chantilly cream at the top to shame. The serving was rather generous though, as it is best for sharing. The Grand Marnier crème brulee is smooth but the custard was a little loose with too much orange liqueur added in. The top was also only caramelised in the middle.
The beverage programme of The Parish is filled with a generous wine offerings spanning across France, Italy, Australia, Spain, and the United States. The by-the-glass option is generous as well. The Domaine Renaudie Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from France came highly recommended from the staff and its light acidity worked wonders with the crisp deep-fried dishes. The Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer is a welcoming addition to the Southern dishes offered at the restaurant: punchy on the ginger and not too sweet, with a pleasant spicy finish. When served ice-cold, the ginger beer is a good fit with the scrumptious mains.
Staff at The Parish greets you with a smile, followed by warm, helpful delivery of well-timed dishes, refilling of water and checking up on dinner progress. The service is prompt despite a shortage of staff covering the floor. Wine knowledge may need improving but the servers are attentive and equipped with sound recommendation to signature dishes, even offering some personal recommendations as well.
A full dinner for two including an alcoholic beverage each amounts to a little over HK$1,100. The Parish shows promise in its quality preparation of Southern cuisine with a reasonable price tag attached to it.