With a playful approach to seriously good food, Glenwood’s Parc is so much more than a café, says Tracy Gielink.
The unpretentious setting at Parc Café belies its serious foodie roots. Brett Gentles, who owns it with sister Lara, is a qualified chef and, prior to opening Parc, worked as sous chef at 9th Avenue. What you’ll find here is clever café food that plays with textures and fresh flavours. For breakfast it’s hard to look past the Not-So-Benedict, which is re-interpreted to entice with potato-and-rosemary bread, lemon Hollandaise and capers. Or try the decadent parmesan polenta with sautéed mushrooms and spinach, tomato concasse, poached eggs and truffle oil. Cleaner flavours abound for lunch, with the likes of Vietnamese chicken and ribbon vegetable salad. Or sample the interesting red-wine-poached pear salad with blue cheese, flaked almonds, pickled ginger and a rocket salad. There’s also a range of gourmet sandwiches and soup and quiche of the day.
There are six affordable wines (mostly white) on the list and all are available by the glass. The cappuccinos are awesome, and there is a range of inspired freshly squeezed juices.
Happy is the watchword here. Waiters exude warmth and there’s a sense of camaraderie that makes it feel like you’ve popped in to a friend’s house. If you’re floundering in indecision, ask one of the well-versed waiters for a personal endorsement off the menu. Despite prompt service from the kitchen, diners are not expected to speedily vacate tables.
Pop in and park off. This casual eatery is a vibey neighbourhood hangout. Like the food, the space is fun and fresh with a down-to-earth honesty. White tiles and large naked light bulbs suspended from red cords are reminiscent of a canteen, and modest pine-topped tables are teamed with grey plastic chairs and a smattering of vibrantly painted wooden stools that provide small explosions of colour.
Reservations are required for weekends.