Readers know not to judge a book by its cover but when it comes to restaurants it’s sometimes hard to not let the style of the dining room colour one’s view of what to expect on the plate. While for some venues this is very much intentional, at Tony Parkin at the Tudor Room looks can be deceiving.
Set within Great Fosters hotel, a charming 50-acre Tudor estate complete with topiary mazes, a Saxon moat, and a sundial gifted by Sir Francis Drake, the dining room is every bit what you might expect of a venue steeped in history – elaborate tapestries and vast mirrors hang on the walls and there are deep fabric chairs with plush silver cushions. The food, however, does not follow such a traditional trajectory.
Parkin, who trained under John Campbell, and who spent several years in Copenhagen working at Kommendaten and Noma, has combined his flair with simplicity to create a multi-course signature experience bursting with modernity. Here British ingredients are given European and Asian flourishes but still feel grounded in this most English of settings. There is theatre in the presentation of many of his dishes, but we’re not talking Shakespearian.
Parkin came to the hotel restaurant in 2019, when it was just called the Tudor Room. His arrival was seismic, with the rebranded restaurant winning a Michelin star just four months later. Sir Francis Drake would have been proud.