As someone who has a fairly unsophisticated palate and no concept of flavour profiles, when I go out for a meal I choose my food by finding words on the menu that I know I’ll like. So when I let Jonny Lee pick our lunches at Part and Parcel, I celebrated internally because he chose the two items I was secretly hoping he’d order.
The fried duck egg, lamb bacon and bean salad (you had me duck, lamb and bacon) and the rare tuna sandwich. Honestly, there are very few proteins I enjoy more than fresh, melt-in-your-mouth albacore tuna.
Lee, head chef and co-owner of Chorizo and Co. on Fort Street, says he chose the salad because “I really like duck egg, so I figured bacon and egg with some beans, why not?” And the sandwich: “I love sandwiches; it’s almost a perfect food.”
Even on a mid-week afternoon, well after the usual lunch hour has come and gone, Part and Parcel in Quadra Village is hopping. And as our food arrives and we take our first bites, it’s clear to see why this two-month-old restaurant is so popular.
Lee starts with the salad. He cuts open the duck egg and mixes the yolk in with the kamut greens, melange of beans, sweet chilli peppers and long, crispy strips of lamb bacon.
“There’s a lot of nice bright flavours, but nothing that’s overly challenging. Duck eggs are much more flavourful than a chicken egg, but also much richer,” he says. “On a salad it’s good; the nice, runny yolk adds a nice sauce to blend with the vinaigrette.
“This salad is really the sum of its parts, where everything on its own is very simple, but put together and tasted together it’s fantastic. And they’re all everyday ingredients we can find everywhere we go: eggs, bacon, greens, beans. I like that [chef Grant Gard] is really placing an emphasis on local and seasonality, which is very important.”
That emphasis is applicable to the sandwich, too. Served on a fresh ciabatta bun, the lightly seared tuna is joined by a soft-boiled egg, arugula and a delicious green olive tapenade.
“Again, just like the salad, lots of bright flavours, but nothing too challenging. These are all classic ingredients that go well together,” Lee says, pointing to Gard’s skills as a chef. “Sometimes you can get food that, for me, looks like an exercise in a chef’s ego, and you get a lot of things put together where, behind it, it’s a chef saying, ‘Look what I can do.’ I don’t feel that way about this because it’s a lot of simple ingredients, arranged well, with a very strong emphasis on flavours as opposed to a dynamic presentation,” he says. “When you respect the ingredients and put them together, everything’s going to look good, as well.”
Part and Parcel opened its doors at 2656 Quadra in September. Owned by Gard (formerly of Brasserie L’école), his wife, Anna, and Sterling Grice (Foo), it is quickly gaining a solid reputation in Victoria as a place for high-quality, ethically raised and sustainably sourced handcrafted food.