Roux at Parliament Square is Michael Roux Jnr’s second restaurant and bar in Westminster, and the Head Chef is MasterChef Professionals 2009 winner, Steve Groves. The restaurant’s home is in a beautiful Georgian Grade II-listed building, located on a quiet road just off of the busy-ness of Parliament Square.
On stepping inside Roux, it feels like a members club, that homely but exclusive feeling. We are both warmly greeted by front of house and led into a small dining room off of the entrance way, where we are seated. The dining room is beautiful; neutral colours, modern furniture and Georgian architecture. About 15 other diners are seated are comfortably in the room, the tables are spaced out perfectly for an intimate setting.
We booked the meal at Roux at Parliament Square through OpenTable, and took advantage of the 5 course tasting menu for £45 each, so the food was set. We were given an option of wine pairings for £45 per person, or choosing from an extensive wine list where the prices range from £38 a bottle all the way up to just under £6000. So a price for everyone! After speaking to the sommelier about our preferences (red, fruity, around £50-£60), he recommended a French wine which really was superb and matched well with all of the 5 courses (if only I could remember the name of it!).
Our canapes were delivered swiftly to the table; a goats cheese moose with lemon on a small cracker (which actually reminded me a bit of my Parmasan Crisp Canapes!) and tuna tartare on a seaweed cracker. Both very flavoursome that left you wanting more – exactly how a canape should be!
Then, possibly my favourite part of any meal…bread and butter! We were offered a choice of soda bread or pumpkin seed bread and two beautiful quenelles of handmade butter were placed on our table, one salted and the other with red onion. The bread was perfect, although, if I’m being honest, it was just a vessel for the delicious butter! Salty and yummy and moreish. Luckily for me, my husband is now far too used to seeing me scoop a high a ratio of butter onto my bread, to be appalled by my bad table manners!
And then, it started, course after course of amazingly beautiful and palette smashing food.
First up, ‘Cauliflower, apple, avruga, sorrel’. We knew what the ingredients were, but couldn’t picture the dish. Then it arrived. A small bowl of awesome! The cauliflower was in the form of a light and creamy moose with slices of cauliflower throughout. Then, small chunks of apple, a spoonful of avruga caviar and drizzled with sorrel sauce. The apple and sorrel flavours complimented the cauliflower so well and then topped with the saltiness of the avruga caviar – heaven in a teeny bowl. I nearly licked it clean, until I was reminded that this may be frowned upon!
Then, it was my husband’s favourite dish of the night (well, possibly joint favourite). On the menu described as ‘Slow cooked beetroot, Innes Log goat’s cheese, toasted seeds, lovage’. Goats cheese and beetroot is a classic combination, so I was looking forward to seeing how this was presented, and what would make this stand out from other dishes I have had with these two ingredients as a base. When it came to our table, neither of us could contain our excitement. The food was plated beautifully, it felt a shame to disturb the presentation, but we did indeed get stuck in! Goats cheese can sometimes have too strong a flavour and be claggy in texture, even for me as a self-confessed cheese junky, but oh my good goshness, this was the crème de le crème of goats cheese. Creamy, with a subtle flavour, but rich and complex. The whole dish had an amazing earthy quality to it, from the crunchy toasted seeds to the perfection on the beetroot. The plate was small, but it took us quite a while to eat because of the richness of it. The portion was just perfect and it was a perfectly balanced dish.
Next up, was what I had been looking forward to the most ‘Confit suckling pig, anise, carrot, shallots’. Get that little piggy in my little piggy face! What arrived at the table was not what was expected – I wasn’t sure what I expected, but I sure was happy! A beautiful portion of crispy on top pork belly and a frenched chop, served on anise puree and accompanied by a baby carrot and roasted shallot, drizzled with a delectable sauce. This. Was. Perfection! I’ve heard about confit pork belly on a couple of occasions, but not actually tried it. This is going straight to the top of my must make at home list! The skin is perfectly crispy and the layers of meat underneath are smooth like pate and packed full of flavour. Neither of us are usually a fan of chops, but they were cooked to perfection and the anise puree gave a subtle hint of liquorice, but not overpowering. I savoured every single bite.
At this stage we were both getting quite full, so the palette cleanser of ‘Lemon posset, bergamot granita’ was a welcome addition to the table. Bitter, light, lemony and creamy all in one little shot glass. It came just at the right time to prep us for our final course!
I will quote my husband ‘this is the best dessert I have had in my life’. Our final dish for the evening was placed in front of us ‘Caramelia chocolate delice, malt, bitter chocolate, stout ice cream’, our server drizzled over a chocolate sauce and left us to it. The stout ice cream was unlike anything I have had before and the combination of the chocolate and malt was intense. This dessert really did pack a punch, with every mouthful tasting different and complex. It was super rich, but a perfect finish to a lovely evening.
Just as we were relaxing after this epic feast, out came some petit fours! A white chocolate shell filled with mango and a sponge with a chocolate sauce through the middle. Our server recommended that we eat the white chocolate in one go, I soon realised why! I picked it up slightly too heavy handed and the chocolate cracked resulting in a little volcano of mango sauce all over the pristine white linen. What I got in my mouth was delicious though!
All of the staff at Roux were so attentive and welcoming, our glasses were never empty and we felt thoroughly looked after. We didn’t feel rushed between courses or feel out of place in our casual clothes. The dining room itself was so relaxing and intimate, they really have nailed the atmosphere here. Each dish was presented so beautifully and you felt that so much time, testing, thought and love had gone into each plate. The only criticism about the tasting menu at Roux I would have, is that I did miss having a fish dish as one of the courses, but saying that, I don’t know which dish I would have replaced!
The total bill for us was £150 excl. service – two 5 course taster menus at £45 and a bottle of really good red wine. Roux at Parliament Square