Roux at Parliament Square in Westminster: Light, meticulously crafted dishes bursting with flavour
Westminster is home to some of the most famous landmarks the capital has to offer: Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, to name just a few. However, when it comes to gastronomical landmarks, Michel Roux Jr – the man behind Michelin-starred Le Gavroche – is hoping to put his second restaurant Roux at Parliament Square firmly on the map. Despite the area’s politically charged surroundings, the restaurant seems quite at home taking up two whole floors of a Georgian Grade II-listed building looking out onto the lively Great George Street.
The interior is nothing short of majestic with cosy furnishings, beautiful wooden floors, dark wood panelling, huge sash windows, elegant period features and walls lined with ornate framed art.
The kitchen is headed up by MasterChef: The Professionals winner Steve Groves, who has used his craft and expertise to deliver traditional dishes with a modern twist using local seasonal ingredients. We couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Before we got started, we were presented with a pre-dinner snack. This came in the form of a lone new potato served with mascarpone, caviar and dill. Just a quick mouthful but delicious nonetheless. We also had a melon gazpacho with coppa ham. The melon was perfectly ripe and sweet, and counteracted with a delicate smoky flavour from the ham. Now that we’d tickled our taste buds, it was time for the starters.
To begin we had heritage tomatoes served with a goat’s cheese mousse and lovage. The presentation was fantastic and the flavour certainly matched up to the vibrant colours on the plate – rich, complex, sweet and tastefully coordinated with the creamy goat’s cheese, this was a delight from start to finish. We also had the English asparagus with rapeseed oil mayonnaise and confit egg yolk. The asparagus was garden-fresh, crisp and sweet and smothered in a zingy mayonnaise. This was accompanied by a glass of Alain Girard & Fils Sancerre Blanc.
For the mains, we tried the turbot with asparagus, mussels and dulse. The turbot was mild in flavour and served in a creamy buttery sauce. Not veering too much from the traditional, this was a solid dish. Next was the trout with fennel, almond and Coco de Paimpol beans. A simple plate that was delicate and fragrant with nutty flavours running throughout. And last, but by no means least, was the Herdwick lamb with polenta, red pepper and aubergine. The lamb was pink, tender and succulent – perfectly cooked and full of bold distinct flavours. The pan-fried polenta was also particularly tasty and managed to keep this course clean and light. The fish dishes were accompanied by a glass of the Domaine Laroche Chablis and the lamb was paired with a glass of the Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti.
Next, it was onto a pre-dessert intermission. A dinky slice of vanilla cheesecake with mango sorbet and passionfruit – a delicious palate cleanser bursting with fragrant flavours.
For dessert, we had the brioche doughnut with apricot and meadowsweet custard. The doughnut was buttery, airy and perfectly complemented with a tartness from the apricots and a velvety floral sweetness from the custard. As desserts go, this was pretty special. We also tried the salted caramel tart with kumquat and orange. The consistency was like silk and the tart exuded a real buttery caramel flavour. These were matched with a glass of Mas Amiel Vintage 2015.
Aside from the lavish setting, which helped to create a first-class ambience, the food certainly didn’t fall short. Keeping in step with traditional European cuisine, a certain lightness was achieved without compromising on flavour or substance. It’s true, some dishes stood out more than others – notably the tomato starter, the lamb main and both the desserts. However, it was hard to go wrong with this select menu as each item had been meticulously crafted to offer something different from the last.
While it’s difficult to imagine that the uncertain fate of the country lies just a few feet away, you can always find respite in Roux at Parliament Square – contemporary fine dining that doesn’t disappoint. It gets my vote.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Alex Julie Woods
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Roux at Parliament Square, 11 Great George Street Westminster London SW1P 3AD, call 020 7334 3737 or visit their website here.