One day, I hope that visiting restaurants run by Michelin Star chefs will be just a normal part of life. Whenever I fancy it, just calling up and booking a table, dressing up in my finery and sipping on cocktails and dining on the finest food without a care in the world. It’s experiences like this that give me the motivation to succeed, be ambitious, but for now, experiences such as an evening enjoying the tasting menu at Michel Roux’s Roux restaurant at Parliament Square, bookable through Virgin Experiences, really are just the most special treat.
Set within a Grade-II listed building in the heart of Westminster, stepping into the Roux restaurant almost felt like stepping into the home of an aristocratic relative – with paintings on the walls and a cosy fireplace, it felt more living-room than Michelin restaurant, but something about the atmosphere made us relax a little, after all, I have to say I was a little nervous stepping into the dining place of London’s most powerful MPs and socialites!
In contrast to the white wash room, the first dishes to be presented to us were full of colour – the result of a new head chef; Masterchef winner Steve Groves. It took a lot of will-power not to narrate the food to myself as I expect Michel Roux would have done had he been judging each course, “exceptional presentation, smooth consistency… good”. But to my far less experienced palette, our appetisers alone could not be faulted – the Butternut Squash mousse topped with a swirl of goats cheese followed by slow roasted beetroot with toasted seeds and more Tymsboro goats cheese were both tiny but full of taste; leaving us wanting more.
Next on the tasting menu was a Roast Scottish langoustine with prawn tortellini and coastal vegetables, followed by a Carbonara of squid and smoked bacon and confit egg yolk but as a non seafood lover my next few courses were expertly swapped with a Mushroom flatbread tarta fine with mixed vegetables and a creamy truffle mousse, and lamb hogget. The kitchen had taken old recipes and given them new light – all dishes which you’d seen on many menus before, but nothing like this. I may not be a professional food critic but I found it hard to fault any of the dishes.
Confit of Suckling Pig was our final savoury course, it arrived looking like an artistic structure – a thick slab of the meat covered in crisp skin, with a small smattering of light vegetables and a tasty jus. We could tell that a lot of thought had gone into the choice of dish – as a Masterchef veteran the chef is no stranger to the importance of presentation and it came across in each and every dish.
Just when we thought that we could eat no more, the cheese trolley arrived. We couldn’t resist. We chose from the vast selection and they were presented to us with crackers and breads – each of which was chosen to perfectly compliment our cheese choices! (And there’s me thinking that Jacobs Crackers will do for any type of cheese… apparently not!) Finally, a Monbazillac poached pair with almond, chamomile and fennel, but we had to admit defeat and opted to share our final course.
The service throughout was formal yet familiar, and the staff were experts on each dish that they served. If I owned the place I’d give the decoration a spruce, because the ambience inside the restaurant didn’t do justice to the fabulous dishes which we enjoyed. Overall, an exceptional experience and a celebration of seriously spectacular food.
Our visit to Michel Roux at Parliament Square Tasting Menu for Two was courtesy of Virgin Experiences.