I’ve been following a new eating and exercise plan, which means that I have been keeping the eating out to a minimum. But it was my birthday recently and if you can’t celebrate your birthday with a fantastic dinner, then when can you? Life is for living and all of that… So I tasked The Better Half (TBH) with choosing where he would take me and after a quick peruse of my bucket list – it can’t get any easier than that, right? He chose Roux at Parliament Square.
Operated by Restaurant Association with the world-renowned Michel Roux Junior as executive chef and Steve Groves – Masterchef Professionals winner in 2009 – at the helm in the kitchen, I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time so TBH picked a good ‘un. Located in the same building as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and just around the corner from Westminster Cathedral, its a grand and historic building. Walking into the main dining room, I felt as though I was in someone’s living room. It was warm, cosy and very welcoming. Having been seated at a gorgeous window seat, we were left with menus and as we’d had drinks elsewhere before arriving, went straight ahead with the meal.
To start I had the langoustine with prawn tortellini and coastal vegetables (£18.00). The langoustine was beautifully meaty and sweet piece of shellfish, but it was the tortellini that really got me. I’ve just started making my own pasta and was totally amazed at just how thin they managed to get this little parcel. I can only hope in my wildest dreams to make tortellini that good! The broth it was served in was rich and tasted of the sea, a perfectly balanced dish.
TBH had the quail, golden raisin parfait and dandelion (£16.00) for his starter. The quail was succulent and cooked to perfection, the raisin bringing sweetness and the dandelion a little sharpness. Another extremely well balanced dish. The parfait came as a side dish on a little wedge of brioche (not pictured) and was so smooth and deliciously rich, that he would’ve been happy with just that dish as his starter.
Iberico pork chop with romesco sauce, grilled onions and peppers (£29.00) is what I went for the main event. This isn’t a dish that I would’ve expected to find on a Michel Roux menu, but it was another winner. Funnily enough I had a very similar dish on a previous birthday lunch at Moro! (Clearly not as adventurous as I think I am!) The sweet romesco and grilled onions were perfect partners for the slightly fatty pork. A really hearty and delicious choice.
TBH had the Lakeland lamb, smoked Isle of Wight tomato, courgettes and rosemary (£32.00) I remember Steve Groves doing that courgette ‘fretwork’ during his time on Masterchef and marvelling at the intricacy of it, and here TBH was getting to eat it!
Dessert for me was a cheeseboard naturally (£14.00) I can’t remember what they all were, but I asked for the stronger end of the spectrum. Let me know if you can identify any of them – they were all really good!
TBH had the blackberry soufflé with apple sorbet, oat crumble and vanilla cream (£13.00). Risen majestically, this was a perfect example of a soufflé. The tartness of the apple sorbet cut through the richness of the blackberry. It was a great combination.
As a nice little treat,I also received the obligatory ‘Happy Birthday’ dessert. This one was like a giant Rolo except it had oozy chocolate in the centre. For someone who isn’t a great dessert lover, I really enjoyed it.
Remember in my Michelin Star Experiment conclusion, I talked about that feeling? Well service at Roux, gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. TBH and I left there feeling like we were part of the family, it was just such an immense pleasure to celebrate my birthday there! The total bill came to £200 including drinks and service, which for me is incredible value for the experience that we had. This is one of our favourite meals we’ve had this year!
Next time you’re looking for somewhere special to celebrate, then I highly recommend Roux at Parliament Square.
Until we eat again!
|Duck & Waffle|
|Pitt Cue Co – Pulled Pork with mash and bone marrow gravy|
|Jason Atherton & I at Little Social|
On holiday, we ate at the number one restaurant in South Africa in 2012, The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale Roberts. One word – sensational. We also took a tour of the wine region Franschoek and ate at the restaurant on the farm La-Motte. I remember it being an absolutely gorgeous day in Cape Town that day. We were with great friends, eating great food and drinking great wine. What more could you ask for?
|The Delaunay – Banana Split|
Another firm favourite this year was Ceviche. A Peruvian restaurant serving fantastically fresh and interesting dishes. I loved the vibe and I really loved the food.
|Pollen 58 Cocktail at Social Eating House|
|The Pig Hotel, Brockenhurst|
The king of the BBQ, chef Neil Rankin moved from Pitt Cue Co to John Salt in Islington earlier this year and the Sunday roast here at John Salt was another highlight for me in May.
|Story – Beetroot, Raspberry and Horseradish|
|Disco Bistro at Skate Kings Cross|
Street Feast have become well known for hosting some of the best street food festivals in London. I’ve only managed to get to one this year (poor show!) and that was Truckstop at Canary Wharf. I loved sitting on the grass with the towers of Canary Wharf looming over us and trying some of the best street food there is.
|Truck stop by Street Feast|
|Moro – Wood roasted pork with piquilo pepper sauce|
I was also invited by a friend to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Two Michelin stars for a reason! My absolute stand out meal of 2013.
|Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – Meat Fruit|
|AD12 at T42 – Warm Chocolate soup|
|Vivat Bacchus – Cheese Room|