This Little Piggy went to Roux at Parliament Square - London
London Restaurant Festival 2013
As part of London Restaurant Festival, TLP jumped at the chance to visit some of the capitals best eating establishments and chose to kick off with this wonderful little gem.
My obsession with Michel Roux Jr had nothing to do with it, I swear Steve Groves, the winner of Masterchef: The Professionals in 2009, is actually head chef there and serves up delicious British fayre.
Having arrived early for our reservation in order to check out The Pembury bar (named after the town in Kent where Michel was born), we were taken up to the first floor which was like walking into a cosy but impressive sitting room. The building is Grade 2 listed and all features have been preserved really well, it felt like we had been invited into a Georgian townhouse.
The Pembury bar was full of lovely Chesterfield sofas and wooden globe drinks cabinets. I would have loved Alan Carr to be there serving us drinks from them aswell. I opted for a pre-dinner cocktail (details of which can be found on the Beverages page of TLP website) and piglet chose a nice glass of fizz. Once our table was ready the Front of House came and notified us and we were led back downstairs and into the dining room.
And so to the food& & & ..even though it was a limited set menu for the London Restaurant Festival , the dishes are exactly what I would have picked anyway. An amuse bouche of Mushroom Veloute, Truffle Foam and Parmesan Biscuit was delivered by a waiter who I mistakenly thought for a second was Albert Roux. It was an extremely decent sized cup of veloute and as soon as you lifted it to your mouth the wonderful heady aroma of truffle filled your nostrils so even before I d tasted a drop, I was smiling. The mushroom veloute was rich and so smooth. I then dunked the parmesan biscuit in to have a little of every flavour and that hit the jackpot. I knew that if the amuse bouche was this good, the courses to come would only get better and better.
Being a big seafood fan, I knew I would really enjoy the starter which was Roasted Langoustine Consomme, Coastal Vegetables and Prawn. The fat, juicy langoustine, samphire and sliver of tiger prawn were presented in a bowl and the waiter poured the very clear consomm� over them. The soup had such a great depth of fishy goodness that was balanced perfectly. A feather light prawn cracker completed the dish.
The main course was written as A Tasting of Herdwick Lamb, Courgette, Black Garlic & Rosemary and having anything being described as a tasting immediately made me think it was going to be a small morsel. How gratefully wrong I was. It was actually lamb cooked three ways with a beautifully pink loin thickly cut along with shoulder of lamb stuffed inside a courgette ball sitting atop belly of lamb. Accompanying the meat were broad beans and fresh peas with a rich reduction. What a meal for anyone on the Atkins diet!
The loin was cooked just pink and was so soft to the cut. I then unpicked the little courgette ball and out spilled little shreds of lamb shoulder which had a slightly meatier flavour to the loin. I then turned my attention to the lamb belly which had been hiding under all the other elements. One of my mottos is to save the best mouthful until last as this is what you last remember and this was most definitely the cut of lamb to leave til last.
It looked like a thick cut slab of streaky bacon but the layers of fat had been rendered and had crisped up causing the meat to melt as soon as you put it into your mouth. A piece of the belly with a smear of black garlic and broad beans balanced on top means this goes to the top of my Best Lamb Dish list.
We were presented with a palate cleansing pre-dessert which consisted of lemon ice shavings on top of a lemon posset. The lemon ice was deliciously pleasant as was the posset even if it may have had a little bit too much gelatine added to it.
The dessert was stated as being Valrhona Chocolate Variations, Salted Caramel. Quite brief so thinking it would be chocolate in a few different guises I was intrigued to see what would be served. It indeed was chocolate in 4 different ways and scoops of salted caramel ice cream. The half crescent of choc goodness had chocolate dirt , frozen cubes of dark chocolate, tall shards of solid cocoa leading up to the piece de resistance, a dome of chocolate ganache. It was the kind of ganache that when you took a mouthful, half of it had clung to the spoon so you had to keep going back again and again to extract it. Quite like a self made lollipop. My sugar levels were certainly brought back to dangerous levels after this.
Roux at Parliament Square is a casual yet elegant restaurant where flavour in everything is king. We asked the sommelier for a recommendation and it didn t disappoint. The pre-dinner canap�s (which we managed to get twice, once in the bar and once at our table) were little porky squares of goodness along with olive oil bread and a tzatziki like dip made from cream cheese, oil, shallots, garlic, mint and tarragon.
If the set menu is anything to go by, the rest of Steve Groves dishes will be sensational.
This Little Piggy approves.
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