As you might imagine, seeing the dozens of Local Deals we publish every week leads to the eventual destruction of one's will power and we find ourselves eating Michelin-starred 3-course meals more often than we probably should. I've enjoyed many a meal at some of London's best spots, but the ultimate experience for me was at Michel Roux Jr's Roux at Parliament Square -- so much so that once was just not enough.
Amongst my cumulative 14 tasting-menu courses were a few things I hadn't encountered or tried before. I will readily admit a strong dislike for any sort of jelly-based food, but the celery jelly and sorbet starter was astonishingly pleasant. My experience with sardines had mostly been focused on turning my nose up at them, but I was delighted to find that they had been grilled to perfection and served lightly dressed on some crusty bread. I would have easily eaten 20.
Tasting menus, when done properly, not only allow you to safely test out foods you might not be sure about (see above), but ultimately showcase the finer talents of the kitchen and, particularly at Roux at Parliament Square, highlight the best seasonal fare. It was comforting to see that not everything was completely alien to me. One of the early courses was a tagliatelle with mushrooms and a truffle-based foam. If someone had given me the option, I would have agreed to eat only this for the rest of my life and never looked back.
Both times we showed up a bit early to sup our cocktails in the upstairs bar. Without getting overly gushy, this is one of the classiest, most urbane rooms I've seen. Leather sofas and chairs abound and the decor is subdued but hip; I was a particular fan of the decorative globe-shaped mini bars placed around the room. The bar staff's outfits might as well be designed by Tom Ford (I have no proof that they are not). The cocktails are sufficiently impressive and retro. Altogether, there is a distinct air of a '50s throwback, while at the same time being original and modern.
Although it wasn't included in the Local Deal, I am not the sort of girl who can easily resist a cheese board and Roux's is one to behold. It's wheeled to your table on a suitably charming and aged cart, and more than likely the aroma will arrive well before the cheese itself. You select what catches your eye and couple your choice with a generous selection of bread and crackers.
Finally, when I leaned back (both times) and wondered how I would possibly be able to cart my stomach home, it occurred to me that I'd paid no more than £45 for a world-class dining experience. £45 instead of £80. Maybe that's why I went twice.
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