Roux at Parliament Square RICS, Parliament Square, London SW1

There are tough times ahead, but Roux at Parliament Square is more classy coalition than culinary compromise

Since 1993, Michel Roux Jr has been successfully running the world-famous Le Gavroche in Mayfair. He has never been an empire builder like Marco Pierre White or Gordon Ramsay and, as a result, you could always depend on him being in the kitchen on Upper Brook Street.

Now, it seems, he has become ambitious. Not only has he opened a new restaurant, but he's named it after himself – or, at least, his family. He's also taken a risk with the food, which is poised uneasily between old and new. This is a departure from the French classical cuisine the Roux family is famous for. Outside of Paris, there are few practitioners in this tradition as celebrated as Michel Jr and his brother Alain, who now runs The Waterside Inn at Bray.

To add to the risk, Michel Jr has opened his first colonial outpost on the corner of Parliament Square. Not a particularly wise choice given the new Government's emphasis on frugality. All ministers have been forced to take a five per cent pay cut while senior civil servants are having a pay review. Who will be able to afford to dine at this smart new restaurant?

As if this didn't make the enterprise perilous enough, there's the fact that it's located in the building of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Are there five words in the English language more guaranteed to bring a yawn to a person's face? Short of hiring Steve Davis as the maître d', it's hard to know how you could make the restaurant more boring. Does Michel Jr have a death wish?

I arrive at 1.30pm on Monday. There is a suitably grand entranceway, as you would expect from a Royal Institute, with a sweeping staircase, but the colour scheme is peculiar: the floor is covered in grey carpet and the theme in the main dining-room is gold and maroon. Very different to the haute bourgeois Gavroche.

I am shown to a table in the private dining-room, where my four guests are waiting, and handed a complimentary glass of champagne. Things are looking up. Michel Jr then appears to explain that he won't be there that afternoon. Instead, we'll be in the capable hands of Daniel Cox in the kitchen; Michel has no intention of giving up his day job at Le Gavroche.

If you choose three courses from the à la carte menu, the price is £55, but there's a three-course lunch menu for £29.50, so we all opt for that. For a meal bearing the Roux brand, that's pretty good value. The first thing to appear from the kitchen are some amuse-bouches, including a square onion crisp topped with anchovy and a little doughnut stuffed with foie gras. These are both melt-in-your-mouth good, the sort of nibbles that would have you scanning the room for girls holding trays at a cocktail party.

For my starter, I choose chicken liver and foie-gras parfait with poached rhubarb and two plump slices of toasted brioche. The combination of the silky smooth parfait with the crunch of the toast is exquisite and the tartness of the rhubarb perfectly offsets the creamy richness of the foie gras.

The most enticing main course on the set menu is roast sea bream, but alas that is off today, so I go for Berkshire Black pork belly accompanied by heritage carrots, Pommery mousseline and some creamed potato. This is perfectly executed and the pork has a deep, pungent flavour. I particularly like the little metal jug of jus that is set beside my plate, enabling me to create little pools of deliciousness in my creamed potato. My neighbour, who has plumped for sea trout, is equally happy judging from her little moans of pleasure.

In between our mains and our puddings we are served a strawberry sorbet and strawberry panna cotta, topped with a meringue triangle, which is a show-stopper. Why isn't this one of the dessert options? In the event, the warm chocolate brownie with marshmallow and caramel ice-cream doesn't disappoint. This is just the kind of sugar hit you crave after a meal as rich and overpowering as this.

Will Roux at Parliament Square overcome the various challenges ranged against it? My conclusion is that it will, thanks to the talent of newcomer Daniel Cox. People will flock from miles around for food of this quality. He may not be a Roux, but he is a worthy standard-bearer of the family's illustrious flag.

Roux at Parliament Square RICS, Parliament Square, London SW1, tel: 020 7334 3737


Scores: 1-9 stay home and cook, 10-11 needs help, 12 ok, 13 pleasant enough, 14 good, 15 very good, 16 capable of greatness, 17 special, can't wait to go back, 18 highly honourable, 19 unique and memorable, 20 as good as it gets

Lunch and dinner, Mon-Fri; dinner, Sat. About £70 for lunch for two without wine

Roux protégés

Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons Church Road, Great Milton, Oxon, tel: 01844 278 881

Everything they say is true: Raymond Blanc's stunning and enchanting manor-house hotel offers outstanding Gallic cuisine (though its prices are less enticing)

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley Wilton Place, London SW1, tel: 020 7235 1200

Wareing has not just stepped out of Ramsay's shadow but now eclipsed him, thanks to the meticulous and subtle cuisine served up at this absolutely superb Knightsbridge dining-room

The Square 6-10 Bruton St, London W1, tel: 020 7495 7100

Philip Howard's superb cuisine and an utterly fabulous wine list have long put this understated Mayfair dining-room in London's first rank

Reviews extracted from 'Harden's London and UK Restaurant Guides 2010'.

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice