Carol Emmas reviews Roux at Parliament Square
It was a sad day for me when the peace protesters were removed from Parliament Square - where some had camped for almost a decade.
They added a little rumbustious colour to the convention of the dark-suited world of MPs and, if anything, made you consider an alternative to the formal.
Talking of the formal, dining at Roux at Parliament Square, which is under the direction of Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr, is just that. There's certainly no hardship in being fussed over and cocooned in what feels like someone's sumptuous dove-grey living room (that deceptively seats 56), while the corporate world goes busily on outside.
The kitchen was, until recently, headed up by young chef Dan Cox, who won the Roux Scholarship in 2008. The restaurant is currently searching for his replacement. A tasting menu is available at £65 and an à la carte menu at £55 for three courses, offering the likes of John Dory fillet, caramelised chicory, spiced polenta and orange.
Head sommelier is John Baum who has created, alongside Albert and Michel Roux, a wine list of 250 bins (which may be reduced by 50 due to the current climate). There's a healthy mixture of Old World and New World, and Baum says early indications show there are strong sales in regional French wine.
"We're strong in Sancerre but also finding interest in Côtes du Rhône and Saint-Joseph, with higher-end customers opting for Burgundy and Bordeaux."
He adds the Château Cos d'Estournel 1999 at £108 is proving particularly popular. But if you're looking for an economy spend then there are a few bottles around the £20 mark, including Domaine Montrose Viognier 2008.
Roux Jr says the diner should leave Roux at Parliament Square feeling "thoroughly spoilt", which invariably you do. But now you no longer step out into the thrall of Democracy Village banners that always brought you right back down to earth.