16 St Barnabas Street,
London SW1W 8PE
Tel: 020 7730 5550
Food type: French
Food rating: 7/10
Nearest tube: Victoria
I went with J to have dinner at Roussillon yesterday to celebrate her results. Roussillon is a 1 Michelin Star Restaurant located in Pimlico – a pretty odd location for such a lovely restaurant as it is just a stones throw from Victoria Coach Station and situated directly opposite St. Barnabas Primary School. Most of the top restaurants in London are located at or around Mayfair. J was quite keen to dine at this restaurant as it was featured on UKTV’s Greatest Dishes in the World. Le Louis XV Crunchy Praline won the distinction of being the best dessert in the world (more on this later).
Chickpea Beignets and Pthiviers of Smoked Duck
We arrived at the restaurant relatively early – half an hour earlier than our 8.30 pm booking – yet the restaurant was relatively empty with only 3 tables of a total of 18 occupied. Unsuprisingly, the restaurant was happy for us to be seated. We settled on the 8 course tasting menu along with wine pairing for each course. The meal began with canapes consisting of Chickpea Beignets (with Wholegrain mustard) and Pthiviers of Smoked Duck. The Beignets were light and fluffy without any hint of oiliness common with many of these deep fried treats. The Smoked duck was pleasant although not memorable.
Before our first course, we were also treated to a selection of freshly baked bread – and there was a huge variety of bread to that end: Wholemeal, White Baguette, Cumin, Tomato & Basil, Garlic & Cheese, Black Olive and Bacon & Onion. Unlike many restaurants, they were happy for us to try a variety of the bread. They were served with both Salted and Unsalted butter. I have to say I was pretty impressed with the bread on offer – both the variety as well as the quality of them (8/10).
Carpaccio of Chanterais Melon with a Chicken Consomme Jelly
Our first course was a Carpaccio of Chanterais Melon with a Chicken Consomme Jelly – a nice summery palate cleanser. The sweetness of the melon was nicely balanced with the chicken consomme with a slight bite from the pepper. (6/10)
Pan Seared Scallops with Semi-Dried Peach, Broad Beans, Gem Lettuce and Purple Basil
The next course was Pan Seared Scallops served with Semi-Dried Peach, Broad Beans, Gem Lettuce and Purple Basil. The scallops were perfectly cooked with a nice caramelised exterior while remaining slightly raw in the centre. While some people may raise an eyebrow, I do not like scallops being overcooked as they taste like rubber and they lose their freshness. I felt this dish was probably the best dish of the night as the dehydrated peaches complimented the scallops really well. Credit also has to be given to the vegetables which are often overlooked as afterthoughts and garnishes on the plate as they were all cooked to perfection and nearly overshadowed the scallops (8/10).
Summer Risotto with Crispy Bacon, Truffles and Veal Jus
This was followed by a Summer Risotto with Crispy Bacon, Truffles and Veal Jus. Unlike traditional risotto, which consists of rice, the summer risotto had not a single grain of rice. Instead it was composed of peas, broad beans and broccolli. The risotto itself was treat – nice and creamy, yet retaining the freshness and bite of the individual vegetables. This was complimented with the meatiness of the veal jus. I was quite dissapointed with the truffles. I am a huge fan of truffles as many of my friends will testify. However, summer truffles are pretty pointless and indeed I did not find their addition to this dish necessary other than for garnishing purposes. A very expensive garnish indeed!(6/10)
Sea Bass Steak, Cherry Tomatoes & Ratatouille
Our first main course was a Sea Bass steak served with cherry tomatoes and what seemed like a ratatouille. The fish was correctly cooked and seasoned yet I was not impressed with it. There wasn’t anything that stood out for me in this dish. Additionally, as the fish was steamed this resulted in a chewy and rubbery skin. I felt it would have been better if the fish was filleted and skinned. Alternatively the skin could have been crisped up after steaming. (4/10)
Thin Tart of Lamb with Fennel and Mashed Potatoes
If the fish course was a disappointment, the meat course more than made up for it. This was a Thin tart of Lamb with Fennel and Mashed Potatoes. The lamb was barely seared nice and pink and retained all of its flavour and juices. The fennel was nicely cooked and even a fennel hater like me could not help but appreciate it. The mash was sublime – light (probably contained huge amounts of cream and butter), fluffy and creamy (7/10).
Goats Cheese with Gazpacho and Celery
The cheese course was a pleasant but not remarkable Goats cheese served with a Gazpacho and Celery (5/10).
Strawberry Parfait served with Strawberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Coulis and Balsamic
Our pre-dessert was a nice and summery Strawberry Parfait served with Strawberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Coulis and Balsamic reduction. While the parfait had a smooth texture, I felt that it did not have the punch of strawberries. The ice cream was also a tad too cold for my liking (5/10).
Le Louis XV Crunchy Praline
The Pièce de résistance was the Le Louis XV Crunchy Praline. To describe this dish as a poshed up version of a Kit Kat bar would do this dish injustice. Indeed, the dish consists of a thin (0.5mm) biscuit base, a thin layer of ground praline sandwiched in between chocolate ganache and covered with a ganache of dark chocolate which is almost liquid. The dish was decorated with a swirl of gold leaf. The results was chocolate heaven indeed and stole the show from the sublime scallops (9/10).
Coffee here was very good indeed with no surchage for top ups. Sugar were those Sugar Swizzle Sticks from Fortnum and Masons. Petit fours was a selection of mint marshmallows, a delectable chocolate truffle, almond ‘financier’ and a cake of some sorts. Unfortunately, at this point I was quite boozed up and so cannot properly comment on them.
All in all the dinner at Roussillon was very good indeed with the stand outs being the scallops and of course the chocolate croustillant, with a special mention going out to the lamb tart and summer risotto. Service was pleasant and attentive without being intrusive or snobbish unlike several places I have been too. They also gave J a lovely box of Raspberry Macaroons which were indeed very yummy. Overall, a very memorable experience.