The Roux name is, rightly, held in the greatest esteem within food circles – brothers Albert and Michel Roux opened Britain's first Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche in 1967, now a 2-Star establishment run by Albert's son Michel Jr.; and 3-Michelin-Star Waterside Inn in 1972, one of the finest eating venues in the United Kingdom, now run by Michel's son Alain. They are culinary royalty. Any restaurant that bears the Roux name, therefore, invariably carries with it exalted expectations.
Brasserie Roux, inspired by Albert, is situated within an imposing double-height room at the Sofitel St James hotel, formerly the banking hall of Cox and Kings Bank. The food here is, as its name suggests, French brasserie cuisine; the atmosphere, one of relaxed, informal elegance. We actually booked on the three course £25 London Restaurant Week offer but struggling to find even one item of interest on the special menu, ended up ordering from the a la carte instead.
I started with the classic, 6 escargots á la bourguignonne, which was perfectly decent, but by no means the best example of this old favourite I’ve had. My main course of Walnut crusted Devon rosé lamb rack, baby vegetables & rosemary jus was decidedly average, in fact below average – the meat far too chewy, and not the least bit enjoyable – it was a struggle to finish it.
We shared a dessert of Dark chocolate soufflé tartlet, Orange marmalade, star anis ice cream. I noticed that the pastry chef carried the name Roux – perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence then that the tartlet was, by far, the best dish of the evening - the wonderfully fine pastry crumbling nicely in the mouth, the dark chocolate filling rich but not too heavy, the orange marmalade adding a touch of sweetness. I am not at all a fan of star anis ice cream but thankfully the strength of the chocolate meant that the only contribution of the ice cream to the dish was that of temperature, and not flavour.
In a nutshell…
Impressive space, but the food was very ordinary and certainly did not do justice to the Roux name. A bit expensive too for what it is.
Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AN
Average Price: £40