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Roussillon was one of the only restaurants still available for a last minute booking on Valentine's day.
We were given a pleasing warm and friendly welcome on arrival. The carpet noticeably needed a good vacuum and the staff seemed rather tense and stressed. The restaurant was sparsely occupied apart from four other tables and a group in the private dining room. Nevertheless we were ushered past the vacant tables to be seated close to an occupied table.
We were surprised to be offered only the set menu (£35 per head three course) and even more surprised that this menu comprised only two options per course.
Starters were pea soup or salmon ballotine with apple and celery salad. Mains were beef shin ravioli or cod with truffle risotto. Desserts offered were vanilla rice pudding with roasted pineapple or treacle tart or artisan cheeses with truffle honey and quince jam. We decided to have the opposite of each other so as to explore the menu completely, and the only dish we did not sample was the treacle tart. The amuse bouche comprised foie gras terrine, macadamia nuts, quails eggs and beetroot mousse.
Service was swift and efficient although I disliked that the wine and the water were retained away from the table as it removed simple choices away from us. The general manger rejected my attempt to engage and was later observed to be reprimanding one of his staff who immediately gained my sympathies.
Each dish was artistically presented and the pea soup and the beetroot mousse were bright luminous colours. The portions were modest in size, but nevertheless laid a challenging weight on our digestion as the butter and cream component of each and every dish was overwhelming. Plate after plate the relentless richness subdued us until nausea loomed. Who put this menu together? Each course was a masterpiece in itself - but together in one meal? Surely even a limited menu could have offered something lighter to provide relief, not to mention variety, from the excessive richness? A sorbet would have helped. Perhaps some fruit? Vegetables? The painting on the wall of an asparagus was the closest we got.
We left swiftly, desperate for fresh air and in urgent need of cleansing our palette. Our meal at Roussillon was a thoroughly awful experience where the only redeeming factor was the friendliness of the restaurant manager.
Comment on this reader review
Food 2 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 3
Wednesday, February 15, 2012