WHENEVER I watch MasterChef, I'm inspired to create culinary masterpieces of my own but somehow they never seem to live up to the delicious dishes I've seen on television.
The contestants make preparing top quality meals under the watchful eye of guest judge Michel Roux Junior, who is renowned for being hard to impress, look so simple.
So it was with trepidation that I paid a visit to Roux at Parliament Square, in the knowledge that my own culinary expertise extends to a half-decent spaghetti bolognese.
But thankfully, the man himself was not there to judge my lack of cooking ability.
The setting itself was very grand, located directly opposite Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, but staff were quick to make us feel welcome.
To start, my friend chose the red leg partridge which came with celeriac and truffle royale, while I went for the cassoulet of organic cod cheeks, served with chorizo, black beans, lemon and parsley.
The cassoulet was delicious, with a winning combination of fresh flaky fish and meaty sausage, while the plate of partridge was also quickly licked clean.
Moving on to the mains, I chose the beef rump, which can be hard to get right.
But Mr Roux's kitchen team lived up to my expectations, cooking it exactly to my medium-rare specification.
I could also have eaten a whole plate of the salt brisket, which was served with the rump - a particular favourite of mine.
My friend chose the loin of hare with Alsace bacon, served with celeriac, pear and walnuts.
Unusually, it also came with a mini portion of lasagne on the side, which my friend felt unnecessary for such a rich dish.
Two courses came in at £45, but we went for a third for an extra £10, which was well worth the expense.
I chose the bourbon vanilla, a creme brulee with diced apple and caramel - an unusual twist on a classic dish, while my friend went for the chocolate mousse with caramelised banana and peanut parfait.
I would give Mr Roux 10 out of 10 for a wonderful evening, great service, great atmosphere and great food.
ROUX AT PARLIAMENT SQUARE
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Parliament Square
Westminster SW1P 3AD 020 7334 3737 www.rouxatparliamentsquare.co.uk