Dame Helen Mirren has confessed she cannot resist mashed potato and has to indulge occasionally, despite believing it is bad for her figure.

The 69-year-old actress - who wowed people when she wore a red bikini on the beach - plays a chef in new film The Hundred-Foot Journey but recently said she knew the "torture" of constantly dieting for movie roles.

The Oscar-winning actress joined co-stars Om Puri and Manish Dayal on the red carpet for the UK gala screening at the Curzon Mayfair in London.

The film - directed by Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom, who directed Chocolat and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen - is the big screen adaptation of Richard C Morais's best-selling book about the rivalry between an Indian family and a French chef, after the family open an Indian restaurant 100 feet across the street from a Michelin-starred French eaterie.

Asked to name her guilty pleasures Dame Helen said: "I love cream, I love mashed potatoes. I like Christmas pudding, I like Christmas pudding with butter on it. Can you imagine?!

"I really love very, very fattening food so occasionally I indulge myself, but you do have to be careful."

She revealed she learned how to break eggs the professional way while making the film, but added: "I ignored the advice and broke them my own way."

The French restaurant is run by very strict and traditional chef Madame Mallory, played by Dame Helen, who becomes a reluctant mentor to aspiring Indian cook Hassan Kadam (Dayal).

East Is East star Puri, 63, plays his father, who strikes up a love-hate relationship with Madame Mallory.

Puri said: "It's like a dream project for me: Spielberg and Oprah producing the film, and Lasse Hallstrom, a fantastic director, and our very darling of Britain, Dame Helen Mirren - working opposite her was a great reward for me."

The pair share a dancing scene in the movie and Puri revealed: "She taught me."

The Hundred-Foot Journey, produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, opens in cinemas on Friday.