RESTAURANT REVIEW: Venetia van Kuffeler discovers the food on the pared-back menu at Roux at The Landau is better than ever…
FOR THE PAST DECADE, The Langham London has been a diplomatic favourite, with numerous national day receptions hosted in their magnificent ballroom throughout the year. With the hotel’s culinary operations overseen by double Michelin-starred chef, Michel Roux Jr, dining is a high point at the hotel. Indeed, father and son Albert and Michel Roux Jr continue to work together on this project. Their partnership brings the Roux’s legendary culinary expertise and creativity to a new concept at Roux at The Landau, with a new look and a lighter menu.
Refreshed interiors benefit from the magnificent rotunda windows overlooking Old Soul’s Church and the BBC’s Broadcasting House on Portland Place. Gone are the white table cloths, and a new central counter displays charcuterie and shellfish, where guests can pull up a barstool and enjoy a light meal, or a snack like Cornish crab salad or rosemary porchetta.
The paired back menu of four starters and main courses still left us wracked with indecision – the options left us drooling. At our waiter’s recommendation I chose the crisp hen egg, with parmesan foam, black truffle and smoked duck. Creamy and rich, the egg was surrounded by parmesan crunch and the slithers of smoked duck and tiny shavings of black truffle offered the perfect amount of salt. A work of art. His burratina came with salt baked beetroot and a radicchio salad – a shock of purple against the cheese’s white flesh. He was in ecstasies.
My day-boat Cornish cod, leek, mussels and lemongrass was an exceptional piece of fish. Tender and tasty, the fish was a great contrast to the crunchy roasted leeks, and those mussels offered a further flash of the sea. His hearty red wine braised ox cheek fell apart on touch and was served with Alsace bacon and scialatielli pasta. Perfect for a chilly January day.
Puddings were no exception: my Grand Marnier soufflé served with muscovado ice cream was outstanding. His coconut air, Manjari sorbet and caramelised cocoa was gone within seconds. With the glass-walled cheese larder displaying some tempting treats, our knowledgeable waiter chose us three British and French cheeses to complete the meal, served with some perfectly nutty crispbread. An excellent meal.
The wine list at Roux at The Landau now includes over 500 bottles, from both New and Old World vineyards, but the restaurant’s use of the Coravin system means that diners can experience the full range by the glass. As the sommelier explains, the Coravin needle system means the wine can be kept for up to six months after a glass has been taken from the bottle, without ever pulling the cork. The idea is that the last glass from the bottle tastes as good as the first, weeks apart. This is a game-changer for wine lovers.
From informal counter dining to the tasting menus on offer, Roux at The Landau serves the exceptional food that father and son are known for, but with a slightly more laid-back air in a beautiful dining space.