Set up i 1865, The Langham, London hotel was the original ‘Grand Hotel’ in Europe, and so it seems like a fitting home for the latest Roux venture in fine dining. Described as culinary royalty, the Roux family’s restaurants produce the very best of classic French cooking with apparent effortless flair.
Roux at The Landau is a grand panelled oval dining room of impressive contemporary splendour. Art Deco copper chandeliers overlooked our semi-circular booth that faced into the buzzing restaurant.
Within moments of being seated, we had a drink, a menu and some freshly baked bread. Just as I was marvelling at the sunshine yellow unsalted butter that I spread on the wonderful onion bread, a slate of amuse bouche were delivered to our table, which offered three morsels from land, livestock and sea. The most delicate pickled baby vegetables, smoked salmon tartar and crispy fried pork rillettes silenced us completely and prepared us for what was to come.
A starter of seared Orkney scallops with Jerusalem artichoke and truffles was one of the more perfect ways to serve these mollusc: with a velvety puree and liberal shavings of truffle. The salt-cod brandade with crisp Cornish squid, parsley and espelette pepper was another distinguished homage to the sea, with pureed salt cod holding delicate black discs of tender squid.
Having been reassured by our waiter that we had chosen well, black Angus flat iron steak with stuffed cippollini onions and Dover sole meunière confirmed that the menu’s favourites lived up to their reputation. The sole was rich but still so delicate and would have been a healthier option were it not for the delicious brown butter accompaniment. The flat iron steak was a flavoursome cut of cow that we declared triumphant, especially because of the sweet and savoury stuffed onions, a wonder that could be eaten all by themselves.
Puddings of pistachio and blood orange soufflé with honey and clove ice cream and toffee roast pear with sea salt caramel ice cream left us grinning. The soufflé held perfect form – even after three mouthfuls – and the ice cream melted into an eggy lava in the bottom of the ramekin. Toffee roast pear should be nominated for the ‘Pudding Oscars’. It was outrageous enough that the perfectly poached pear and ice cream was bathed in hot caramel sauce, but when we cut into the fruit, a further magma of salted caramel oozed onto the plate. Epic. I needn’t try another pudding again.
The service throughout was a fine balance of being made to feel special, but without the ‘hovering’ that one often experiences when fine dining. Considering it was a Roux restaurant, prices are very reasonable – far too reasonable for food this good.