After years of concentrating on the Gavroche in Mayfair, Michel Roux Jr. opened a couple of new restaurants during the last few years. One of these was Roux at the Landau, in the Langham Hotel, just north of Oxford Circus.
This restaurant will immediately strike you with its lavish décor. Somewhere in between long-gone grandeur and modernity, the designers did a splendid job and created a dining room that will clearly not fail to impress.
However, it’s not only the room here that is bound to impress – obviously. The service for instance, just as in the Gavroche, is sublime. The staff know what they talk about, are efficient and friendly, which makes the dining room all the more enjoyable.
If you combine this beautiful room and slick service with great food you have what one could call a very solid restaurant. And that is exactly the case here. If the food is more modern in presentation than in Mayfair, the dishes are equally delicious and devoid of pretentious gimmicks that do not work. In a way, choosing such ‘uninspired’ but incredibly satisfying food for this venue must have been quite a brave move. At a time, when the most recent serious restaurant openings in London serve a lot of ‘modern’ food, this is a welcome counterpoint.
What this means on the plate are dishes such as a heart warming and tasty chestnut soup. In autumn and winter, nothing could be more satisfying than such a soup, which does not just warm you up, but also opens the appetite for the delicacies that follow.
Among these, one should particularly highlight a lobster with jowl and turnips. This very contrasting dish combines one of the more luxurious products a chef has at hand with one of the often forgotten cuts of pork. Combine the rusticity of the one with the richness of the other and you are left with a terrific dish. The lobster jus ties the two together quite beautifully. Combined with the turnips, you have a dish that has every single texture you can think of, varied flavours and quite simply bags of flavour.
Equally tasty is a beef tenderloin with bone marrow, salsify and potatoes. Nothing that you could call inspired, but then that isn’t the point here. What it is on the other hand is a combination of some of the most delicious things you can think of, perfectly prepared and seasoned. That makes it a dish that few people could really criticise. Have this with a beautiful wine on the side, and you will miss very little else.
That is what Roux at the Landau is good at: With dishes such as this lobster it goes a little further than the standard French fare, but mainly remains in solid classical territory. Serving delicious food in a beautiful room is becoming an increasingly rare thing, so when you find a restaurant that does it, you are bound to enjoy your meal there.