Last night I had the absolute pleasure of dining at one of the three Roux restaurants in London, Roux at the Landau. Roux at The Landau is situated inside London’s 5* Langham Hotel, and is the brainchild of father and son duo Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr., who, until the restaurant opened a few years ago, hadn’t worked together in almost twenty years. Unlike the family’s first west end restaurant, the prestigious La Gavroche, The Landau is yet to hold a Michelin star, it does however appear in London’s Michelin Guide.
On entering The Landau you are greeted with a large backlit wine cabinet, of which there are in fact two, positioned adjacent to one another and stocked with what I can only presume are the restaurants most lavish wines. The restaurant itself is beautiful- a large wood panelled oval room with a vast bay window, apparently designed by the late David Collins, and decorated in a modern, pseudo-french art deco /chinoiserie style, with brass lantern chandeliers, dark wood and green leather seating. Based on the Roux family’s reputation for consistency in symbolism (see La Gavroche’s famous urchin logo), I can only assume the horses above the doors and embossed on the water glasses are a nod to the restaurant’s name, a landau being a type of traditional French cart… but that is probably just pure speculation on my part.
Like the décor, the food at The Landau has a very modern feel to it although with very evident roots in traditional French cuisine. Having passed on the option of purchasing a selection of Alba white Italian truffles, a mere snip at £3,954 per kilo, our meal began with a selection of cheese amuse-bouche, which were both highly unexpected and completely delicious. After that, my partner and I went our separate ways menu-wise. I started with the butternut squash soup, which I must quite embarrassingly admit caused a brief moment of panic as I looked down into a near-empty bowl envious of my partner’s very large portion of cuttlefish ‘carbonara’, unbeknownst to me, the soup is poured by the waiters from a jug. It almost became a game to watch our fellow diners order the same starter, and wonder whether they had in fact ordered the soup as their bowls were set down in front of them. Both starters were delicious, my soup, despite its delayed appearance was rich and creamy, perfect for an autumnal October evening. For mains my partner went with the pork belly served with crackling, a root vegetable purée, kale, cauliflower, stewed dates, crispy pancetta and a rich, silky jus. I myself went with an exquisite pithivier, a traditional French puff pastry pie, filled with spinach and Comté and served with roasted hazelnuts. We paired our mains with a bottle of Michel Roux and Michel Chapoutier Côtes du Rousillon, which at £44 a bottle was toward the bottom of a very extensive (49 page!) wine list with choices ranging from £30 to upwards of £4,000.
Dessert was an event in itself. Especially for my partner who opted for the ‘selection of French and British artisan cheeses’ and had been excited for it since we spied the cheese trolley on the way in. The waiter recommended he select approximately five of the 20 or so beautiful cheeses on offer, divided into blue, creamy, hard, goat’s and sheep’s. The selection of cheeses came accompanied with quince jelly, piccalilli, celery and large toasted fennel and sesame crackers. I went for the sweet option – an absolutely divine poached pear pain perdu (bread pudding to you and me), served with a quenelle of ice cream.
The service throughout the two hours we spent at The Landau was impeccable. The waiting staff were incredible attentive, and polite. Nothing was too much trouble. Our glasses were always full and we were never without a slice of sourdough or a freshly baked baguette. The sommelier was incredible helpful, and I would like to give a special thank you to the sous-chef Quentin Plateaux, who was kind enough to come and talk to us at the end of our meal. The evening was topped off with a special birthday surprise for my partner, a ‘Happy Birthday’ written in chocolate, accompanied with a lemon tartlette for each of us.
Roux at The Landau really is a truly fantastic dining experience, and with a reasonable set menu running along side their à la carte menu, and a fantastically extensive range of wines; there really is a little something for everyone. From a personal point of view I’d like to commend them on their well thought-out vegetarian options, and ‘vegetarian’ marked cheeses on the cheese board. I cannot wait to return, and will definitely be trying their Sunday brunch menu sometime in the near future!