The opulent oval dining room at The Landau restaurant has been a fixture at The Langham since 1865 and was taken over by Michel Roux Junior and his father Albert Roux in November 2010. Combining exquisite classical French dishes with excellent service and an extensive wine list, Roux at The Landau has recently reopened after a three-month renovation with a new dining concept and an interior revamp.
Lovingly redesigned by London-based interior design architects David Collins Studio, which designed the restaurant back in 2010, the oval space retains its extensive vertical windows on one side and curved wood panelling on the other. In the centre of the room is the restaurant’s most notable newcomer, the oval cold counter – part of the restaurant’s new dining concept. Brummell chose to sit here during our visit and enjoyed watching the cold counter chefs at work preparing dishes, flanked by an ice bed of bright red crabs and fresh oysters at one end, and a cartoon-perfect ham on the other (relating, we realise, to the new ‘From the ice’ and ‘From the slicer’ sections on the à la Carte menu). On a busy evening, the high ceilings carry the lively atmosphere around the room but wherever you sit in this restaurant you feel a sense of intimacy and space. There are relaxed booth tables in spherical alcoves on either side, and a refined space at the back of the room adorned with artwork of trees – perhaps an homage to the origins of the wood panelling. The area from the counter to the windows is flooded with light and sits in the shadow of All Souls Church in all its columned Bath stone splendour.
Alongside Michel Roux Junior, head chef Nicholas Paquier has created a menu of simple yet refined dishes with all the hallmarks of classic French cooking. The new menu du jour and à la carte menu means diners can enjoy everything from lunch at the cold counter to a full five-course tasting menu. We opted for the latter, and – after a cheese-based amuse-bouche – we were unable to ignore our mollusc neighbours any longer and swiftly ordered three Carlingford Lough rock oysters and a cold crab salad (prepared before our very eyes by the marvellous chef Vincent). Starters were just as satisfying thanks to the Stracciatella and Isle of Wight tomato salad with mozzarella sorbet (also made by Vincent) and the seared cuttlefish with grilled focaccia. The fresh day-boat cod, and a wonderfully rich Lake District lamb chop followed, each course accompanied by a wine pairing courtesy of our friendly sommelier – whose selections were tastefully accurate, punctuating each course perfectly. Despite the small selection, we found choosing a dessert almost impossible – we wanted it all. In the end – after a recommendation from Vincent – we opted for a caramelised peanut parfait and the Manjari moelleux with cardamom ice cream and a caramel cloud – a speciality of The Langham’s executive pastry chef Andrew Gravett. We chose well. The moelleux was a bowl of airy sweetness – the hidden chocolate cake at the bottom providing welcome texture juxtaposition. Rounded off with a fresh mint tea and artfully presented chocolate petit fours, we left satiated and keen to return.
Prices range from £25 for a two-course lunch, to £145 for five-courses with Coravin wine (the finest wines accessed using the Coravin wine system, which allows the sommelier to pour the wine without opening the bottle).
As welcoming, relaxed and delicious as ever, Roux at The Landau’s graceful renovation has elevated an already accomplished restaurant. Happily, the staff’s impeccable service has been retained – something we’re sure will draw diners back again and again.
Roux at The Landau, The Langham, London, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London W1B 1JA; rouxatthelandau.com