Located on Regent Street close to Piccadilly Circus, the iconic Café Royal first opened in 1865 as a wine store, restaurant and illustrious event space, becoming the haunt of many renowned patrons, from royalty to celebrities and creatives. Now a luxurious five-star hotel, it is still a favourite of locals and visitors alike, continuing a legacy of exceptional dining with its selection of distinguished restaurants and bars.
French chef Laurent Tourondel has worked in an impressive roster of restaurants across the globe in New York, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean. He will now open ‘Laurent’, his first European venue, which is located on the hotel’s first floor above the impressive new lobby, which features a 17-foot double-height Murano glass chandelier by legendary Italian glassmaker Vistosi.
Based on relaxed yet refined all-day dining, the informal lunch and dinner menus are centered around the parilla grill – a traditional iron grill barbecue originally from Argentina, allowing the chef to control the heat to ensure perfectly cooked chargrilled meat and fish.
Highlights from the grill include a range of steaks and seafood with a particularly interesting selection of accompanying sauces. For example, Aberdeen Angus onglet, ribeye and fillet, American Wagyu rib eye and Somerset lamb chop can be paired with five different sauces from seven-peppercorn and armagnac, to a chimichurri, Beauvale blue cheese and classic béarnaise. Fish and seafood options including Dover sole, king prawns, Cornish seabass and swordfish are accompanied by a choice of ginger ketchup, lemongrass curry or aux fines herbes hollandaise, among others.
At the start of the meal, an American popover – a North American take on the Yorkshire pudding made with cheddar and gouda – is served with butter in place of bread as a precursor to starters such as spice-crusted tuna or Cornish crab on seven-grain toast. There is also a variety of salads including kale Caesar and a scallop salad with fava beans, artichokes and yuzu beurre blanc.
The sushi bar offers a range of lighter lunch and dinner options, made with sustainable British fish and seafood along with British wasabi. But for the piece de resistance, make room for dessert, especially the milk chocolate peanut croquant with banana ice cream or the equally delectable red berry and hibiscus crêpe soufflé.
For an after dinner tipple, Ziggy’s bar will soon be opening in conjunction with Laurent restaurant, celebrating one of Café Royal’s most renowned former patrons, Ziggy Stardust. Photographs of David Bowie, shot by prolific music photographer Mick Rock – Bowie’s official photographer during the last years of Ziggy’s tenure will adorn the walls, including some more intimate and rarely seen images. The ideal place to round off the night.
Rooms from £540 per night, dinner at Laurent from around £45 per person, not including wine