After nearly two decades, father and son Albert and Michel Roux Jnr have launched a new collaborative venture, Roux at the Landau at London's Langham hotel. Janet Harmer went to sample the classic French menu
Father and son, Albert and Michel Roux Jnr, have collaborated for the first time in 19 years to launch Roux at the Landau at the Langham hotel in London. The grandeur of the restaurant - set within the property on Portland Place which was established in 1865 as Europe's first "grand hotel" - is what one would expect from the creator and current custodian of one of London's most luxurious restaurants, Le Gavroche.
Redesigned three years ago by David Collins as part of the hotel's £75m refurbishment, the 90-seat space provides a comfortable setting for the food of Chris King, the young chef described by Michel Roux Jnr as "a rising star", who has been charged with the task of interpreting the Roux style of cooking. Having worked at Le Gavroche for five years and then as sous chef at Roux at Parliament Square, he is well versed in the Roux approach. However, King is determined to stamp his own style on the menu at Roux at the Landau, where customers have been flocking since its opening at the end of November 2010.
"I've worked with Michel Roux long enough to know what he expects and the food is very much in the classical French style of Le Gavroche, following in the same exacting standards," he says. "But the dishes are mine."
King likes to present a fresher and lighter interpretation of traditional French cuisine, using mostly British produce. "When writing dishes, I always consider, is this something I would really want to eat myself?" he says in explanation of a starter dish that has attracted a lot of attention - a free range hen's egg, chicken oyster and scratching with endive, shallots and hazelnuts (£12). The dish offers opposing textures, with the crispy breadcrumb coating of the egg giving way to the softness of its interior, while the chicken oyster and crispy chicken skin which forms the scratching element also providing contrast.
The à la carte menu offers a selection of eight starters, from a lightly creamed white bean velouté with aged Manchego croquettes, celery and pimentón de la vera for £9, to 12 Belle Isle oysters with traditional accompaniments at £18. Customers can choose from a choice of nine main courses, ranging in price from £18 (cepe mushroom and Acquerello rice risotto with balsamic grilled trevise) up to £40 for the Dover sole, grilled or meuniére, with ratte potatoes and wilted spinach.
The choice of six desserts, all priced at £8, include the popular pear William and walnut soufflé with bitter chocolate sorbet and the more traditional warm caramelised millefeuille with aged calvados bavarois. Also on offer is a selection of French and British artisan cheeses at £12 a go. The seven-course tasting menu, at £75 (food only) or £135 (with wine), sells particularly well at weekends, when it is ordered by about 25% of customers.
"Michel Roux comes and see us frequently, but he trusts me and Grant Jones (sous chef), who was Le Gavroche-trained for two years, to produce food within the framework of the Roux family," adds King, who also caters for the 18-seat private dining room, Postillion. Devotees of Le Gavroche will be pleased to know that its legendary former general manager, Silvano Giraldin, has enhanced the wine list here by including some of his personal favourites.
SAMPLE DISHES FROM THE MENU
Starters Terrine of heirloom carrots and shiitake mushrooms with carrot and ginger dressing £10
Salt-cod brandade with crisp Cornish squid, parsley and Espelette pepper £12
Sauté of Landes foie gras with pumpkin, pear and gingerbread crumb £16
Poached hake with razor clams and Serrano ham £25
Red wine glazed short rib of beef with turnips, braised kale and horseradish crust £24
Slow roasted Label Anglais chicken with orzo pasta and Swiss chard (for two) £45
Pear William and walnut soufflé with bitter chocolate sorbet £8
Ivoire chocolate and vanilla mousse with hazelnuts and praline £8
Ingot of exotic fruits with coconut sorbet and kaffir lime syrup £8
Roux at the Landau
The Langham hotel, Portland Place, London W1B 1JA
Tel: 020 7965 1065