With a new menu, over 500 wines by the glass, a glass cupboard filled with cheese and a shiny new snacks counter, it’s not hard to see the appeal of Roux at The Landau. And that’s before you remember that a certain Michel Roux Jr is behind it all.
The dining room here has had a makeover, most noticeably with the addition of a central counter where a chef prepares a host of snacks in front of diners. But it’s the entrance that got me – any room entered via a wall of wine and a cheese cupboard is a good one. Yes, the walls here are lined not with wallpaper, but cheese and wine. So I was sold before I’d sat down.
Served up from the counter, we ordered 2 fresh snacks before diving into the richness of the main event. Cornish crab salad with brown crab crackers was a light prelude, but also a standalone triumph.
The porchetta with white asparagus was also a welcome fresh pre-starter, on what was a warm spring evening. The subtle gribiche dressing complemented the dish perfectly, not distracting from the quality of the porchetta and asparagus. When the ingredients are this good, simplicity is king.
Talking of fine ingredients, the Orkney scallop blew us away. Don’t be fooled by the small portion – this is no ordinary scallop. Packing more of a punch than most scallops I’ve previously tried combined, the rich but fresh flavour, paired with a creamy beurre blanc and sprinkling of oscietra caviar, makes this a dish worth returning for.
Continuing the theme of starters that don’t hold back, the foie gras was a far cry from the pale block atop a crispy toast slice I’ve eaten elsewhere. Instead, an impressively meaty slab boldly ruled the centre of the plate, delicately surrounded by pickled vegetables. Whilst the vegetables added a splash of colour and were tasty in their own right, they played second fiddle to the foie gras, which had a melt-in-the-mouth creaminess that belied its imposing demeanour as a dark, brooding beast on my plate.
The roast beef main, and you may be sensing a theme here, was rich and packed with flavour. Like the foie gras, the main event sat proudly in the centre of the plate, joined by a bold Bercy sauce, morel mushrooms, and fresh white asparagus. There are few greater pleasures in life than a rich sauce atop perfectly cooked meat, and given Michel Roux Jr has his name above the door, it’s no surprise that Roux at The Landau have mastered this most French of combinations.
Served with polenta, endive and kumquat, the duck offered something slightly less traditional, but equally impressive. Tender duck alongside the soft polenta, slight crunch of endive and tang of kumquat, made for a well balanced dish, proving that this kitchen can be inventive as well as pay homage to the classics.
To finish, having seen them on display, we had to sample the selection of British and French cheeses. We left the choice of cheese to our waiter, but were not disappointed. The Comte and Sommerin were particular highlights, but I feel I’ll need to sample the entire selection just to be sure.
So I left Roux at The Landau wondering several things. When can I return? Just how much is too much cheese? And will my landlord allow a wall of wine?
Roux at The Landau
The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA