Review of 'Roux at the Landau'

My wife surprised me a few weeks ago by revealing she had booked us in at Roux at the Landau for a Sunday brunch. Our birthdays are a week apart so this was to be OUR special treat, not just hers or mine, it was for both of us. We had both selected other restaurants for our actual birthday night dinners (she chose Kalamari and I chose Tredwells) but it was nice that we had this to look forward to as well. No, we don't always eat like this but every once in a while it is nice to splash out a bit…

I have always been a fan of the Rouxs, and in particular, Michel Roux Jr., as chefs in their own rights (see my reviews of Michel's Le Gavroche, and Roux at Parliament Square and Alain's The Waterside Inn) not just television personalities. They offer a first class dining experience with exceptional service. Sure you pay for it but every once in a while, it is very nice to pay them a visit. So, how would “Roux at the Landau” compare? Well, very favourably indeed as it turns out…

Wine Cases

“Roux at the Landau” is located inside the “Langham Hotel” in Marylebone opposite the BBC headquarters. We arrived before our noon reservation only to find the doors locked so we had a look around the lobby of the very nice hotel (and at the tea menu for the “Palm Court”) while we waited. The doors eventually were opened and we were let in. At the main entrance there is a large room for parties on the left then the reception. A rather dark corridor lined with cases of wine lead you into the main dining area that seats I would say about 30-40. The tall ceilings and curved walls give the place a sense of grandeur but the large tall windows facing the street, low lights and soft furnishings a sense of intimacy. We had a table on the wall opposite the windows so were tucked a bit out of the way.

Interior

On Sundays between noon and 2:30 they offer the “Roux Farmhouse Brunch” for £49 each. Seeing the menu alone is a bit confusing but we learned from our waiter that this provides a selection of incredible starters (buffet-style), a main course then a selection of magnificent (no, really) desserts (also buffet-style) including the legendary Roux cheese board (help yourself!). To begin with we were brought some fluffy and delicate fresh (I believe, though I may be mistaken) “burrata” cheese (like a very tender mozzarella) topped with fresh herbs and olive oil served with crisp bread. Absolutely delicious if a bit tricky to cut into pieces in the deep bowl it was served in (yeah, I know, complain, complain).

Burrata Starter

We ordered a bottle of mineral water (the Roux's own, of course, £6.50 each) which was quite nice - Thankfully not at all salty and very lightly carbonated. My companion chose from the rather heavy leather-bound wine list a glass of “Gavoty Rose” (£12) which she said was quite nice - Not too dry and not too acidic (two things she tries to avoid).

Next we made our way to the large serving table in the middle of the room for our starters. Today they were “Smoked Scottish salmon, whisky cured for 'Chez Roux' (wonderfully smokey and I enjoyed it even though I don't normally like salmon this way), “Cornish Oysters 'mignonette'” (wow, fresh oysters on a buffet! Seated delicately on top of a large bowl of ice these plump morsels were fantastic…and very delicious with a wonderfully tangy shallot/vinegar topping. I think I had three or four…my companion never had tried them before and ended up with two or three), “Jambon persille”, “French and Italian charcuterie and cheese” (very nice indeed with a good selection of very good quality cheeses and cut meats), “Green been salad, shallot dressing” (perfectly cooked beans with an understated dressing), “Grenaille potatoes and smoked herring salad” (not a fan of herring but surprisingly un-fishy and quite pleasant), “Salt baked beetroot salad, horseradish and watercress” (didn't taste the horseradish really but the beetroot was perfectly cooked and very tasty, even though I am not a huge fan of it), “Chicken Caesar salad, Parmesan, anchovies” (not a fan of anchovies but my better half told me they were hardly noticeable and the dish was quite tasty), “Ham and Comte Pithivier” (talking to a chef putting these out he told us they were his favourite but I found it a bit too overwhelmingly cheesey for my taste but the pastry was perfect), and ”'Carottes rapées', citrus and calamansi dressing“ (my companion said this was pretty much the best of the starters…shame I didn't try any).

Starters

Oysters

There were six choices for the mains which we were asked to chose from soon after we were seated (before we had our starters) then we were asked to tell them we wanted them brought to our table. The options included three fish dishes, two meat and one vegetarian.

For my main I chose the “Roast suckling pig belly, potatoes and chorizo, tangy apple sauce” which was carved beside the table in a serving cart by the waiter. As it was placed in front of me a small amount of the roasting liquid was poured on the side of my plate. The belly was delicious and tender with a perfectly crunchy skin. A spicy tomato/chorizo sauce and the wonderfully not-sweet apple sauce were great with the belly. A light rocket salad with vinaigrette added a bit of colour to the plate as well.

Serving Cart

Pork Belly

My companion tried the “Grilled Buccleuch beef steak, 'Pay' lentils, parsley and anchovy condiment” which she told me was really tasty. The slices of beef were cooked at a perfect medium rare (we were not asked, of course), and the parsley sauce bringing a very fresh herb-y note to the dish. We do not recall seeing the anchovy but a jus was poured onto the meat when it arrived which could have been touched by anchovies but nothing really fishy in the dish at all. She really liked the roast potato thins scattered on top that brought a bit of texture to the dish.

Grilled Buccleuch beef steak

Though getting quite full we were persuaded (!) to have a look at the dessert buffet: “Selection of tartes du jour”, “Flan á la vanille”, “Classic Iles flottantes”, “Pecan nuts 'Paris-Brest'”, “Langhan chocolate mousse”, “Hazelnut and Jinora verrine”, and “Coconut and chocolate macoron”. There was also a small assortment of sliced fruit as a palate cleanser.

Wow. Yeah, it all looked amazing and tasted even better. We were only able to sample a few of what was on offer but everything was perfectly prepared.

My Selection

The “Pecan nuts 'Paris-Brest'” (a small doughnut with cream filling) were deliciously nutty, the generous portion of “Flan á la vanille” had a wonderful flaky pastry and creamy vanilla filling, and the “Coconut and chocolate macoron” were absolutely stunning to look at - a perfectly white macoron decorated with an edible flower that when you bit into had an amazingly rich chocolate centre. I did partake of four of the (hard) cheeses from the cheese board (which had about 16 different cheeses on it split pretty much evenly between soft and hard) which were perfectly room temperature and at their best. Wonderful. I only wish I had more room to try more of them…

Unsurprisingly after all of this we were quite full (though perhaps this comes as a surprise from a visit to a fine dining establishment such as this!) but we did make room for a cappuccino (£6.50) for my companion and a fresh mint tea for me (£6.50; oddly with a very stiff set of sugar tongs which made picking up the cubes a bit tricky…yeah, moaning again about the trivial, I know!).

At £153 for the two of us, this is not a typical brunch but it was an exceptional experience. The staff were amazing and made us feel very welcome. When they found out we had both celebrated our birthdays in the past few weeks they were considerate enough to bring us both out a plate with “Happy belated birthday” on it along with two amazing salted caramel truffles (delicious - went down very easily).

The bill had a discretionary 12.5% service charge already added but, perhaps slightly naughty, also included a space for an “optional gratuity” which I was about to fill in until I found note about the service charge (my credit card was also used without my providing either a signature or pin…oddly). We did mean to leave a little extra in cash on the table but only remembered as we were walking out the door.

We did find out on leaving that, regretfully, their “Farmhouse Brunch” will only be offered for the next nine weeks after which they will be undergoing refurbishment with a large seafood bar being placed in the middle of the room. I can only say I am disappointed at this but look forward to seeing what they come up with. Even if it is only half as good it will be very good indeed! Thinking we will have to come back for dinner at some point for the exceptional food, staff and pleasant ambience.

Rating:

Review Date: 2017-10-29


Cuisine: French

Address: 1C Portland PLace London, W1B 1JA United Kingdom

Public Transport: TUBE Oxford Circus

Location: London (England) - Marylebone

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7965 0165

URL: http://rouxatthelandau.com/