February 2018: Roux at the Landau will reopen this month with a â€œnew informal, ingredient-led dining conceptâ€. Michel Roux Jr's restaurant at the Langham hotel will not only feature a pared back menu but a new look for the dining room.
Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
Fans of the Roux’s management of this “calm and elegant” chamber truly adore its “quiet” and “romantic” style, while also praising its “polite and seriously attentive service” and “superb French cuisine”. Its ratings have waned in the last couple of years however, as a small but vociferous minority give it flak for “unadventurous” food they consider “average for the price”.
“The room will make your date swoon”, at this “oasis”, over the road from Broadcasting House, whose spaciousness and serenity also mark it out as being “great for a business lunch”. “Classic cuisine is beautifully presented, and immaculately served”.
“There’s a peaceful serenity” to this “beautiful” chamber, over the road from Broadcasting House, suiting it to either a “comfortable” business lunch or “romantic treat”; most reporters praise the “fabulous” cuisine too, although one or two “expected more” of the illustrious Roux brand.
The Roux brothers’ “quiet and dignified” outpost, opposite Broadcasting House, offers “outstanding food and service in a really beautiful space”, say its fans (and “superb value” too, if you go for the set lunch); this year, however, there were also quite a few critics, who found meals “below expectations”.
Roux at the Landau W1
An elegantly-housed Roux family operation, opposite Broadcasting House, whose impressive all-round standards make it a rarity among London's grand hotel dining rooms; the set lunch, in particular, offers spectacular value.
The English like to think they've got the whole restaurant thing sussed nowadays. But we're still waiting for the English chef who can demonstrate that he can build an upmarket restaurant empire with real staying power.
For the French, however, this sort of thing seems to come almost as second nature, so it's perhaps no surprise that the Roux brothers - the Frenchmen who almost single-handedly imported haute cuisine to London in the '60s - are still going strong. The family still runs both London's only grand classic restaurant, Le Gavroche, and the UK's longest-established grand out-of-town restaurant, the Waterside Inn.
There are also various Roux-branded operations in London and abroad, whose standards are rarely less than 'solid'. Of late, there seems to have been something of a push, with new London operations in Scotland, in Westminster (at RICS), and now at the Langham Hotel.
The newcomer in the grand Marylebone hotel - which, as it happens, was one of the world's first grand hotels when it was built - is simply a great addition to London. A first-week lunch - two people between them sampling most of the set menu - found just nothing to complain about, and, for £46 a head, this was one of the best-value meals we have ever had in London. (That price includes a bottle between two of a surprisingly good Australian riesling/viognier from the ungrabbily-priced wine list.)
That's not to say that there is anything startling about the cuisine: it's just that everything was done at least well, and often very well. All of the three breads in the basket (including, for once, some semi-decent baguette) were good, as were the appetisers of warm honeyed nuts and plumptious olives. Both starters - a chowder, and a winter salad with chestnuts - were beautifully presented, and with taste to match.
A main courses of pollack (again prettily presented, with romanesco cauliflower) perhaps outscored the pot au feu (twinned with the English sauce 'Albert'), but the chocolate tart we shared for pudding was pretty much unimprovable in either presentation or taste. The petits-fours, including an excellent mango jelly, were also very much in the first division.
Service is solicitous but not remotely overbearing, and the dining room is physically perhaps the best in town - a lofty and classically elegant chamber, it has has been updated in a style which is entirely sympathetic. Just another aspect of an operation which those in favour of 'updated traditional' London style may find uniquely attractive all-round.
1c Portland Pl, London, W1B 1JA
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lunch noon - 2.30 pm, dinner 5.30 pm - 10.30 pm
Last orders: 10.30 pm