"Odd moments of brilliance, but overall it fails to deliver"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Roux at the Landau, situated within the iconic Langham hotel, is the joint venture of Albert Roux and his son, Michel Jr, who currently runs Le Gavroche. The two had not worked together in almost two decades until launching this haute cuisine, lavishly-priced restaurant in November 2010. They’ve also joined forces with Gavroche-trained Chris King, so we’re half-expecting luxurious combinations of French flavours, except that with it currently being vegetarian month, we’re here to try their new meat-free tasting menu.
The feast starts with a very moreish amuse bouche of breaded stuffed olives with a spicy yoghurt dip. The first course is a chestnut broth that boasts great textures. Crunchy sprouts, soft chanterelles, and pillowy thyme-infused gnocchi are delightful together, and the fresh-tasting Domaine La Croix Gratiot wine brings out extra creaminess. But where the first dish is carefully composed, the next appears to be cobbled together for the sake of presentation. Pretty red young beetroot with blood orange and pickled fennel looks quite the picture, but the beetroot is bitter, the fennel is overpowering and the sweet orange does nothing to make this work.
The seared cauliflower with dollops of Greek yoghurt, sultanas, chili and saffron vinaigrette is better, but could do with more vinaigrette as this is what binds the flavours together. Things improve with the roast salsify, as roasting makes this root vegetable hearty like Christmas Lunch, and the addition of sour cherries poached in verjus, made with unripe grapes, is excellent. The dry Domaine Gavoty Cuvee Clarendon is perfect for the sweet and sour hues.
Also good is the cavatelli pasta with truffles, with the mozzarella-like stracciatella cheese and delicious artichoke.
A glass of 20 year old Port is paired with a wafer-thin slither of a Pecorino-like cheese which turns out to be a ewe’s milk cheese from Sussex. Lord of the Hundreds is so-called not because of its impressive age but because of the tax collector that operated in the hundred shires before counties were created. (Was he paid in cheese? Who knows) Paired with mustardy swede chutney, onions braised in ale and crisp bread, we wish there was more of it.
The meal ends on a high note, with a fantastic bitter chocolate millefeuille with maple ice cream, and the salty pecans sandwiched in between each layer make a satisfying crunch.
While the sleek dining room (attractive modern chandeliers, screens for privacy) and just the right level of attentive service cannot be faulted, with a menu priced at £80 a head minus drinks (£140 with wine pairing) the food needs to be impeccable. And while there is the odd moment of brilliance, overall it fails to deliver.
Leila reviewed Roux at The Landau on Tue 20 Mar 2012