Britain's Best Brunch: Roux At The Landau
This month at Twisted we’ve had chilli-stuffed baked potatoes, ramen carbonara and breakfast noodles. But there's nothing like a bit of fine dining to cleanse the palate and realign the taste buds. So I headed to Roux at The Landau, one of the country’s best restaurants, serving some of the finest food known to man.
Having passed a wine collection which would finance a small suburban starter home, we were led into a circular dining room. Large striking paintings of trees adorn the gently curving walls while an arsenal of cutlery adorns your table.
Here, you are simultaneously aware of and oblivious to the gentle hum of the traffic on the street. The restaurant is part of the Langham Hotel and is located in London's Marylebone. However, immersed in a world of luxury, it's all too easy to forget that there's a world outside at all.
The menu is masterminded by father and son duo and Albert and Michel Roux Jr and, as their surname might suggest, it has a strong French focus. To stick with the theme, we promptly opted for the free-flowing champagne. Our guy was relentlessly attentive and, like some sort of ninja waiter, would stealthily slip us top-ups at any opportunity.
Here for their famous farmhouse brunch, the starter and the dessert both take the form of a buffet, while the main is ordered à la carte. Before we could fully study the menu, we were presented with amuse-bouches of pork rillettes and salmon mousse. Already, the bar was set high.
Having recently visited Normandy and brought back half a dozen bottles of the cheapest French fizz I could find (it's all the same, right?), I was instantly struck by the smoothness of their Laurent-Perrier NV Brut champagne. But it was the food I was here for and the buffet was beckoning.
Spoilt for choice, we aimed to sample a bit of everything. Key players included the whisky cured “Chez Roux” smoked Scottish salmon and the apache potato salad. We even had an oyster each for good measure. However, the star of the show was undoubtedly the black pudding scotch egg, which was unbelievably good.
For the main, I decided on the rib of beef with king oyster mushrooms, savoy cabbage and Pommes Anna (read: layered potatoes). Meanwhile, my dining partner opted for the chicken and cep pie, with Alsace bacon and pommes mousseline (read: mashed potato).
A few champagne top-ups later and the food was ready. The first thing that struck me was the smell of the rosemary, a bed of which was nestled between the pie and the serving plate. The pie itself came complete with a purpose-built well, into which our waiter poured a bonus reservoir of gravy. However, this paled in comparison to the four-man operation going on behind me. The rib of beef is brought out and cut on a trolley, meaning that the meal has only been assembled for a matter of seconds before it's presented to you.
The beef was tender, the gravy was rich and the balance of flavours was perfect. The Pommes Anna was incredibly tasty and, as a personal favourite, they couldn't have gone far wrong with the addition of bearnaise sauce.
Maybe it's a case of always wanting what you can't have, but I couldn't help but feel that my guest had, as always, made a better choice than me. The chicken was succulent, the pastry was perfectly crumbly and the gravy was delicious. The pommes mousseline also received top marks.
It was at this point that I needed a break. I now contained more food and champagne than a shipping container leaving Calais. Locked in a never-ending battle with the waiter, he would snipe me champagne top-ups when I wasn’t concentrating. However, I was determined to finish my last glass and was ready for his next attack. Having returned from the dessert buffet with a selection of treasures, my guest said she especially enjoyed the lemon meringue pie, the bitter chocolate Saint Honoré and the Normandy creme fraîche.
Despite my sloth-like state, I decided to brave the buffet. Presented with an array of extravagant treats - such as pear and blackberry trifle and wild blueberry and thyme financier - I opted for a cookie. But make no mistake, it was the best damned cookie I’ve ever eaten. Naturally, upon returning to the table, I found that my champagne flute was full once again.
Somewhere between the incredible food, the gentle twanging of classical guitar and the David Collins designed interior, this place felt like a paradisiacal retreat. The Roux Farmhouse Brunch costs £49 ($60) per person including tea and coffee or £75 ($90) per person with free flowing Laurent-Perrier NV Brut champagne or Bloody Marys.
If that leaves change in your back pocket, you can always take a trip upstairs and stay at the Langham. The Infinity Suite has a large sitting room, a 24-hour butler and an infinity bath, costing £16,000 ($19,000) per night. Meanwhile, the Sterling Suite has six bedrooms, a drawing room with a piano and a private media lounge and costs £24,000 ($29,000) per night. For me however, it was back to reality.