I love Masterchef, and the main reason for that is a man by the name of Michel Roux, Jr.
Awww, just look at him. I love the way he’s so kind to the contestants even when they’ve clearly gone way off the mark – ‘This fish has a LOVELY flavour! It’s just such a shame you were sick in it!’ - and the way he knocks up French classics as modestly as if they were beans on toast (although if anyone could mess up beans on toast, I could.) Last year, sometime around November, my friends and I were enthusing over the show and decided we really wanted to visit a Roux restaurant – and when better than a depressing, rainy Tuesday in January?
This was my second visit to the Roux at the Landau, but I was no less impressed on walking in – tucked away behind the Langham Hotel on Regent Street, it is beautiful, understated elegance – like a stately home, with shining china and glass and mahogany everywhere you look. We sat down and ordered cocktails – the menu is fairly limited, but my friend wanted a French martini and they were happy to make one for her, which she said was excellent.
They brought us a little taster of chicken in pastry rolls, which were to die for and got me really excited for the main – flaky, buttery pastry and soft, tender chicken. Yum.
We ordered from the set menu, which is incredible value - £35 for three courses or £45 to add wine, which we did (obviously). I went for a risotto with bacon, sweet potato and chicken liver.
It may not be the prettiest dish, risotto was incredible – buttery, with salty, crispy bacon and perfectly cooked sweet potato. I’m not the world’s biggest chicken liver fan, but this was juicy and succulent.
The girls both had haddock and salmon fishcakes, which they agreed were excellent.
My main was chicken with a potato cake and battered asparagus (I’m describing this terribly, because I can’t exactly recall what it was called) and one of the most gorgeous sauces I’ve ever had. It was really, really excellent – I wanted to eat it over and over again!
The others ordered alike again and both went for ox cheeks, which they described as incredibly rich – the meat just fell away from the bone. I didn’t even have food envy as mine was so good!
After that, we shared our desserts of ice cream (champagne sorbet, white chocolate rum, and treacle flavours) with sugar biscuit and a chocolate praline with white chocolate and yet more ice cream.
It was truly decadent – I can imagine Michel pouring a tonne of butter into the pan, but it was worth every calorie!
We finished up with peppermint tea, black coffee and a pretty array of petit fours – insanely thick chocolate brownies, mango gems and a fluffy little butterfly cake.
It was such a lovely, cosy evening and time seemed to disappear. The service is fantastic – attentive without being overbearing or pretentious – and even the toilets are lovely! It has made me love Michel Roux even more, and I hope I can visit his other restaurants very soon!