Why go here:
This is the newest partnership of the duo that established London’s acclaimed 2 Michelin-starred French restaurant, La Gavroche. Dine here before it becomes as hard to get a table here as the former.
What it looks like:
Housed in the famous Langham hotel & next to one of London’s best bars, the Artesian, you enter the restaurant via a corridor lined with an extensive collection of wines from around the world.
The dining room is a circular hall with gilded timber walls, Vera Wang designed China-ware, brass chandeliers and fresh roses adorning every table, all of which leads up to making it one of the most elegant venues around in London.
Unlike most other restaurants whose only freebie is fresh-baked bread, we started off here with complimentary blue cheese souffle which was just glorious and melted on my tongue in a fraction of a second. How I wish there was more of it. I wanted the taste to linger in my mouth for just a bit longer.
Thankfully, my starter arrived soon after to distract me from dreaming about the souffle. I had ordered the Roast Cornish squid which was served with a salt-cod brandade. You will be a bit surprised when you see the dish because your fried squid is served in an unusual colour- navy blue! This is due to the use of squid ink in the preparation of the batter. But beyond the unusual look, this was a simple dish albeit done perfectly. Squids were cooked well and the brandade, which is a buttery emulsion of salt cod and potato in olive oil ,was luxuriously silky.
For mains, I had the monkfish dressed in pistachio and continuing the theme of unique colors, the dish came with a black curry and an orange saffron & pomegranate biryani. The highlight of the dish was surprisingly the black curry, which I am yet to figure out the components of. All I can tell you is that it had a mild spicy and smoky flavour which was well complimented by the sweetness of the pomegranate and the warm saffron in the biryani. The fish was fresh and crispy-skinned without being oily.
My friend ordered the butter roasted beef sirloin which looked less exciting than my fish but was well cooked. The ox tongue potatoes on the side were particularly scrumptuous and the green garlic butter topping it all added to the taste.
Moving onto dessert, we had to go for the Chocolate Millefeuille, the star dish featured on the website. And when it arrived, I realised how much better it looked in real life than in pictures! The chocolate glaze on top was shinier than a mirror- I swear I could see it reflecting the chandeliers on the ceiling (or maybe I was a bit tipsy at this point). The chocolate filling side were little globules of deliciousness. The maple ice cream on the side was also good although I would have preferred it to have a stronger flavour.
We ended the meal with a final round of complimentary goodness- a platter of freshly made petit fours including blood orange jelly, berry macaroons, artisan cheeses and more.
My only complain was with the service which seemed a bit unfocused due to there being too many waiters on rounds at the same time and all of them taking turns to serve us.
This is a glamorous venue with food that parallels Michelin-starred restaurants in quality and presentation, so that the prices do seem pretty justified. This is one of London’s best contemporary French restaurants and is definitely set to impress your date, your client or your Mum.