For the first time in nineteen years, father and son Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr have joined their culinary genius together to create a new restaurant in the West End, Roux at The Landau in the The Langham Hotel in Portland Place, and this is news indeed. The restaurant has its own dedicated entrance opposite Broadcasting House and a David Collins-decorated dining room that is a fittingly lovely environment for the restaurant’s superb modern French cuisine and fine wines.
This pair of legendary chefs has long held a place in the nation’s gastronomic heart for their near-perfect proprietorship of Le Gavroche in Mayfair, originally founded by Albert and his brother Michel, now proprietor of The Waterside Inn in Bray. Le Gavroche holds three Michelin stars, has been several organisations’ Restaurant of the Year, and has ranked among the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants for some years, as well as being one of the capital’s favourite places to enjoy exquisite food, wine and service.
This year, Michel Roux Jr opened Roux at Parliament Square in the Grade II listed RICS building, so with the opening of Roux at The Landau, it has been an amazing 50th birthday year. We were fortunate to catch up with him for a few minutes to chat about the opening of Roux at The Landau restaurant.
Why have you decided to work with your Dad again after such a long time?
It is such an important and prestigious project that we thought that both our skills and experience together would be a stronger force.
How do you complement each other in your ‘business’ relationship?
We get on very well! He has more time on his hands now that he has retired from the kitchen so he can implement more business rules that we need to have in place. I am a little bit more hands-on.
What is going to be different about Roux at the Landau in comparison to Roux at Parliament Square?
Two great cuisines and two very driven chefs in place, both striving for perfection — which is what the Roux name is all about — but with their own identity. We are not in anyway trying to recreate Le Gavroche.
Will you be working with your Dad just at Roux at the Landau or at Parliament Square too?
My father is involved at Parliament Square and as he has more time can look at the business more as a whole.
Are the Brasserie Roux restaurants part of the same group? Will you be involved with them too?
Yes, the brasseries are all part of same group under the same name. The brasseries are my father’s passion and he oversees that more than I.
Does your collaboration with your father signal the expansion of the ‘Roux’ brand?
Well no, we have always been very active: we now have three restaurants in London and an outside catering company feeding many thousands. People seem astonished, but we do it discreetly and just get on with our jobs.
Le Gavroche is obviously where your culinary heart is. Will this new venture eat into the time you spend there?
I don’t think so, obviously the vast majority of my time is at Le Gavroche but The Landau is ten minutes in a cab and Parliament Square less than that. I have been known to visit each venue in one service! The fact that I have great head chefs and front of house allows me to do this.
Chris King (Roux protégé and Chef de Cuisine at Roux at The Landau) is obviously a great talent. What will the food be like? Will there be accessibly priced set menus as well as a la carte?
The set price for a three-course lunch is £28.50 and £35 for the Festive Lunch in December. There will be tasting menus and a full blown a la carte. Chris King has trained with me a for long, long time. He is versed in the classics but also worked extensively in Spain and in a three star restaurant in the States (Per Se restaurant). He is bringing all of that together and producing some beautiful, flavourful food.
What would you choose to eat from the menu? Which dishes are your favourites?
He does a stunning lobster brioche bun, drenched in clarified butter…it’s stunning.
It must be great to work with Silvano again. [Silvano Giraldin was for some years the legendary restaurant manager of Le Gavroche and an award-winner in his own right.) How much involvement will he have in the running of the restaurant if any?
Silvano retired two years ago abd we got him on as a consultant. He is still working quite a bit; he will still advise and make sure everything is running as we want. We have great front of house at The Landau: Franco [Becci], who is a maitre d’ in the Silvano mould.
Thank you, Michel Roux.
And there you have it, a glimpse into the meticulous planning, long experience and sheer hard graft that goes into creating a new destination restaurant. We wish Roux at The Landau every success, but then, at toptable, we wish every new restaurant and hard-working restaurateur success. We know how much energy they expend and the risks they take. When it all comes together into something delightful, it’s truly something to celebrate.