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Le Gavroche is part of the culinary furniture in London and is credited with creating the new wave of gastronomy in this country pulling away from the dark ages of boiling the living daylights out of our food and introducing techniques still used today which have been steadily built on to create our now high standard of cuisine in this country.
The owners of Le Gavroche were Michel and Albert Roux, two brothers who took one of the biggest gambles of all back in the 1960's by starting up their now acclaimed French restaurant in a time where Britain was still emerging from post-war grub. One half of that partnership, Albert and his son Michel Roux Jr, now of course sole owner of Le Gavroche, have forged a partnership and opened Roux at the Landau in the Langham hotel in London and after hearing positive feedback from critics and diners alike, we decided to get our first taste of Roux-style hospitality.
On approach the Langham is grand in stature and steeped in history, the restaurant itself sits just to the side with the gold plaque visible to the left of the stairs with an entrance similar to Le Gavroche, before you are even inside the building it feels like a Roux restaurant. Once inside we were greeted by a friendly hostess who took our coats (don't worry, she did give them back) and we were shown down a corridor lined with bottles of vintage red into a dining room oozing class, grandeur and intimacy, a good start indeed.
Menu's in hand we were treated to an amuse bouche of salt cod croquettes encased in squid ink breadcrumb with a smooth puree of fennel. One thing is for sure, in this place you will never go hungry. No sooner had the amuse been devoured and pleasing on the pallet we were supplied with some rather tasty bread and a small block of unsalted butter with a mound of rock salt to one side, fine details being a focus of this restaurant.
We opted for the menu du jour, a decent offering at £35 for three courses, mineral water, coffee and petit fours, add a bottle of wine between two for an extra £10 and this certainly screams value for money. Starters arrived soon after, Hen's egg with a smoked haddock mousseline and wild garlic and duck sausage thinly sliced with pickled vegetables, both were subtly flavoured and light, just perfect and without criticism which the same could be said for the atmosphere in the dining room.
Main's arrived with succulent chicken breast sitting on a bed of oyster mushrooms and spinach with a side of straw potatoes drizzled with a cider cream sauce. Portion sizes were noted on this occasion and it was mutually agreed that they were certainly generous in comparison with some places in the capital which is always a bonus, in addition to that they were damn tasty.
Dessert read like a dream, pistachio bavarois with pistachio cream, white chocolate cream and rum ice cream and once you get past the stunning visual aspect, the taste is as good as the picture. Smooth ice cream with crispy shards of caramel going into smooth pistachio loveliness providing the perfect end to a rather good meal.
Or so we thought, the kind staff at the restaurant had remembered it was my girlfriends birthday and duly bought out the petit fours along with some sublime coffee with 'Happy Birthday' inscribed on the slate in white chocolate, nice touch.
So overall the bill came to £101 which is exceptional value given the service, quality of food, setting and reputation of the influence that's gone into this place. The Roux family are no strangers to Michelin star's and other accolades and if head chef Chris King and his team continue in this vein then I can see Roux at the Landau following in the footsteps of Le Gavroche.