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Roux at The Landau
If you ask for a tomato and avocado salad at Roux at The Landau, you will be disappointed. Chef de cuisine Chris King tells me he only sources food that is in season for his menu - and February isn't the time of year for tomatoes. So they will not appear in any dish, "They aren't nice this time of year and avocados are hard," he says. But come the summer, tomatoes will be used in plenty.
This fresh faced chef, who is only in his mid 20s, has been given the prestigious position of chef de cuisine at Albert and Michel Roux Jr's latest London restaurant Roux at the Landau at The Langham Hotel.
The culinary legendary father and son took over the restaurant, which is opposite BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, in November and they must be cock-a-hoop with Chris because the day I went along for lunch, the restaurant was full and buzzing.
The restaurant has its own entrance on Portland Place, and before I entered the dining room, I walked through a corridor with a glass-fronted cabinets filled with world class wines. The oval-shaped dining room, designed by David Collins, evokes a feeling of calm with its wooden panels on the walls, antique brass chandelier, large arch-shaped windows looking out onto the BBC building, round tables with curved seats and discreet booths - all in mixture of muted pastel colours.
Chris has had the perfect training for the discerning customers who come to eat at Roux at the Landau. He has worked at Le Gavroche for the past five years. He completed his apprenticeship there and was given the opportunity to cook at Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York, before returning to Le Gavroche and then Roux at Parliament Square as sous chef.
His classical culinary skills can be seen through out the menu but he's added a contemporary lighter edge to the dishes, which makes it such a hit with the diners.
The lunch began with some mouth-watering little eats of quail's egg and other delights while we waited for our starters to arrive. My starter was scallops with a Jerusalem artichoke puree and slivers of truffle and thinly sliced turnip which just melted in the mouth. The scallops were large, juicy and light, all the flavours blended perfectly together and nothing overpowered. For my main course, I tried pollock with mussels and shrimps. This was delicate in flavour and the fish just flaked away. For dessert I went for the pear William and walnut soufflé with bitter chocolate sorbet, which was delicious.
The whole eating experience was neatly and seamlessly conducted under the watchful eye of restaurant manager Franco Becci, and head sommelier Zach Saghir was ready to recommend wines to go with the food - from just a single glass to a selection of bottles to complement each course.
If you can't decide what you want to eat, you can always go for the tasting menu and has complementary wines as well.
The whole dining experience was just perfect, from the food to the service.
Obviously Albert and Michel Roux knew what they were doing when they gave Chris the reins to such a prestigious address - the young chef is making his mark in fine dining.
Roux at The Landau The Langham Portland Place London Telephone 020 7965 0165 or book online at Open Table www.opentable.co.uk