Restaurants & Nightlife


First look: Chez Roux at The Langham

Words by Georgie Young

24 May 2024

Michel Roux sat at a tall leather back quilted dining booth, smiling with a glass of white wine in hand and a table full of food at Chez Roux at The Langham, London

Michel Roux returns with a nostalgic new opening – and we were first through the door to try it.

The last time someone else served me rice pudding, I was 14 years old and receiving my school dinner from a cook wearing a black and white striped apron. That’s until I dined at Chez Roux and experienced the triumphant finale of creamy, vanilla-flecked rice being placed onto our plates by a waiter in a waistcoat. Yes, Michel Roux is back – and he’s feeling nostalgic.

It’s the first new opening we’ve seen from him since Le Gavroche – the bastion of fine dining he ran alongside his father, Albert Roux – closed at the start of this year. It’s not, however, his first time at The Langham; he’s overseen most of its dining options for the past few years and, until 2023, ran Roux at The Landau in the space that’s now Mimosa. Safe to say he’s in familiar territory – and the same can be said about the menu.

Michel Roux in chef's uniform demonstrating how to plate up some food in the kitchen to another chef at Chez Roux at The Langham, London Michel Roux in chef's uniform demonstrating how to plate up some food in the kitchen to another chef at Chez Roux at The Langham, London

The restaurant is mostly inspired by Roux’s childhood memories of growing up at the Fairlawne Estate in Kent, where his father worked as a private chef during the 1960s. However, that doesn’t mean young Michel was dining on foie gras and caviar – many of his early food memories come from the head butler’s wife, Mrs Bradbrook, who introduced him to British desserts like crumble, custard, and steamed pudding.

The other influence – longtime fans of the Roux clan will be pleased to hear – is the original 1967 menu from Le Gavroche. That means we’re once again seeing the signature Roux combination of classic British dishes cooked using traditional French techniques – like Welsh rarebit and lamb chops reform (inspired by Alexis Soyer’s 1830s recipe). Nostalgia, it seems, is very much on the menu.

‘Many of the recipes that were popular during the 60s have been consigned to history, yet there is so much to love about the dishes I remember from this time,’ says Roux in a statement. ‘So, with a touch of nostalgia and much excitement, I can’t wait for guests to try the menus at Chez Roux at The Langham.’

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Palm Court at The Langham – home of Michel Roux's latest venture.

The guests, unsurprisingly, also can’t wait to try it. When we arrive the day after it opens, it’s fully booked, and our waiter tells us there are over 1,000 covers expected over the next couple of weeks. The restaurant still looks and feels like Palm Court, with its cascading lights and mirrored walls, but Roux has hung up a few new paintings – most notably, portraits of himself and his father standing guard over the entrance. He’s also changed the music, filling the room with French jazz, Frank Sinatra, and the occasional pop hit that, if you’re of a certain age, will surely whisk you back to the 1970s.

As will the food. The whole thing kicks off with a welcome sablé in tribute to Mrs Bradbrook – and as far as tributes go, being remembered via delicately flavoured cheese sandwiched between two biscuits is pretty up there. (And before you ask, yes, it is the same sablé served at Le Gavroche for decades.)

We then get stuck into salmon rillettes – delicately shredded fish piled atop Jersey potatoes and slightly charred leeks, surrounded by a Jackson Pollock-style splatter of sauce, and topped with a sprinkle of herbs. Next, a slither of lemon sole, scattered with potted shrimp, capers, and croutons, accompanied by a dinky side of green beans. The balance of textures is particularly lovely here – the falling-apart fish, the crunch of the crouton, the bite of the bean…

Cornish lemon sole meunière served on a round white plate being carried by a waiter at Chez Roux at The Langham by Michel Roux, London
Steak au poivre served on a round white plate being poured gravy over with a large spoon by chefs in the kitchen at Chez Roux at The Langham by Michel Roux, London
(L) Cornish lemon sole meunière | (R) Steak au poivre

By the time round three arrives, the dining room is full and the Bay City Rollers are playing – the ideal environment, in other words, to tuck into beef on toast. Of course, that description oversimplifies what we’re presented with: a tricolore of blushing beef, soft bread, and braised cabbage. It’s so good that we spend a moment enthusing about the toast (how is it so well-seasoned? So soft yet so crunchy?), before realising how ridiculous it is that we’re talking about toast whilst sitting in a Michel Roux restaurant at The Langham.

But that’s precisely the pleasure of Chez Roux. It takes flavours and dishes we’re all familiar with and elevates them, giving you a plate of food that’s instantly recognisable but undeniably Michel Roux. It’s food you could eat with your family, your friends, or even by yourself whilst chatting with waiters who treat you like old pals and chat with you about the rice pudding they ate as children.

Speaking of which, the final flourish is the aforementioned creamy rice. Does rice pudding need to be served tableside? Probably not. But it gives appropriate aplomb to this most nostalgic of desserts, here inspired by Mrs Bradbrook’s original 1960s recipe. It’s cooked al dente, topped with redcurrant coulis and a pinch of pistachio, polished off in minutes, and dreamt about ever since. And that, I realise, is the power of Michel Roux. He can bring you to The Langham, feed you food from his childhood, and make you feel nostalgic about 1960s Kent: the proof is very much in the rice pudding.

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Words by
Words by

Georgie Young

As our Digital Editor, Georgie writes about all types of luxury – whether that’s deep dives into London restaurant trends, interviews with famous faces, or travelogues from all over the world.

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