Classic European food in the relaunched Palm Court at The Langham
Built in 1865 and ceremoniously opened by HRH The Prince of Wales, The Langham is London’s earliest great hotel, and Europe’s first ‘Grand Hotel’. The Palm Court, the hotel’s inner restaurant, is located through the twirling entrance doors and up the creamy marble staircase, and is a venue that is said to have hosted the first official afternoon high tea. Both the traditions of old and the modern musings of today combine in this striking space, which runs with the kind of smooth efficiency that speaks of centuries of experience, a state of being that is exhibited perfectly at dinner today in The Palm Court.
The relaunch of The Palm Court coincides neatly with the 150th anniversary of The Langham, and showcases a new menu conceived by Executive Chef Chris King, in partnership with Michel Roux. The menu is detailed with classic French dishes inspired by the iconic Grand cafes of Europe, and as such is well suited to the Langham Hotel.
The tasting menu today is a collection of some of the best dishes from the a la carte and starts with a delicate selection of amuse bouche, which both myself and the wonderful Lauren from Lifestyle Diaries sup on happily whilst chatting about our most recent food adventures.
The menu makes a comely start with the Palm Court lobster salad, which comprises a red arm of the prized crustacean interleaved with avocado, hearts of palm and sauce Marie Rose.
A move into the fine dining of Russia is seen in the next course of chicken Pojarski, a traditional dish that has been updated to use poultry instead of the original veal. The chicken is very thinly breaded and delicately fried, served with moreish matchstick potatoes. I like it, but it feels like it might be better suited to a brasserie environment rather than a fine dining experience.
Steak next with a Buccleuch ribeye cut, covered in a verdant forest floor of chives and a deep, dark sauce. Miniature roasted potatoes and creamed spinach are just the right accompaniments to this fat-lined cut.
One of the reasons I so enjoy this sort of classic menu is for the little gems it has to offer, like the Ile Flottante dessert which is so rare a find in London. The Ile Flottante, or ‘Floating Island’, is a traditional French dessert that consists of a poached meringue floating on crème anglaise. The poaching gives the meringue an incredible quality – an airiness and lightness that is just pure heaven to put in your mouth.
The final dessert is a take on profiteroles: these ones filled with a silky chocolate and praline ganache and then poured over with a Langham No. 150 chocolate sauce. The Langham No. 150 chocolate is a specially created invention, made to celebrate 150 years of service. I won’t ruin the surprise for you, but there is more than one thing in this beauty that makes it pop in the mouth… Ok, that was possibly the lamest thing that I’ve ever typed, but ya – it’s good. Mouth tinglingly good… I’ll stop now.
I adore the new menu at the Palm Court and cannot wait to be back to try out more – the wagyu bolognaise has caught my particular attentions, followed perhaps by another Ile Flottante and a slice of Opera with an espresso sauce.
If you’d like to try out the menu yourself then I would budget a per person spend of around £75, which should comfortably feed you three course.
Tube: Oxford Circus
Address: 1C Regent Street, London W1B 1JA
Tel: 020 7636 1000
I was invited to review Palm Court at The Langham