Marking anniversary in real five-star style
KAREN BRITTON finds out what life is like when staying in one of London’s finest hotels The Langham
“HAPPY anniversary” she said as we entered the grand dining room. It was a year to the moment that we had first met, in a bar back home in Chorlton.
And, a year on, things can’t be bad as we were in the gorgeous Roux at the Landau fine dining restaurant at The Langham hotel in London, the restaurant by celebrity chef Michel Roux and father Albert.
The five-star hotel was opened in 1865 by the Prince of Wales and boasts an enviable location at the top of Regent Street. It’s stunning. Every corner looks expensive. At first we wondered if we were making the place look untidy, but soon we felt very welcome.
What a way to mark our first year and we’d made ourselves look the part for our dinner in the restaurant.
After our friendly welcome, we were shown to our table. A ‘happy anniversary’ card from the team sat on one of the best tables in the room. They were making such a fuss of us. And we set about trying to fit in with this fine establishment.
And while certainly fancy, the service, as we’d found at the hotel, was warm and welcoming, but in a genuine way, not an irritating over-polished way. It was friendly yet slick.
As we worked through our three courses we noticed how smooth the service was.
We barely noticed when the right cutlery appeared for our next course and staff responsible for each different job moved gracefully around the room.
My starter was sea bream ceviche with avocado, lime and radish salad and my plus one went for a creativelypresented ‘crisp hen egg’ option.
For main I had lamb ’barigoule’, artichokes, green harissa and sweet pepper chutney and his was roast John Dory and gnocchi with the most delicious shellfish sauce we’ve ever had. The silky texture was stunning and the staff pleased us with an extra serving.
I think they picked up on our enthusiasm for the whole experience.
My plus one didn’t wait for the dessert menu before asking if they had chocolate ice cream. I gave him a stare. Our waitress said ‘of course, but take a look at our dessert menu too’, before bringing us the desserts we picked - and a special side of chocolate ice cream - again the best ice cream we’ve eaten without a doubt.
And they didn’t flinch when he asked for another scoop – although I may have.
Our desserts were pistachio soufflé with raspberry sorbet and caramelia mousse, bitter chocolate, with Pedro Ximenez ice-cream.
At around £140 for the food, plus wine – served to us by a sommelier, who clearly did not mess about when it comes to wine – I wondered just how fancy food can be until it just becomes overpriced.
The prices are elevated, but it’s London, of course, and it was a fantastic experience in a stunning building.
Nothing was too much trouble and I know it’s five star and you expect to be treated, to get what you pay for, but it really felt like we could ask for anything and it wouldn’t be a hassle.
We were spoiled throughout and left walking on air after our anniversary dinner.
The restaurant is one of three dining options in the hotel. The Palm Court is another, the ultimate grand tea room. Sat gazing out at the beautiful room at breakfast, I soaked up the atmosphere.
It’s apparently ‘where the tradition of afternoon tea began’, we were told. And from the civilised setting, I could see why, with its sumptuous cushioned booths, tinkling piano and gentle chatter.
The other dining option is The Langham Club Lounge, with free-flowing Champagne and canapes, fresh baked cookies, afternoon tea, all to have when you fancy. It’s a sanctuary, I thought, as I sat enjoying a glass of fizz, bubbles zipping up the glass in the sunlight.
And then there’s the bar Artesian, a cocktail bar which has won ‘World’s Best Bar’ four years in a row and is a destination bar for Londoners.
This summer the bar is being joined by a new pub, described as a ‘post modern interpretation of the traditional English pub’.
The hotel is also getting a new spa, named the ‘Chuan Body + Soul’ spa, which incorporates ancient principles of traditional Chinese medicine into its treatments, with gym, wet rooms, steam and sauna facilities as well as the swimming pool.
It’s all in the heart of London, just opposite the BBC in the heart, between Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Mayfair and Soho with access to the shops and restaurants of Regent Street and Bond Street and a short stroll to Regent’s Park.
We enjoyed the city in bright sunshine all weekend, making us realise again that London is only two hours on the train from Manchester and why don’t we do this more often?
The buzz of the city is another level. I still find it an adventure.
If you want to treat yourself, head to The Langham. It’s dreamy, really gorgeous.
You rarely have nights you’ll remember forever, but I won’t forget our anniversary dinner at The Langham. It sounds cheesy but it felt like something out of a film.
We were made to feel really special, if only for the weekend.
You need moments like that every now and again.
The Langham’s fine dining restaurant
One of the opulent bedrooms