The Langham, located at the top of Regents Street, is a perfect retreat from one of the busiest shopping areas in London.
Dating back to 1865, it was the largest, most modern hotel in London and home to the first hydraulic lifts in England. The famous Palm Court with its beautiful art deco design interior, is apparently where the tradition of afternoon tea began over 150 years ago. (See below for some spooky details on The Langham.) Still famed for its wonderful teas served with Wedgwood china, they offer all-day dining and live jazz music. The menus were created by Executive chef Chris King in partnership with celebrity chefs Albert Roux OBE and Michel Roux Jr.
The Palm Court dining room is luxuriously and beautifully decorated. With chandeliers, mirrored pillars and soft pastel pinks, greens and cream furnishings, you can be forgiven for thinking you have been transported back in time to the 1930’s. (See below for more interesting details on The Langham.) The Jazz band adds to this feeling of nostalgia playing old hits. Service is attentive and the atmosphere is relaxed, with sofas and comfortable chairs.
Bread brought to the table is light and fluffy with a lovely crust and the accompanying tapenade, made from Kalamata olives. We ordered from the smaller menu, hoping for something light to eat. For starters we tried the Dorset crab ravioli, with leek fondue and bisque. The ravioli was perfectly cooked with a delicious filling of crabmeat and a superb rich, smooth and creamy bisque.
For the main course, the mild and flakey Roast pollack was nicely prepared with long strips of fried salsify and garnished with watercress and garlic chives. The pumpkin risotto, made from the wonderful Muscade de Provence pumpkin, had a delicious flavour, garnished with crunchy pieces of walnut, black trompette mushrooms and shavings of parmesan cheese. Both dishes consisted of perfectly accompanying flavours and interesting contrasting textures.
For dessert, we had the Nyangbo chocolate mousse with brown sugar sponge and small caramelia crunchy pearls, topped with a tiny piece of gold leaf. The dark chocolate had a slight bitterness that was beautifully balanced by the other ingredients in a light and fluffy mousse.
The baked cheesecake was very smooth, with a light base and contrasted well with the crunchy honeycomb. The fruity spiced plum accompaniment balanced the dish perfectly.
We finished with tea served from their Wedgwood china collection. The relaxing atmosphere, comfortable furniture and soothing jazz music made for a very pleasant evening.
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There is much to say about the Langham on many levels; from its beautiful grand architecture, to its interesting history (being partly destroyed in the war, to when it was used by the BBC), the many famous dignitaries who stayed there, its celebrity chefs and delicious cuisine. It is also, reputedly home to no fewer than 7 ghosts with unusual activity reported mainly in Room 333 and corridors. Ghosts are said to include a Victorian doctor who murdered his wife and then killed himself while on honeymoon, a German prince who jumped out of a 4th floor window, the Emperor Napoleon III (in the basement), a butler with holes in his socks who wanders the corridors, a footman in pale blue livery and a ghost with a penchant for trying to tip guests out of bed while they’re sleeping. A few years ago, England’s cricket players were so convinced of unusual activity, they struggled to sleep and some wives refused to stay there. The Langham really does have it all!
Palm Court, 1C Portland Pl, Regent Street, Marylebone, London W1B 1JA
Tel: 020 7636 1000