London legend Michel Roux reveals his new joint riffing on the Great British pub
Michel Roux Jr last year celebrated 25 years at the helm of London legend La Gavroche, and this year the restaurant itself celebrates its 50th anniversary. These alone should be recognised as outstanding achievements and the sort of thing London’s food and drink scene should be rightly proud to have been party to.
That La Gavroche was the first UK restaurant to get a Michelin star, and then the first to get two and three, makes the joint even more impressive. But it is a testimony to the Roux family’s dedication and hard work, traits that Michel Jr has inherited in spades and which whizz him between different restaurants that he has an interest in, the kitchen at La Gav where he still works, charity work, TV studios and consultancy gigs.
MRJr’s latest venture is the Wigmore, an upscale tavern-style affair part of the Langham hotel near Oxford Street. With ornate styling and statement flashes of eye-sizzling colour, it is a bold statement, accompanied by a bold menu featuring braised veal and ham pie, devilled lamb’s kidneys and paprika-glazed short rib with bone marrow crumb.
Typically solid, fresh and innovative, the menu is classic Roux, a man whose training took him all over the world, from classic French patiserrie under legends of global cuisine such as Hellegouarche in Paris, to the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore; he trained in butchery in France as well as accountancy, and had a stint with Pierre Koffman in La Tante Claire. He re is a man who has trained in all the culinary (and related) arts and is now a ninja of the restaurant world, combining business acumen with a passion for fine dining.
After leaving Masterchef over his promotional work for Albert Bartlett Roosters potatoes, and suffering a couple of news stories about pay at his restaurants (which surely come with the territory at this high profile level) Roux is back doing what he does best on an even keel.
The Wigmore will be another test of his legendary skills and that of his family (incidentally, his wife and daughter both work in the biz) but the smart money’s on continued and greater success.