Laurent at Café Royal | Fine Dining In Central London
In 1863, a French wine Merchant named Daniel Nicholas Thévenon was officially declared bankrupt.
At his lowest point, with just five pounds in his pocket, he was forced to change his name and flee to London with his wife Célestine.
Within two years of arriving, he owned the hottest restaurant on the continent.
It was called The Grill Room at Cafe Royal, and through the years, patrons included Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, Noël Coward, Brigitte Bardot, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Princess Diana, to name but a few.
We only bring up the history of the space because, well, it’s amazing. But also because it underlines an important point – Thévenon’s incredible accomplishment has resonated so much throughout the years, that now the space that was The Grill Room is treated with a certain religious reverence, accommodating only people on the exact opposite end of the success spectrum to penniless wine merchants.
And Laurent Tourondel is just such a person.
He already runs restaurants in places as far afield as New York, Miami, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean – and now he’s returned the grill to former Grill Room in the form of a custom-made parilla-style BBQ, which sits at the forefront of the open kitchen, scorching steaks, fish, and vegetables. He even has a little history there himself, having worked nights there as a young chef “trying to make ends meet”.
The space itself is, understandably slightly awe-inspiring, with a balcony of elegant tables wrapped around a plush atrium, punctuated by a glittering chandelier dipping into its centre. On the other side of the kitchen, there’s a bar overlooking Regent Street, that curves with the seam of the street.
Foodwise, the menu makes the most of that grill, with British, American, and Japanese steaks hitting the iron alongside the likes of swordfish, Dover Sole, Cornish sea bass, and more. If you’re feeling frisky, they’ll rustle up slightly more complicated dishes, including Wagyu beef short ribs with pickled jalapeno chimichurri, or cauliflower couscous with za’atar-roasted carrots.
Offsetting all of this charred goodness is a sushi menu including a meltingly good bluefin toro, teriyaki eel, and yellowtail, which they’ve also made into speciality rolls; their salmon is gin-cured in-house, then finished with a little yuzu glaze & fresh dill.
To drink meanwhile, they have a healthy selection of classic cocktails, sakes, beers, and even a short menu of Bloody Marys …and of course a 20-page, heavily indexed wine list.
It’s what Thévenon would have wanted.
NOTE: Laurent at Café Royal is open now for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can check out the menus, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Laurent at Café Royal | 68 Regent Street, W1B 4DY
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