The internationally acclaimed French chef Laurent Tourondel, whose restaurant portfolio stretches from New York, via Kazakhstan, to Hong Kong, has confirmed the name of his new project, inside the 153-year-old Hotel Café Royal, off Regent Street. Tourondel will open Laurent at Café Royal on on Friday 1 June.
Although the opening will be the chef’s first restaurant in Europe, it was at this prestigious location — which describes itself as “London’s first modern grand hotel” — that the chef learnt to cook in his early years.
“I am thrilled to be returning to London,” Tourondel said. “As a French chef, lots of people are shocked when I say I learnt to cook here. The city has played a significant part in my career and I have always wanted to come back. I used to do weekend jobs at Hotel Café Royal in my youth and it has always brought back fond memories.”
The new restaurant will be located on the first floor of the hotel, and will offer “a relaxed yet refined all-day dining” menu in the modern American mould. “Informal” lunch and dinner options will be centred around the parilla grill (a traditional iron grill barbecue, from Argentina) on which he plans to chargrill meat and fish. Tourondel says he stepped back from fine dining as long as 15 years ago, instead choosing to champion “easy going food and accessibility.”
- As such, from the grill, can be expected a range of steaks, including Aberdeen Angus onglet, ribeye and fillet, plus “SRF Black” (superior to USDA Prime) American Wagyu ribeye. Elsewhere, there’ll be lamb chops from Somerset.
- Fish and seafood include Dover sole, king prawns, Cornish sea bass and swordfish accompanied by ginger ketchup, lemongrass curry or a fines herbes hollandaise.
- A “classic” ‘LT’ burger with pickled jalapeños, tobacco onions and cheddar and Wagyu beef short ribs are joined by a vegetarian dish with all grains, beets, Cipollini onions and Banyuls vinaigrette.
- Another Tourondel “signature” — the iconic American popover — will feature, too. The popover is often likened to the Yorkshire pudding; a North American take on the British classic will be made here with two different types of cheese — cheddar and gouda — served with warm butter in place of bread at the start of the meal.
- Traditional breakfast dishes will be served with a “Tourondel twist,” such as the croquet croissant (egg frittata, fennel sausage patty, maple syrup and cheddar) and crispy crumpets (fennel sausage, broccoli rabe and chilli), as well as baked popovers, green spinach, roasted Yorkshire ham, poached eggs, truffle hollandaise; and country style pancake, rum-banana flambé, Nutella and roasted pecans.
- In addition to all of the above and a “lighter lunch menu,” the restaurant will also include a sushi bar: An urumaki selection of jalapeño ginger yellowtail with shiso, scallion and soy glaze and spicy crispy shrimp with chilli-lime mayonnaise, avocado, grapefruit and sesame; or crispy wagyu beef nigiri with truffle aioli, dashi and British wasabi; Kamchatka king crab nigiri poached in lime butter, British wasabi and golden Oscietra caviar.
Tourondel’s name remains attached to four restaurants in New York, though it is understood the chef is no longer directly involved in those businesses. He does however remain perhaps best known in the United States, where he has restaurants in Miami and Charlotte, in North Carolina.