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August 8, 2018

Laurent Tourondel Brings his Signature Cuisine to London

By Lauren Jade Hill

Earlier this summer, London’s landmark property Hotel Café Royal announced the opening of its new fine dining restaurant Laurent. With executive chef Laurent Tourondel at the helm—a chef who’s made a name for himself by heading up kitchens around the world, including a number of restaurants in New York—this opening marks a return to the very hotel he honed his skills in as a young chef.

In line with the culinary style seen throughout each of Tourondel’s restaurants, the carefully sourced produce is the star of each dish here, with hand-picked Scottish Aberdeen Angus, US Creek Stone Farm, Snake River and Japanese wagyu beef cooked on the open-flame parilla grill, along with fresh fish and seafood for the grill and sushi bar.

Provenance also plays an integral role, with as many ingredients as possible sourced from across the UK. Sushi is served with British-grown wasabi, Cornish crab and sea bass make an appearance at the sushi bar and Loch Duart salmon is cooked over fire.

Fusing tradition with innovation, Tourondel and the restaurant’s head chef Gabriel Belmonte (previously of Alain Ducasse in Monaco and London’s Royal Opera House) enhance these produce-focused plates with Asian flavors and plenty of culinary flair; crispy beef nigiri comes with local wasabi, dashi and truffle aioli, and the yellowtail jalapeno ginger sushi comes with a soy glaze and yuzu guacamole. The soy sauce accompanying each one is homemade.

Tables are spread out across two dining rooms, with the sushi bar sitting between them, windows facing out onto Regent Street and chic interiors designed by the celebrated Italian architect Piero Lissoni. Adding modern elegance to this floor of the Grade II-listed building, Lissoni complemented the space’s color scheme of warm gray, brown and bronze with wooden parquet flooring and plush banquet seating, an Italian Murano glass chandelier and sophisticated back-lit cocktail bar. Paying tribute to one of the hotel’s famous former guests, David Bowie, the bar is distinguished by its black and white photography of the star.

The atmosphere is relaxed but buzzy, with convivial waitstaff suggesting Bellinis and champagne cocktails to start (try the pear and hibiscus creation with pear puree, Campari, hibiscus essence and prosecco), advice given on the best dishes to try, and an explanation of the wine being poured; with Hotel Café Royal’s history of seeking out exceptional wines, you can be sure there’s a story to tell (Sam Heathcote, previously of The Dorchester, Bulgari Hotel, The Clove Club and Devonshire Club, is head sommelier here).

As this new dining spot adds to the collection of restaurants Torondel oversees in cities across the world, it further enhances London’s ever evolving dining scene, bringing more food lovers to the landmark hotel.

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