Review: Laurent Café Royal, London
In the early 1990s, the marketing boffs at McDonald’s had a brainwave.
They wanted to ensure that the Golden Arches were next to as many international landmarks as possible. Within a few years, McDonald’s had opened everywhere, from London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral to Russia’s Red Square. There was an outlet next to the Eiffel Tower, and even one beside the entrance of the Pyramids of Giza.
The overarching plan of this marketing stunt was two-fold. First, it would remind punters that McDonalds “really is everywhere”. And second, it would provide an easy influx or regular customers (as much as tourists claim they enjoy new experiences, they also crave something old and familiar).
The problem was: it worked.
Fast forward almost 30-years and the areas around some of the world’s most iconic sights are littered with fast food outlets and branded coffee shops. For some people, that’s fine. But we’re of the opinion that if you’ve truly spent the time – and money – to visit some of the best locations on earth, you should probably spring for something a little less chicken nuggety.
Enter Laurent Café Royal, which is aptly-named considering it’s located in the newly renovated Hotel Café Royal.
It’s a stone’s throw away from Piccadilly Circus, and despite being less that 150-metres away from the closest Golden Arches, is a thoroughly more appropriate venue to eat in one of London’s busiest areas.
Laurent Café Royal: what’s the vibe?
Unlike the hustle-and-bustle beyond the Hotel Café Royal’s doors and Pierre Lissoni-designed lobby, Laurent is so named after prolific French chef Laurent Tourondel.
The restaurant – like much of everything else in the hotel – is polished and styled to perfection.
Many guests enjoy a pre-dinner drink in a stylishly-tucked away Ziggy’s (technically, not part of Laurent but close-enough that you may as well go in for a look round) before heading to Laurent’s cosy dining room.
Diners tend to be well-heeled Londoners, or those staying at the hotel.
Laurent Café Royal: how’s the food?
There’s nothing gastronomically crazy here. The concept is that of a high-end hotel steakhouse and grill.
All the meat staples are here, alongside whole fish and a generous number of sides. Quality is key, and you can tell the ingredients used here are above and beyond what most traditional restaurants get to play with.
Elsewhere on the menu, there’s somewhat of a Japanese influence; including Wagyu Nigiri and fusion sushi. While a tad off-concept, they certainly are tasty regardless.
Laurent Café Royal: the verdict?
Restaurant Laurent Café Royal proves that even in some of the most built-up areas in London, there still exists fine-dining with a touch of class.
So ditch the branded coffee shops that litter Piccadilly Circus, and come here instead.
Laurent Café Royal: where is it?
Laruent Café Royal is located in the newly-renovated Hotel Café Royal in London’s Piccadilly Circus.