Even if you’ve never attended a cookery course in your life, do not consider yourself particularly to be a foodie or haven’t been to the capital for decades, you will have heard the name Le Gavroche touted in fine dining circles in magazines, television, even film.
Opened at the dawn of the summer of love in April ’67, when the media was still recovering from England winning the World Cup (some would say ‘still is‘) and the world was yet to be wowed by the greatest music festival ever at Woodstock, Le Gavroche had high expectations, even if London’s fine dining scene was only slightly more active than sedentary with the youth of the day experimenting in lentils and pulses rather than fine French cuisine.
However, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison and Co may well be keeping the heaven-bound occupied (oh, yes they would – all sins would be forgiven for their unique style and music created whilst they were down here), Le Govrache is still standing, opening its doors in London for the 45th year.
The second generation of the Roux family are at the helm
And, still at its head are la famille Roux, whom many would argue were amongst the movement that started London’s mammoth turn around and entry onto the global map of haute cuisine. Gone were the cafés of the ‘Quadrophenia’ era (yes, I know the film was released in ’79, but you get the picture) and classy restaurants were springing up all over the capital in their place.
A check back on the restaurant’s history and you begin to see what an impact and influence the ground-breaking Michelin-starred eatery has had; from the biggest names associated with the silver screen and global dignitaries to our own royal family and prime ministers – all have had occasion to dine there in the past.
Michel Roux Jr., son of Albert and nephew of Michel, the two brothers who opened the famous restaurant in Chelsea before it found a new home in Mayfair, has been at the helm for more than twenty years. The cookery classes have been handed down the generation inhouse and, according to Michel Jr., it is not only the family’s passion for food, but also the manner in which the guests are treated that has been the backbone of Le Gavroche’s success.
Perfection is something to be strived for and that has led to this famous restaurant being a powerhouse and a beacon of all that is good about dining in the capital, whilst many a pretender has fallen by the wayside over the same period. It is no wonder, then, why, as Michel Jr. concluded, critics as well as customers have kept the restaurant a beloved treasure of the capital for forty five years.