We all have our own Christmas traditions, right? From the time of day gifts are opened (before breakfast, duh!) to the food on the table, traditions differ across homes in London. My mixed heritage is at the forefront of my Christmas: quintessential English traditions with Caribbean flair – and this is exactly what The Langham, London is offering visitors this winter too.
Since July 2023, the luxury five-star hotel in the West End has been serving Caribbean food at their restaurant, The Good Front Room. Having seen the delicious spread in reel after reel on Instagram, I couldn’t wait to check it out myself, and now, with an added Christmas twist? This elf was very happy. Read on for my review of Caribbean Christmas dinner at The Langham, London.
Christmas at the hotel
Spending Christmas at a hotel is an experience straight out of a Hallmark (or Channel 5) Christmas movie, right? Well, at The Langham, London, you can live out this enchanting winter experience, and still be in your own bed on Christmas Eve night. This year, The Langham, London has partnered with luxury retailer Liberty London to create the ultimate festive wonderland for a full seven weeks. From the moment I approached the hotel, I felt the Christmas spirit enter my body – I spied at least five different lit-up Christmas trees on my journey from the pavement to the hotel’s restaurant.
Caribbean Christmas dinner at The Langham, London
Since November 8, Chef Dom Taylor has transformed his menu at The Good Front Room. The chef, who won Channel 4’s Five Star Kitchen: Britain’s Next Great Chef 2023, has taken key Caribbean ingredients and cooking techniques from his heritage, and added a bit of festive flair. For example, brown stew chicken is a regular dish in my house; here, Chef Dom has created a brown stew turkey, with chestnut stuffing. It’s safe to say I was pretty excited to sample this menu – and I was not disappointed.
The restaurant’s name is taken from Chef Dom Taylor’s childhood, and how his great aunt had a “good front room” in her house, reserved for special guests and occasions. The decor reflects this esteemed notion, with mirrored walls, high ceilings, and three distinctive chandeliers. Vivid, African-art-style portraits of women punctuate the walls. Everyone was dressed up for a lavish evening out, very fitting for the setting too. The mood was set with an urban soundtrack of old skool soul and pop music, and low lighting.
As for the food, well, the Caribbean Christmas dinner at The Langham, London was great. The flavours were authentic, the presentation beautiful, and the portions were hearty. Each person chooses one starter, one main, and one dessert from the menu, and you get all the sides. Like any good Caribbean event, you’re encouraged to pile your plate high with all different elements: this ain’t no likkle ‘two spoon and it’s done’ fine dining.
My favourite dish of the evening was the dark rum and raisin pork belly. The two spirals of meat were soft, lightly crisped on the outside, and had a good kick to it. The spice levels were perfectly balanced out by the sweet raisin, plus the addition of the maple-glazed plantain, and rice and peas sides. I must add that all meat was cooked exceptionally: both the king prawns and pepper ‘steak’ cut like butter, and were so juicy and tender. Even the veg gets a special shout-out: I’m a big fan of chow (sweet fruit/veg seasoned with pepper), and the one paired with the saltfish starter married the opposing flavours brilliantly.
The drinks were just as impressive as the food – and the restaurant even has its own rum. The restaurant’s rum punch is a good place to start, and once that gets a little too sweet, I recommend moving on to the Caribbean Queen. This tasted like a festive Caribbean twist on a margarita. Another option to get your alcohol fix is the pineapple upside-down cake. I’ve never tasted such a strong rum cake, but my goodness, was it good. It was incredibly moist too; I could have eaten it all evening long. Between that and the rum punch, I felt like all I needed after dinner was a dancefloor!
To summarise, I absolutely adored the Caribbean Christmas dinner at The Langham, London. Between the bold and colourful dishes, the great service (special shout out to the manager who was there on my visit!), and the whole idea behind the menu, both my stomach and heart were full. Creating something loved equally by those who are Caribbean (or have Caribbean heritage), and The Langham’s regulars is no easy feat, and Chef Taylor has done it.
Christmas at The Good Front Room is available daily, between 6.30pm and 9.30pm, until December 30. It is £90pp for three courses.