We spent an evening with Louis XIII at The Langham, London for the first of its new private dining series

Words Millie Milliken

Cognac dinner

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘connoisseur’ is: an expert judge in matters of taste. By the end of tonight’s five-course cognac dinner, I’ve learnt (and drank) enough of the famous Louis XIII, that I’ve convinced myself I am such an expert. Of course, I’m not; but it’s a testament to brand ambassador Devon Pryor and the team at The Langham, that a relative amateur is leaving with the realisation that cognac is not just for post-dinner quaffing.

We’re being hosted at the first of an ongoing private dining series in the Postillion. It’s my first time in the adjoining private room to Roux at The Landau but I can’t think of a better choice for this calibre of evening. Under the high, panelled ceilings – and after our champagne and canapé reception – we take our seats around its oval table for our introduction to the 1874-born cognac.

Cognac dinner

Devon splices her expert knowledge of the brand between our five courses. Turns out the name Louis XIII was chosen after its conception as a tribute to the king, who was an advocate for the eau de vie (‘water of life’) under his reign. The nuttiness of the Iberico ham compliments the cognac’s honey and woody notes, while the Francophile in me champions our main of spit-roast French veal loin, which is accompanied by a beautiful Chorey-Les-Beune pinot noir from Burgundy. 

The real surprise though is a delicate, roast native lobster and tortellini. It comes with a velvety brandied bisque, and having gained an introductory knowledge of tonight’s libation, it’s the first time I’ve really noticed the hit of brandy that gives it its punch. It’s not the only first either; it’s the first time I’ve experienced private dining at Roux’s place; the first time I’ve drunk Louis XIII; and the first time I’ve enjoyed cognac with anything other than cheese. And that’s what makes tonight so special – long live Louis XIII. 

Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the series here