I was comfortably seated in Langs of Longton bar-come-quarantine area, overlooked by an imposing television, bizarrely playing a muted David Jason rerun (sadly not Danger Mouse). I assumed the silent flashing images kept the more docile Longton diners amused during busy periods.
The Langs of Longton décor and ambience needed work: the generous littering of bold red flowers, sharp monochrome furniture and harsh black finishes appealed only to Cruella De Vil. Fangs would be more appropriate sign above the door. I could live with the interior design if it were consistent, but part vaudeville, part Ikea, mixed vertical stripes, patterned carpets, canvases a la Changing Rooms circa 1999 and contemporary lighting was restaurant schizophrenia.
A stocky bold gentleman, ‘Ross Kemp on Langs‘, orchestrated the service efficiently. He was charmingly on first name terms with most of The Langs of Longton diners – a reassuring sign of happy clientele. I was lead to the thoughtfully laid out large dining room, with a partially open kitchen providing a vibrancy to the restaurant.
Slurping the Las Valles (Spanish house red), trying to recognise the supposed ‘intense fruit on the palate’, I eyed the window ledges lined with promotional bottles of sealed but empty champagne bottles. The decorations reminded diners that yes – don’t take our word for it – champagne is sold here. I had flashbacks of student filled Plungington, Fallowfield and Wavertree and proudly displayed Jack Daniels bottles and pyramids of Carlsberg empties.
Enough chit-chat and on to the food: it was all excellent and presented beautifully. The black pudding – tragically never the belle of the ball – looked as good as it ever could. The streak of vibrant sweet potato was attractively set against a warm black slate; it was hearty without being stodgy, perfectly seasoned and cooked. The fishcakes had a great balance of flavours and kept their texture admirably. The gammon was generously portioned and attractively presented; perhaps not carrying a huge depth of flavour, but certainly succulent and tasty. The homemade ketchup, poached egg, chunky chips, wilted greens and mustard cream were all greedily but gratefully shovelled in. The beer battered haddock goujons with peas à la français, tartare sauce, skinny chips, was thankfully grease-free and wolfed down. The sushi was carefully prepared and pretty as a proverbial. The assiette of desserts was unusual and charming. Deserts shouldn’t take themselves too seriously, (leave that to the starters), and this had a welcome fun element.
The Langs of Longton kitchen was very big on miniature stuff. Almost every dish had an obligatory small thing, to make you scrunch your cheeks up and feel broody. Want chips? There’s a miniature chip pan for that sir! Any vegetable sides? Use the dwarf sized copper-pots! Serving a risotto? No fear, the micro skillet is here! Coulis Madam? Got it: shot glass! What isn’t miniature are the portions. After three courses I didn’t feel so much full but heavily pregnant. I had meat-sweat hallucinations of Langs of Longton morphing into a maternity ward, which I felt strangely grateful for.
Langs of Longton provided slap-up dinners (whatever that means), at reasonable prices. There are few restaurants that compete with Langs of Longton for value, especially considering their high quality of cooking, across a surprising range of dishes. The décor wasn’t my cup of tea, but the friendly organised service and attention to detail on the plate (or slate) certainly was.
Langs of Longton
Atmosphere 6 Cost 10 Quality 8 Service 9