Friday 31 January 2014

Anyone remember Peter Langan?


After fooling around in London's financial district, and before selling antiques in Chelsea, I in-filled by working as the manager of an Art Gallery in Marylebone's Devonshire Street. 'The Fine Art Gallery' dealt mostly in Early English Watercolours, and Early Topographical and Sporting prints.

Next door to the gallery was a bistro-style restaurant called Odin's. Odin's was owned by the infamous London restaurateur, Peter Langan (above).

Two or three times a week, my boss Miklos (Nicholas) Vilag, would treat me to a bowl of lunchtime 'French Onion Soup' at Odin's, where our neighbour, Signor Langan himself, had become quite a good friend.

This was in the days when he was still behaving himself (at lunchtimes anyway). Later when he opened his Mayfair flagship eaterie, Langan's Brasserie, he became an insufferable drunk; yet mesmerizingly popular.

In his daily drunken rampages he probably insulted more crowned heads of Europe, film stars, and just plain multi-millionaires, than he drank bottles of Champagne before bedtime.

Poor old Peter; he was burnt to death, in 1988, after 'a serious late night argument' with his wife. He may even have started the fire himself.

People come and go, and Langan certainly left an indelible mark. He could simply have been remembered for the superb cuisine and ambiance at his Stratton Street Brasserie, but in fact he's mostly remembered for his appalling drunken tirades against such notable clients as Princess Margaret.

Notoriety is achieved in bizarre ways.

N.B. Peter's French Onion Soup (at Odin's) was possibly the best in the whole damn world.


  1. !988. How time passes. I wish I'd met him. Characters drunk or sober are hard to find these days.

  2. I remember his name in the press quite often....and french onion soup has an unfortunate effect on me..........

  3. I do remember him Cro and, of course, Langan's Brasserie where all the rich and famous dined. I worked above Scott's Restaurant in Mayfair and was often treated to a bowl of their Oyster and Guiness soup by my bosses !! XXXX

  4. I always wanted to be notorious. My mother said that being difficult was a poor substitute.
    Not being a southerner I never frequented such establishments, but I DO love onion soup!

  5. Yes, I remember him, sadly I'm old enough to remember quite a lot of these old names. Do you remember the whisky go go club in Brighton?

  6. Vaguely remember the fire story, though I was very, very drunk at the time...

  7. Something like this makes me stop and ask myself what I want to be remembered for.

  8. "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."

  9. He certainly left his mark, but what a sad end to it.

  10. We were eating in Langan's Brasserie one evening when Peter, obviously drunk, just went and sat at a couple's table with them. They weren't impressed.

    He then fell off his chair and lay between the tables. The waiters just stepped over him and carried on - it happened all the time!

  11. I had completely forgotten him until you wrote this blog - love onion soup though!

  12. I remember hearing his name. Himself loves French onion soup, it's wasted on me, so i give him my portion.

  13. Your story just gave me an idea for the best restaurant name ever, the Drunk Onion. Or maybe a new band?


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