Sweet memories of the good old days flooded back as I strolled towards Launceston Place; we used to walk to lectures from our little flat on High Street Kensington. Back then the restaurant had drawn white satin curtains across the window, but did little to veil its poshness, and of course its emptiness in the evenings. It has since been re-owned and now led by Chef Tristan Welsh.
As students this used to be totally out of reach, but now the place looks rather appealing for a long weekday lunch. The dining room is split into two cosier rooms by the entrance, but the high ceilings with large window conveyed much spaciousness despite fairly closely arranged tables. It’s posh and classy, you could just tell by the Maître’d introduction and his posture, how he is so very proud to represent the restaurant.
Hole-punched handmade potato crisps with a Launceston Place ribbon. I laughed.
Homemade Sourdough bread with Herring and freshly churned butter
The freshness of the butter was obvious; there is still a splash of buttermilk. And what good butter this is, light with trailing hints of aroma. The gently pickled herring was a pleasant surprise that complemented with the warm sourdough.
Duck egg on Toast, Summer Truffle
We could smell this making its way from the kitchen; the truffle fragrance was overwhelming. I was ecstatic by the sheer presentation of the dish; the wobbly glowing yolk, translucent duck egg white, distinctive pattern on the two sheets of truffle that nonchalantly floats on the egg. Flavours were unbelievable, no words could do justice; it was silken, creamy sauce overflowing with truffle goodness.
The egg white was just on the point of solid form and added a new texture that lifts its elegance to maximum heights. Sourdough bread was toasted to a fragile brittleness on the edge, it soaked up all the truffle-infused veloute like a sponge so each bite oozes truffle juice, yet retained its crispiness and was still incredibly soft and moist in the centre. There was so much finesse in this dish.
Venison heart and liver with butter roasted pear and squash
I admit the arrangement looked rather odd, but credit to the autumn colours. It’s amazing how the thin strips of venison heart had so much power; strong muscles yet tender, potent flavours but not bloody. The liver was less exciting on its own, though the familiar grainy texture held much moisture. But then itcame to life together with the roasted pear, sweet juice seeped through to the liver and gave a lighter touch to it. Pure class and sophistication.
Lightly smoked haddock, mussels, coastline vegetables
Mister enjoyed this, thought the thick fillet of fish was succulent, just about cooked to keep all the juices in. The bigger surprises were the mussels, so creamy they were like crab roe, packing the best of the ocean into the plump morsel. Fresh and clean.
Good cleanse of palate with a temperate lemon tingle.
Buttermilk rice pudding, raspberries
Some classic British desserts very well done. I can’t say there were fireworks with a classic rice pudding, but I did like the buttermilk on the side.
Treacle Tart, crème fraiche ice-cream
Not a fan of treacle tarts, so I can’t comment.
We finished just past 4 o’clock; this Friday lunch was impeccable. Launceston Place is oozing with British pride and elegance, boasting an air of the British excellence. And when it says Chef uses the finest ingredients, I believe it because the freshness and brilliance are so evident in all senses. Together with the immaculate cooking in the kitchen, this is effortlessly the Best of British.
1a Launceston Place
Tel: 0207 937 6912