Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Launceston Place

Pure Class

My second visit to the single Michelin starred neighbourhood restaurant in Kensington. I had high expectations for my dinner based on my previous visit for a weekend lunch, I am one of those diners that tend to try out the lunch menu in a restaurant before deciding if it is worth going back and Launceston Place had absolutely nailed it at my lunch visit, it was the best set lunch I ever had in London in terms of quality vs value. With limited budget and ingredients, the kitchen still managed to pull off such high levels of cooking, this just shows Tim Allen clearly has bags of talent. 


We opted for the tasting menu with some newly created seasonal dishes, amuse bouche of cauliflower mousse with curry was just as pleasant as how I remembered it from the last visit, smooth and creamy with a hint of aromatic spices. Autumn salad maintained the high standard of the summer salad but replaced it with all the in season vegetables, the chick pea puree managed to hold all the well cooked ingredients on the plate together and I just couldn't get enough of it, the kitchen really knows how to create a stunning salad dish.

amuse bouche
Autumn salad, chick pea puree scented with lemon, pickled
carrots, parsley and chervil tubers and honey reduction

The rabbit dish: Leveret hare was presented in an elegant manner, with shaved dark chocolate on top and potato cream served in front of us. The breast was cooked pink and it was packed with earthiness while the rack was moist and robust, the best rabbit dish I have had yet so far. Up next, Veal sweetbread was as good as it gets, rich in flavour and beautiful in presentation, the savoury sweetness and the silky texture was a perfect harmony.

leveret hare, light pickled red cabbage, baked potato cream,
caramelised bacon and 100% pure cacao
veal sweetbread, cevennes onions, tamarind and caramel

Cornish cod was an interesting concept of having pork going along with a fish dish, and it worked surprisingly well with that grained mustard beautifully holding the two elements together, the garnish of onion and pickled cucumber were also done well to create such an amazing plate of food. The in season widgeon had just the right level of game flavour, earthy and tender, the sweetness of the caramelised red chicory and fresh pear cut through the rich flavour of the widgeon and overall another impressive dish.

cornish cod, 54% in beurre noisette, onion and bonito,
ham hock, grained mustard and pickled cucumber
widgeon, pastilla of leg, celeriac baked in aromatic
orange salt, caramelised red chicory and fresh pear

I had a selections of French and British cheeses with a spirit flight, the calvados was so light and fruity which worked well with mild cheeses while the Delamain cognac was dry and spicy which went along with the stronger cheeses. I finished off the meal with sourdough and caramelised walnut galette, that nutty aroma and the level of sweetness was spot on, it was such a treat along with the beautifully blended apple and calvados ice cream. 

English and French cheeses
spirits flight
lemon and yoghurt
sourdough and caramelised walnut galette, fromage blanc and
candied ginger, poached rhubarb, apple and calvados ice cream
milk chocolate caramel mousse, grue de cacao
and poached Russet William pear
petit four and tea

What can I say? The level of cooking was just magnificent, some modernist classic elements without taking things too far just for the sake of it. Everything were just so elegant and refined with a great level of detail, to top if off the service was also excellent, the whole dinner experience at Launceston Place was an absolute delight. In my view it has now reached 2 star level if I were to benchmark it along with other 2 star establishments in London, the cooking was a nose above all of the other 1 stars I visited, it has now become one my favourite London restaurants alongside The Ledbury, Marcus Wareing and Hibiscus, one of those restaurants I would happily return to over and over again.

Food 4.5/5

Head chef: 
Tim Allen

What I paid: 
£135 per head with 3 glass of wine

Average cost without drinks and services:
Lunch menu: £30
Tasting menu: £70

1A Launceston Pl  London, Greater London W8 5RL


Launceston Place on Urbanspoon

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