So many reviews of Launceston Place ask the same question. Why does it not have a Michelin Star?. It is a mystery, as Launceston Place has it all. An attractive location, first rate service and some rather impressive cooking.
This was our second visit, the first time was 2 years ago when we indulged in the tasting menu. This time we were determined to stick to the set lunch.
I could not help but compare the set lunch here with last months set lunch at the Michelin starred William Drabble. At William Drabble’s I felt that the set lunch had been well under par (inferior cooking and ingredients). It did nothing to showcase that restaurant. In stark contrast Launceston Place pulled out all the stops. Providing lots of extras – the home made crisps to start, a small loaf of bread with pickled herring, a lemon posset pre dessert and little lemon sponges at the end of the meal. The only negative here was that it was hard not to make a mess when eating the bread.
Then there was the meal itself. We started with a vibrant green watercress soup with smoked eel and poached quail eggs and a warm heirloom tomato salad with home made ewes curd. However it was the main courses that stood out. I had the Mackerel which was quite lovely, both in respect of presentation and taste. My companion had the duck, which he enjoyed so much more than the duck dish he had at Heston Blumentals Dinner earlier this year. To go with these dishes we had a side order of Jersey Royal New Potatoes, they were smothered in butter, perfectly cooked with that wonderful earthy taste that epitomises Jersey Royals – just fabulous.
For dessert we both had the Treacle Tart with creme fraiche ice cream, very nice – especially when accompanied by a generous glass of PX. We were so pre occupied talking with the Sommelier about the history and variety of PX sherries that we forgot to photograph the tart, which was quite pretty before we demolished it.
Marks out of 10
UPDATE: April 2012 – There is now a new head chef at Launceston Place – see Press Release
UPDATE : September 2012, Lauceston Place has finally been awarded a Michelin Star.
UPDATE: October 2016, Lauceston Place no longer has a Michelin Star.
Trinity – A first time vist to this Clapham Restaurant, its has been on the wish list for a while.
NEW SOUTH WALES – AUSTRALIA
Rick Stein at Bannisters – Our Australian correspondent visited Ricks restaurant in Cornwall a couple of years ago so should be in a good position to see how the Australian outpost compares. Apparently it’s a tad warmer there than Padstow.
The only regular restaurant we ever visited in London was the Foliage. We have been going there for a number of years. Now that Chris Staines is leaving we have been on the lookout for a replacement regular lunch venue. When I say regular I mean every couple of months. You can have too much of a good thing.
In fact it was a member of the Foliage staff that recommended Launceston Place. I had not heard of the place but made a mental note to give it a try sometime. In the mean time the Great British Menu had propelled its young head chef Tristan Welch to fame. So it was with some anticipation that we visited.
At the start of the meal we were presented with a few spicy crisps tied together with a piece of ribbon bearing the restaurant name. While very cute I didn’t really enjoy starting off my meal with greasy fingers. The food was good, peaking for me with the main course of rose veal and sweetbreads. This was very good. To finish I had my first taste of Cranachan the supposedly traditional Scottish dish (I’m Scottish and had never heard of it or had it while growing up!). It was nicely presented although I suspect a traditional Scot might not recognise it. It was okay not something to rave about unfortunately.
On the way out we bumped into Tristan and had a long conversation with him. He really is a very friendly young guy and we wish him well in the future as he really is a talented chef.
Lauceston Place has 2 AA Rosettes, I suspect a third one is not too far away.
Launceston Place was also a venue on Celebrity Master Chef this year, the winner made a point of mentioning how useful her time there was. Tristan has also been a guest chef on Saturday Kitchen.