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Andy Lynes

Launceston Place

14 posts in this topic

Whilst wandering the dead posh streets of Kensington the other night, desperate for a beer, I passed Launceston Place. It was packed and looked very inviting (although I had already eaten) and "proper" i.e one of the few places in London not to have a chrome/blond wood indentikit interior.

It took me back to the early nineties when I first started to eat out in London, when the food was really good and not that expensive. I am now dead keen to give the place a go, but it joins a growing list. So, has anyone eaten there, is it as good as it looks, should it replace Cigala or The Crescent as number 1 on my list of places to try.    

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Andy

It is quite different from Cigala and is/was very good on the many occasions I went there about three years ago.

I suspect it is still good and has moved from being fashionable to reliable, which is no bad thing.

My recollection of the food was that it never broke any new ground but was that sort of very pleasing faux french with lots of foie, duck and the like

I also remember them having an exceptional wine list

Do give it a try.  I have not tried the Crescent, but my suggestion of places on your list would include La trouvaille

S

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Well, I too thought it was one of those places which never really change (see this thread) but, of course, everywhere does, doesn't it?

Mediocre, really, and pretty expensive given that. Still a pleasant place in one of the prettiest and quietest streets in London but goodness, what dull food.

Started with linguine with crab (one tiny fragment), mussels, clams and chilli. Lukewarm; inadequate chilli as well as crab. Swapped with husband who made his usual belated realisation that foie gras is actually liver and he doesn't like liver. He'd ordered it remembering his one wonderful foie gras experience at Gordon Ramsay RHR. It became very clear why one place has three stars and the other doesn't. Thin slices of overcooked foie with rough and ready quadrillage (it is a good word, isn't it?) dumped rather than draped over a rather good Yorkshire pudding.

Then John Dory fillet with Morecambe Bay shrimps and some very good broccoli on a cream sauce. OK. A lot of it.

Too full for pudding.

Was taken out so have no very exact idea of how much it cost. Drank a perfectly pleasant bottle of Windy Ridge Californian Merlot.

clb

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Ahh, a walk down memory lane. I lived 'round the corner and down the street from Launceston Place in '94. I frequented the florist next door but couldn't afford the restaurant in those days. Did spot The Princess of Wales there. Interesting to hear what others think of it and look forward to a review from Andy.

Is the florist still there?


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Yes. I know I said that everywhere changes, but it changes verrry slowly in that part of London.

clb

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clb, what a helpful post, and how sad; I remember going there quite often in 1995-1996 and eating delicious salads (things like skinned new broad beans with roasted red peppers, which sounds boring but wasn't) and very intense chocolate sorbet for pudding.

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It used to be a very reliable lunch place when I was at Penguin round the corner, so it is sad to hear that it has faltered a bit

I have rather fond memories of taking a group of people from Barclays there who were up on a day trip from Bristol to talk about publishing a Tax guide. We sat at a table and I couldn't understand why they were gawking over my shoulder. When I turned round I saw a slightly desolate looking Princess Diana sitting on her own poking at a green salad.

I suspect they dined out on it for years

S

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Thank you, bee. It was once lovely, wasn't it?

I went a few times in the early 1990s, I think: food pretty much on a par with its sibling Kensington Place but a comfortable, quiet, smart, middle-aged atmosphere (I may have enjoyed this last rather more when I was still the youngest in the room...). I think my visits were winter ones: terrines, game, cod with egg sauce.

clb

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Andy,

you can only really justify a visit to the crescent if you have vino on your mind.


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I went here Sunday evening with a friend of mine.

We had the tasting menu (£60) with a couple of substitutions. Food was almost uniformly superb, definitely of M* standard. The only slight let down on the food side was that we sub'd the potted foie gras on offer with scallops from the ALC, and we ended up with such a tiny portion (one tiny scallop the diameter of a 10p piece) it was hard to be able to make any type of view on it as a dish. Otherwise, the highlight was hot smoked halibut with wild fennel, an absolute triumph of simplicity coupled with such deep flavours. I had the lamb while my dining partner had hare off the main menu. The hare was superbly gamey, very tasty indeed.

Potted foie gras, quince, dandelions

Spinach and home made ricotta,

artichoke, sage butter

Hot smoked Halibut with wild fennel

Celery sorbet, walnuts and apples

Salt marsh lamb, sea beets, crackling and salt baked potatoes

or

Tamworth suckling pig, radishes and honey emulsion

Rice pudding soufflé,

raspberry ripple ice cream

But, I am sad to say, the service was downright awful. For example, the first course arrived before we'd even started the amuse bouche. At one course I was handed a fork so dirty I could tell what the previous recipient had been eating. It is for exactly these kinds of reasons that D&D/Conran have historically had such a bad reputation with me for mediocrity. It was only just held together by the sommelier.

A real shame, because the food really was quite simply excellent.

Cheers, Howard


Edited by howardlong (log)

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Interesting - I went here a few days ago. Found it to be hit and miss.

Had a simple scallops dish to start with which was nice, scallops presented in there shells and perfectly cooked. Then there was a black truffle risotto which was also good. The main course of salt marsh lamb was a real let down though, over seasoned and the dish seemed to be swimming in far too much fat which was a shame. The warm chocolate and almond dessert was good, although i'm not sure why it was presented in a scallop shell!

The other point to note was that the portions were very small - the kind of size you'd expect if you were having 20 courses not 4 and despite having a couple of slices of bread I came out of there thinking I was hungry, and I'm not the type to be so greedy!

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Interesting - I went here a few days ago. Found it to be hit and miss.

Had a simple scallops dish to start with which was nice, scallops presented in there shells and perfectly cooked. Then there was a black truffle risotto which was also good. The main course of salt marsh lamb was a real let down though, over seasoned and the dish seemed to be swimming in far too much fat which was a shame. The warm chocolate and almond dessert was good, although i'm not sure why it was presented in a scallop shell!

The other point to note was that the portions were very small - the kind of size you'd expect if you were having 20 courses not 4 and despite having a couple of slices of bread I came out of there thinking I was hungry, and I'm not the type to be so greedy!

Our one and only visit was a bit similar in as much my main course, lamb again was tough as old boots.

It was a Sunday lunch and bless his heart the Maitre D compted my complete meal,( not the wifes ) so service was more than attentive.

Seems a real shame the kitchen appears to be inconsistent.

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Interesting comments, esepecially about the lamb as I really quite enjoyed it. Certainly mine wasn't over seasoned or steeped in fat. Oh dear!

How frustrating! I was thinking of giving it another go based on the food I'd had, and it's barely a ten minute walk from home (the crawl back is often slower).

Cheers, Howard

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IMG_3270.JPG

Launceston Place has finally won a Michelin star. Tristan Welch who was a hot tip to gain one for the restaurant has moved on.

In February this year Tim Allen who has worked for John Burton Race, Daniel Clifford, and laterly Martin Burge at 2 Michelin star Whatley Manor has taken charge of the kitchen. To gain a star in such a short time is quite remarkable given Michelin's previous history.

We had a very pleasant meal here a couple of weeks ago and in our opinion it deserves its accolade. Its well worth a visit.

IMG_3290.JPG

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