1a Launceston Place, W8 5RL
Dinner for two with wine and service: around £200
020 7937 6912
Launceston Place has just won a Michelin star and I think the accolade is fully deserved. Head chef Tim Allen is from Yorkshire which is starkly evident in his cooking: whilst its quality is outstanding, his food is completely unpretentious (not a hint of foam in sight!) but in no way boring, the presentation of his dishes is first class and their balance perfect. The restaurant is a 10 minute walk from Kensington High St. tube, but it is nestled in a beautiful upper class residential neighbourhood. The interior is split over a few rooms and the tables are well spaced, giving it a private, intimate feel which is enhanced by the staff who carry out their duties without affectation.
We opted for the tasting menu which consisted of 6 courses for £60 (but get there quick because the price will surely go up now that it has won a star), they also offer an a la carte menu at a cost of £40-60 per head. Our first dish, slow cooked duck egg with girolles mushrooms and pea veloute was magnificent – it looked very pretty and was perfectly cooked; it was very well balanced with the richness of the duck egg offset by the freshness of the peas. This was followed by a slightly more complicated dish: roasted scallop and pork belly with apple and celeriac – this hit a near perfect note for me, with a sublime mix of textures (soft scallop against a crisp and rich pork belly). The only black mark was the “front to back” lamb main – whilst the tongue, sweetbread and loin were perfectly cooked, the neck was cold and tough – it think it will be difficult to execute this dish so that all the elements are perfectly cooked and arrive at the table still warm.
A decent cheese course (although the cheese board is not huge), was followed by a simple palate cleansing granita.
If you have something to celebrate then I would strongly recommend a visit to Launceston Place – and make a move as soon as you can because its popularity is sure to explode now that it has won a star.