Sunday, 29 June 2008

Restaurant Review - Launceston Place, London, W8 5RL

As part of my birthday celebrations, on Sunday 22 June 2008 my girlfriend (now fiancée) and I went to Launceston Place for Sunday lunch. After we went I read this review by AA Gill at The Times, we saw some similarities to what he said but he didn't rate it as highly as us. Maybe we are not so experienced at being foodies, or maybe he went on a bad day. We thought it was pretty good. We had booked the table for 3 pm, but at 2.45 we got a call from the restaurant asking where we were. We were just outside at the time, having just arrived. Anyway, we went in and found the restaurant closed at 3 pm so expected to be rushed through the meal so they could shut up quickly. I am not sure why the booking was taken for the closing time, but in any case we didn't feel rushed at all. The service is quintessentially French, all the waiters are French and wearing black and whites. The décor is modern and fairly stylish, although quite dark. The paintings are a bit hotel style, so I would agree with Gill on that!

We got some nice bread to start with, and then a "pre-starter" which was home made crisps with a cheese dip. Posh crisps and dips, but still that was all it was - crisp and a dip.

For the starters, my lady had nettle soup, which was served at the table from a tiny copper saucepan, and poured over the bread and cheese. There were some weeds or other under the bread, but we liked it.

I had the pork rillet (yes I did eat a lot of pork this weekend) which was very nice and light, and a rather large portion too. An unusual selection of leaves and flowers were served with it, and what tasted like bits of sweet pickled onions.
As it was Sunday, we opted for the roast dinner. I had pork, below, and she had beef, next picture down. The pork came with apple sauce and crackling, very traditional, and great crackling. Just the right amount of crunch. The beef came with horseradish cream and both meals came with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and vegetables.

I found my pork to be cooked to perfection, but very salty. A little oversalted in my opinion. My measure of Yorkshire pudding quality is to compare against my girlfriends mums as hers as the best I have ever had. The Launceston Place Yorkies were about 7 out of a maximum 10, a bit too crispy but otherwise not bad.
The roast beef was absolutely gorgeous, really tender, melt in your mouth texture. Still pink in the middle, just how I like it.

Now look at these beautiful roast potatoes, golden brown on the outside, lovely and crispy, soft and fluffy on the inside. Perfection!A nice bowl of vegetables to share...roasted parsnip and broccoli.
Now the "pre-dessert" - quite a surprise this one. Served in a silver egg cup with a silver spoon, a hollowed out egg shell, filled with cold set toffee cream custard with crunchy toffee bits and a toffee stick to dip in it, like a boiled egg with soldiers. The novelty value of this was matched by the flavour of it, really good fun to eat. I didn't order it, but I really liked it!
Now the main course of dessert - my girlfriend had rhubarb and ginger crumble with custard cream. I had a toffee ice cream sundae, I might have opted for something different if I knew I was getting the toffee cream egg, but it was still well received. The ice cream was very light but creamy at the same time. A good finish to a good meal. I don't know what you are talking about Gill!

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