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Restaurant Review: Launceston Place in West London

Launceston Place (LP) is quite insanely good value.  For the price of one small steak at somewhere like Hawksmoor (or perhaps Aberdeen Angus Steak House if you want to be as cliched as Jay Rayner) you can have a three course meal replete with great food, rather charming service and a lovely room.

Devilled crisps

The only question I kept asking myself during the meal is why I hadn’t been there sooner? It may be deep in the dark monied depths of West London but it is well worth travelling for.

Home made bread and pickled herring

The chef behind LP is Tristan Welch and he has just received 3 AA rosettes.  He will undoubtedly receive a Michelin star sometime soon.  And he deserves it.  I chose LP as the place to meet up with some London foodie friends – Leluu & Fernandez, Mr Noodles, 1mGoldStars (or Gail) and Simon – and to get the kind of food and service I can’t get in Hong Kong. I.e. big cuts of meat or roasts and a waiter who doesn’t scream you in and out of your seat.

Native lobster poached in white wine, oyster and pressed sauce

Everyone else went for the set £25 Sunday lunch menu whilst I decided to get a touch fancy and go for the £45 lunch menu.  If I ever get to go back again (and I hope I will) I would go for the cheaper menu as it was just as good (and on the mains perhaps better).

Duck egg on toast, Somerset truffle

My starter was a poached lobster and oyster with foam. It was quite frankly brilliant. Beautiful to look at, light to eat, delcious to taste. One could not ask for much more. My neighbours at that stage were similarly murmouring in joy as they had ordered the truffled duck egg on toast (which is apparently a bit of a LP classic).  I didn’t get to try their starter and they didn’t get to try mine as we all finished ours off in quick succession. However, suffice to say full marks at this stage.

Herdwick lamb, sea beets, craackling and salt baked potatoes

I had lamb for mains whilst everyone else went for roast beef.  The header picture is of the slabs of roast beef being brought out which are then carved to order in front of you. It is a nice theatrical touch reminiscent of old hotel dining rooms. My little taste of the roast beef suggested a perfectly cooked, touch rare cut of meat, i.e. just as it should be. The side of buttermilked (I think) brussel sprouts to accompany it were a touch of fiddling too far however. My lamb was well cooked and the square of crackling hidden at the back of the picture above was an absolute highlight.

Rice pudding, orange marmalade, brown butter

I didn’t take any pictures of my pudding as, well, it was the low point of the meal. A Islay based whisky ice-cream and chocolate souffle that came out a touch melted and a touch average. Instead there is a picture of Leluu’s pudding with its riot of small serving pots.  However, my dessert was a minor disappointment in a meal which was a very enjoyable experience.  Special mention must also be made of the service which was fun and judged the mood of a table of people with large DSLRs cameras snapping away at everything well. For instance, the waiter joked that he wanted everyone to catch his best side when we were taking pictures of the carving.

Now the only question is whether The Ledbury, where I am off tomorrow, is distinctly better than LP or not. If it is, I will be very very impressed.

  • Price – £30 – 50
  • 1A Launceston Place, London, W8 5RL

Launceston Place on Urbanspoon

16 Comments

  1. Wow – great photos are interesting post. I’ve never been either but have also booked into the Ledbury which I’ve heard AMAZING things about so would be interested in your comparison. Its also £70 for 3 courses in the evening so lunch might be less ouch.

    Sasha @ The Happiness Project London

    • Yeah Ledbury has got to be the most consistently raved about thing in London I would say. So strange I never went. Oh well, I rectify that tonight which I am extremely excited about! Will do a full post of course :)

  2. I see you’ve kept quiet about nicking all the gravy! It was good to catch up and I will be back here to try one of their tasting menus. Going back to your opening line – it is amazing value – something that I appreciated a hell of a lot more, after lunch at The Providores & Tapa room yesterday.

    • You Northerners are too slow with the gravy. That good food, with that good service with that nice a room and atmosphere – it really is incredible value.

      I think our whole bill came to £250 odd for 5 people – you could easily spend that for 2 at most restaurants and this food was a lot better than most restaurants.

  3. Great afternoon and yes, such great value for what I think is really outstanding food. We had the roast beef, two cuts of sirloin and rump, my starter and dessert were incredible and all for £25 – ! Agree with Mr Noodles that the gravy was a bit tight but that was all, we got more, so…

    Lovely to see you Tom and hear your funny stories of being a Chinese person x

  4. I have been meaning to try this place out for ages – i am glad to hear it’s still churning out good food. I hadn’t appreciated quite how good value the lunch deal is either. One for a post xmas triip methinks.

    • Even if it is the traditional time of year to be slightly constrained financially LP is the place to go to treat yourself. Such joy for such price!

  5. Great article, Tom.
    A quick question to you: what would be your personal top 3 tables in London? I heard that Le Gavroche and L’Autre pied, although different, are doing great.

    • One of the problems with both is that whilst I have been to them I haven’t been for a while. L’Autre Pied a couple of years ago served me up a moderately enjoyable corporate lunch where I enjoyed the alcohol more than the food. The food was… nothing revelatory.

      Le Gavroche was better and I used to go a bit more regularly as I worked in the area. They especially do some good set lunches.

      If you were in London for a short time (and looking to try a British take on food) I would do:

      1. Ledbury
      2. Launceston Place
      3. Hawksmoor
      4. St John’s or Hereford Road
      5. A turkish meal (as London’s turkish food is strangely world class)
      6. A fry up (Pimlico Cafe, E Pellici)
      7. A cream tea

      Then maybe Arbutus/ Wild Honey for some modern takes on food.

  6. I love Launceston Place! Ihad one of the best meals of this year there and I actually think there is not much of a qualitative difference to The Ledbury. I loved the Laprhoig ice cream by the way. (but I love whiskey :)

    • See I love whisky as well and have always wished Haagen Daas did an equivalent whisky one to their Praline and Baileys. This one came out a bit melted and soggy and the choc pud was disappointing… After such a great (and cheap meal) I didn’t mind though!

  7. It’s good innit?
    First time I went, I had the set lunch menu. Last time I went was a blow out birthday celebration so I had the tasting menu.
    BOTH superb value and quality for the prices.

  8. It’s good is an understatement for me. For that price, for that service, for that food – WOW.

    What a great choice for a birthday celebration. I read your review before going and it was one of the key things to convince me to go!

  9. The photos of the roast beef and that divine looking loaf of crusty bread are almost enough for me to book a plane ticket right now. And re: shouty HK waiters – right on – I was just shouted at during lunch today by my claypot rice lady, bless her.

    • Kwan Kee is still almost awe inspiring for the rudeness of the waiters. I maintain that being unable to speak any Cantonese actually makes many restaurant experiences more enjoyable as I can’t understand it and just smile.

      It is such a shame good cuts of meat are so expensive here in HK as I would love to see some places doing going roasts!

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