I visited Launceston Place a few years ago and loved it. Recently they’ve welcomed a new chef, Ben Murphy, who’s ambition and creativity I really admired when he headed up the kitchen at The Woodford. Needless to say, I was excited to experience the new pairing of this reputable restaurant and great chef.
On first appearances nothing much had changed… the smart exterior still blended nicely into the Kensington townhouses of the area, and inside the tables are still immaculately dressed in white tablecloths.
Then the menus arrived… a list of ingredients matched with a suitable emoji for each course, a fun and unusual menu addition! Thanks to the help of the lovely general manager Sandro, we chose a few core flavours and the rest was looked after for us by Ben and his team in the kitchen.
Each and every dish was exquisite, it is difficult to pick any favourites. After the tasty bread course, we were both treated to the special carrot dish. A bright cheerful plate of food showcasing this humble root vegetable. Different varieties of carrot were carefully cooked in a range of ways paired with flavours of lovage and caraway. It was a joyful array of colour, flavour and texture. The Spelt with Quail’s egg and herbs was one of my guest’s favourites, another beautiful vegetarian dish which was vibrant with an impressive depth of flavour. Although technically brilliant I found the Pigeon & Foie Gras encased in puff pastry much too rich for a starter.
Our main courses were thankfully quite light… Chicken with peanut and sweetcorn was a pretty plate of sweet and savoury tastes. The chicken was perfectly cooked, with tender breast meat and topped with wonderfully crispy salty skin. My Presa Iberica with Aubergine and Ponzu was a little more exotic, but also delicious… High quality pork with smoky aubergine and a Japanese citrus from the ponzu.
The desserts were miniature works of art. Chocolate with apple and cucumber was an unusual but successful combination of rich and refreshing ingredients. The Strawberry with Piquillo Pepper and Meringue was a stunning pudding of many elements and processes. It had a lovely sweetness matched with a slight spiciness from the pepper and a satisfying crunch from the meringue and biscuit crumbs.
Ben Murphy’s food is truly as delicious as it looks, and I hope Launceston Place will be the restaurant in which he is awarded his deserved first star.
More information and book a table at Launceston Place here.