Took my significant other for lunch yesterday at Launceston Place. Last time I was there was on 10th September 2001 (I know the date because of my blog from that time), for an offline dinner. Since then, things have changed (it’s now part of the D&D group of restaurants, who operate several high end London joints), and it was relaunched in 2008 with Tristan Welch as head chef. The theme is modern British.
The wine list is a really good one, with a nice balance, good depth, and plenty of interesting bottles, at reasonable (by London standards) prices. You can browse it here. I chose to let the sommelier pick wines to match each course, and he obliged with some really good selections.
We started off with a glass each of Champagne Laurent Perrier Brut NV, which has a nice balance between the precise, crisp, citrussy notes and some toasty richness.
Fiona started with scallops, which were sensationally good and nicely presented (we have the annoying habit of sampling each other’s dishes). This was matched with Torbreck Viognier Marsanne Roussanne 2008, which is a richly textured, bold white with just a hint of oak. Broad and bold; a good pairing with the richness of the scallops.
I chose venison tartar with quails eggs (pictured above), which was paired with Finca El Puig Priorat 2005. Now this is a classic Priorat, with lovely refined red berry fruits and grainy yet silky tannins. Sweetly fruited with some spicy peppery notes; wearing its high alcohol (15%) well. The tartar was superbly presented and tasted delicious (although it might have been better without the nuts sprinkled on the top, but I’m being picky), and the wine pairing worked well.
For mains, Fiona opted for baked Cornish lemon sole, which came with shrimps, coastline vegetables and early potatoes. This was perfectly cooked, and worked very well with the wine match, Livio Felluga Sharis 2010. An unoaked blend of Ribolla and Chardonnay, this has lovely sweet fruit and is highly aromatic and precise.
I went for the suckling pig, which was an incredibly creative, fun dish. The pig had been prepared five different ways, in small portions served on a wooden platter. It looked lovely, and tasted great. To match, Marc Bredif Vouvray 2008. A creative pairing, in which the appley, off dry fruit supported by great acidity worked in harmony with the apple theme running through the pork dishes.
Then, the desserts. I had tarte tatin; Fiona, treacle tart. Both were sensational. Perfection. Hers was matched with Domaine Cauhape Symphonie de Novembre Jurancon 2008, which is thrillingly edgy and has notes of wax, citrus, herbs and spice. It’s almost structured. My pairing was Disnoko Tokaju Late Harvest 2009, which is rich with lovely apricot and melon fruit, kept fresh by some citrussy notes. Lovely.
I’m surprised Launceston Place doesn’t have a Michelin star. The food is creative and perfectly executed, the wine list first-rate, the decor (milk chocolate brown walls, lots of natural light) comfortable and stylish, and the service is impeccable. As with most high end London restaurants the lunch menu is particularly good value (£23 for three courses), while the standard menu is £40/46 for 2/3 courses.