It seems that in these exciting times, we are more and more gripped by political spectacle. Although in some cases the worries seemed wholly justified. Just look at Brexit and the recent White House elections for a start. Those did not go the way that people thought. Conversely, sometimes it seems to just be a lot of hot air. The recent electoral worries that gripped the western world seems to have been halted in France. The world still seemed a toastier day than it seemed this time last year.
So in this rather hot climate (both metaphorically and literally) we decided to cool down in the more genteel west London. At Launceston Place.
Down a pleasant quiet street, from the outside, it looked like just the place to take a breather from the mayhem of this age. A place to take a break.
While waiting for the emergence of my eating companions, I did in particular admire the glassware which managed to tint water a pleasing light blue. Just looking at it made me feel cooler already. Thankfully I was soon reunited with my friends and the eating could commence.
Spring roll. These little flourishes of attention to detail were to follow us throughout the meal. First was an interesting take on a spring roll. Dainty and delicate, it was gone in a flash.
Chicken liver parfait. Continuing on this cooling theme was something looking like ice cream cones. Instead of gelato these were filled with chicken liver parfait topped with crunchiness. A treat.
Bread course. Wonderfully presented, it tasted as good as it looks. Soft, cushiony bread inside, outside, a firmer crust. Delightful butter and jelly on the side. My only complaint was that there was not more.
Egg and soldiers, celeriac. Excellent presentation. I couldn’t really put my finger on the taste. It seemed like lightly poached egg. It’s sapidity confused me much like the politics of this day. It seemed to sit on the fence of meatiness and lightness, similar to some politicians these days. Interesting but not necessarily my cup of tea.
Spelt, wild garlic and lemon balm. My puzzlement continued with the next dish. Not having tried spelt before, I thought that it was a typo. Did they actually mean to say spell, spelt being the past tense of that. Yet, I found out this was actually a type of grain. I had been missing out as this was chewy and rather good. Bounce, garlic and balm went together well.
Asparagus, walnut and egg. Presented well, like a prize piece of grass. Tasted a bit too uninteresting for me. The walnut and egg base was good though.
Octopus, chorizo and chicken wing. An interesting amalgamation. Presented rather well, tasted ok. However, it felt like the octopus was a tad overcooked as it was a bit too chewy for my tastes.
Monkfish, banana and onion. The fish seemed a bit bouncy to me. I know this is probably my inexperience speaking here (seldom do I try monkfish) but my experience combined with the aforementioned octopus left me to think that seafood was perhaps not their strong point.
Lamb, pea and morel. It seemed like the lack of the seafood dishes was instead to provide contrast when showcasing skill in the meat. The fat seemed to expertly cordon off pink flesh inside. This was all set off by a pea foam. A delight.
Potato cakes. These were excellent. Layers of cake fried and combined into these rectangular tasty blocks. I could eat these all day. Until dire consequences (constipation?) reminded me that too much of anything isn’t good for you.
A selection of cheese.
More cheeses. Sadly, although the selection was fairly wide, these cheeses seemed fairly uninspired and insipid. They unfortunately did not come anywhere near to touching the sublime cheeses of Le Gavroche. More’s the pity.
Solero, coconut and mango. A fruity ice lolly that I last had when I was a youth. When I tasted it, I realised why it had been so long… There was a fascinating mango raviolli that was a thing of great beauty to behold and taste.
Petit fours – chocolate mousse lollipop, cream pastry and chocolate.
At the end of the meal, I reflected. It was sadly a fairly uninspired dinner. Nice atmosphere though. Which is maybe a sign of the times as politicians these days seem to demonstrate the same attributes. The meal was pleasant enough, with enough highlights to keep me from losing attention. Yet, as politicians will show, attractiveness is not enough to live. Sometimes you have to go with bold flavours, tastes and textures. Worry about someone appreciating it later. In which case, if they are looking for a glowing report of all the dishes, they could be waiting a while.
A quiet eating 6.5/10.
Dinner (8 courses) was GBP75 excluding drinks and service.
1A Launceston Pl, Kensington,
London W8 5RL