As one of Kensington’s hidden gems, the exquisite and multi award-winning Launceston Place boasts a accolade-laden team to match. A protegee of chef Pierre Koffmann, chef Patron Ben Murphy (formerly of east London’s Woodford) joined the team as head chef in 2017, and has since imprinted his own personal philosophy on the London culinary scene, exploring the finest seasonal ingredients and creating dishes that are as pleasing on the eye as they are on the palate. His bold flavours and witty concepts help to elevate Launceston’s delectable offering.
The height of sophistication, Launceston Place is situated in an 1839 townhouse in the heart of Kensington, it’s slick black and white exterior an apt precursor for the delights that lie within. The calming space, with its simple and pared-bared colour palette, crisp white tablecloths and large windows streaming with light are a welcome invitation to sit back and relax and enjoy what can be described as one of the most special meals in London.
Brummell headed to Launceston Place to try one of Murphy’s latest creative concepts: the Phyllis menu. Named after his grandmother, the menu is presented to guests as a chic frosted draughts board in homage to his favourite game they played together when he was a child. Behind each piece is revealed one of Murphy’s exquisite dishes, covering the dishes they do not want to order and leaving their choice of dish uncovered.
We made our choices and carefully handed our draughts boards to the waiting staff before being delighted with the arrival of a delicious amuse-bouche of bite-sized ceviche tacos topped with a slather or radish and caviar and some bread with a choice of butters. Our starters arrived and as predicted were almost too beautiful to eat. A celeriac with mint, pecorino and ragout elegantly presented and deliciously rich and satisfying, and a very pretty ceviche, lovage, buttermilk and finger lime were tough acts to follow. Nevertheless, Murphy delivered with our glazed Cod main – elevated a beautiful radish rose and a hidden kick of hidden nori and coriander oil, and mushroom with egg yolk, parmesan each served with a side of giant chips, a cross between the best roast potato you could imagine and the best French fries (Brummell has been busy in the kitchen trying to recreate these ever since, with no luck so far).
Our perfectly executed desserts came next followed by a wave of guilt on our part for eating such beautiful pieces that very much deserved their own plinth. A chocolate mousse dome with timur and blackberry and topped with a delicate laser-cut chocolate leaf was deliciously impressive and the Yuzu and white chocolate bomb was as vibrant in taste as it was visually.
Washed down with some delectable cocktails, and with a view of Kensington locals enjoying their Sunday strolls, this was a very luxurious lunch indeed and very much recommended.
Three courses, £39,
Launceston Place hasn’t been awarded multiple awards for one of the finest luxury restaurants in the UK for no reason, every part of the experience from the service to the surroundings is beautiful and enjoyable but it is Murphy’s witty concepts and delicious fare that really makes it. An all-round winner.
Launceston Place, 1A Launceston Pl, London W8 5RL; launcestonplace-restaurant.co.uk