Launceston Place; devilled parsnip crisps; west coast scallops roasted with aromatic herbs; rice pudding souffle with raspberry ripple ice cream

Wednesday this week was a bit of an auspicious day. Not only was it pay day (which calls for a monthly celebration, especially after my big spending habits of late), it was also me and Panu’s three year anniversary. This might not sound like a long time for some of you co-existing co-habiting in-crazy-long-relationship types, but three years is the longest relationship I’ve had by a golden mile and then some.

I’m not really sure why, I mean I don’t really classify myself as a “commitment phobe”, but I’ve been known to do the dash at three months, nine months and definitely bail at a year. So when Panu and my first anniversary rolled around, my friends watched in nervous anticipation. Everything went fine. When the second anniversary drew near last November, again, they all held their breath, but again, it came and went.

Now it’s three years and look, we’re still together, still a team.

{collective awwwwww}


I’m totally digressing. Believe me, old age makes you soft. Anyway, anniversary schmanniversary. All it is really is another reason to eat out in style and here at thecattylife, we’re gonna do it twice. First up? Launceston Place.

So. Launceston Place.

The brain child of chef Tristan Welch, I’d been reading all sorts of good things all over the food web about his recently refurbished restaurant, and if you’re really clever, you would have worked out there were three hyperlinks in that little bunch of bolded words. Sneaky. No one had said anything less than Launceston Place being pretty awesome, so I was going in with slightly nerve-wreckingly high expectations.

Interestingly, our first impressions weren’t brilliant ~ the girl who asked if we’d like some champagne to start was probably barely out of highschool and ok my next comment might be a touch controversial but I’m not coming from a racist place, more from a can-you-speak-English place but… she really struggled when we asked “do you serve rosé by the glass?”. So much so that she mumbled something and hurried off to fetch a more experienced sommelier who offered us a very nice rosé by the glass.

No biggie.

I totally forgot about it anyway because immediately following the little mishap (methods of distraction work in places other than magic shows), we were served an amuse bouche of devilled parsnip crisps, followed by a hot and cold leek soup.

The devilled parsnip crisps were fantastic ~ crispy and spicy, wrapped delicately in a branded ribbon, and the hot and cold leek soup, oh it tugged at my heart strings and brought back fond memories of The Fat Duck where I had my very first, very bizarre experience of the hot and cold tea. The leek soup probably tasted more like potato soup on the bottom and cold pea froth on top, but that’s ok. It wasn’t bad and hey, it was free.

Denham Estate venison tartare with walnuts, bitter cress and quail egg; rose (I don't know what type!); west coast scallops; hot and cold leek soup

Ok let’s talk real food. We declined the 6 course tasting menu (£60) for a 3 course set menu (£45). I chose the west coast scallops roasted with aromatic herbs to start which in one descriptive word were: enormous. I really should have taken a photo of a scallop next to my head because they (and there were three) were probably some of the largest, meatiest scallops I’d seen in a while. Covered in garlicky, herby, buttery something or other, they tasted like a little piece of heaven.

Panu’s starter was equally delish ~ Denham Estate venison tartare with walnuts, bitter cress and a quail egg. The word “tartare” always excites me, but probably for the wrong reasons because basically, I picture a Korean yook hwei (which actually isn’t even tartare so you see what I have to deal with on a daily basis? My brain. It doesn’t make sense). It’s all good, the tartare was so tender you could barely feel the meat but the taste was oomf.. delicious. It left us wondering what he’d seasoned the venison with but I doubt I’ll ever find out.

Wild seabass, chestnuts, chervil and ceps; Tamworth suckling pig, radishes and honey emulsion

Mains. Wow, usually I fall head over heels in love with starters and desserts and in fact if I have a 2 course meal, I often skip the main all together. They’re usually less creative and somewhat less delicious but there is a first for everything.

My main ~ Tamworth suckling pig with radishes and honey emulsion ~ was my favourite course of the night. Hands down. Three little medallions of tenderly roasted pig, gorgeous little cooked radishes and slices of fresh radish and the salty-sweet taste of honey emulsion. Oh and lest I forget, the crowning glory (which I saved til last, of course) – a piece of crackle to rival all crackle. Yum.

Panu ordered the wild seabass with chestnuts, chervil and ceps. Um, what are chervils and ceps? I didn’t know before and actually, I’m none the wiser now either. I was far too engrossed in my own main to pay Panu any attention but I’m pretty sure he enjoyed his meal considering a couple of days later, I received an email saying “seabass… yum!” 🙂

set custard cream, caramel & praline with malt ice cream; pear sorbet & mulled wine mousse palate cleanser; raspberry ripple ice cream; rice pudding souffle

And onto the sweet thangs! Well, before we actually get onto the really sweet stuff, we were served a pre-dessert, which in my world is like, well awesome can we also have a post-dessert? Interestingly the answer is yes. Brownie points for Mr Welch.

The pre-dessert was pear sorbet and mulled wine mousse with spiced orange, which I thought was a palate cleanser (the pear sorbet being ever so light and tangy) until I tried the mulled wine mousse. It was nice but really, I think a thousand cinnamon pods died some angry deaths in that mousse because that was all I could taste. Lucky that was a freebie.

Panu’s dessert was a bit of a surprise. It was a set custard cream with caramel, praline and malt ice cream.  We were both expecting something along the lines of a creme caramel and I mean pralines, doesn’t that just make you think of Haagen Dazs pralines & cream? God, am I really so embarrassingly commercial? Yes, yes I am. Anyway it wasn’t what we expected, but I think it was still good – the malt ice cream especially, which was luxuriously velvety and oops I just realised it’s not even in the photo above. It was in the other corner. Sorry!

My dessert was a winner ~ rice pudding soufflé (which takes 20 minutes but it’s 20 minutes of your life well spent) served with a separate jar of raspberry ripple ice cream. The soufflé was light as feathers but amazingly still maintained the texture of rice and its warmth and simple flavour paired with the sweet melting raspberry ice cream was just perfect. Per. Fect.

And the post-dessert? We were packed off home with a teeny tiny box of chocolates, supposedly from Mr Welch himself. So awesome 🙂

me and my favourite...

So that was celebratory meal #1. Tomorrow we’re going to the Lanesborough Hotel for afternoon tea which I am super excited about, although not quite sure if I’ll be wearing a dress in this frost.

Oh and that there is me and my man. Awwww… he’s my favourite {heart} … (by erm, sorry I was taking so many food photos I forgot to take one of us at dinner)…

Launceston Place
1A Launceston Place
London, W8 5RL
0207 937 6912

Launceston Place on Urbanspoon

11 Thoughts on “anniversary celebrations at Launceston Place: with crackling to rival all crackle

  1. Congratulations to the catpanu team for making it to the big 3! yay 🙂 hugs to you both.
    And by the way, wear a dress, wear a dress!

  2. Congratulations on 3 years!

    Those scallops and that pork look amazing!

    xox Sarah

  3. Helen: thanks honey! Yeah it’s easy for you to say wear a dress from the warmth of Perth summer 😉

    Sarah: thanks lovely.. and YES, both were amazing. If you ever come to London…

  4. Janie McDonald on November 29, 2009 at 1:54 pm said:

    Hi Catty! I’ve just read your About Me page and thought it was really great! I couldn’t comment on there though so have popped one in here.. you’re a great writer, and the food all looks so amazing it’s making me drool.

  5. awwwwww *i heart you two 🙂 congratulations on making 3 years 🙂 miss ya heaps!

  6. happy anniversary you 2 lovelies! To food and fun!

  7. Jamie: thank you 🙂 *blush*

    grace: hey honey I miss you too but see you in a couple of months, right? *big hug*

    imp: thanks chickie! To food and fun indeed! 😉

  8. Good to see you enjoyed Launceston Place I loved it as well = particularly that rice pudding souffle. Happy anniversary!

  9. Gourmet Chick: the rice puddling souffle is just something else isn’t it? Divine!

  10. Pingback: Launceston Place – A Great Meal Ambushed by Too Many Buts « Laissez Fare: Food, Wine & Travel Adventures

  11. Pingback: me and my favourite… : Social Menu

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