Our first visit today at a reasonably busy lunchtime. Its very pleasantly situated in perhaps the most "villagey" part of Kensington and the pleasant walk from Ken High Street or from Gloucester Road will raise you expectations.
And indeed everything we ate today was nicely cooked, carefully presented, and the variety of tastes and textures from individual ingredients was clearly perceptible. So good quality cooking here, and if the food doesn't quite have the sheer intensity of what I might expect at Gordon Ramsay's flagship, or Marcus Wareing, or Pollen Street Social, well maybe its appropriate to recall that It isn't rated or priced quite so highly either. And you get good bread ( very good actually), a tasty canapé, an interesting Amuse Bouche, and a few petits fours with the coffee. We chose from the lunch menu, as many around us seemed to do . Pleasingly we got food that I'm sure represented what this restaurant was capable of, and sadly that isn't always the case in London's restaurant at the moment where there sometimes seems to be a touch of "made down to a price" about the lunch menu that din't seem to happen so much a few years ago. But as I say not here and we left after three decent courses each ( and the bits) quite unable to consider even a coffee for the next couple of hours.
A word about the service though- we were booked in for 1pm, and though we were a minute or two early it still seemed to be a half hour before we got menus. In fact we'd ordered and started our bottle of wine before we'd seen a menu. We found this odd. Unless of course the front of house's job is to give the kitchen an easy life by controlling the pace of orders hitting the kitchen? If so I think that's bizarre, and a kitchen working to give each diner an appropriately paced experience seems more the right way round to me. That aside the service from all the fairly numerous people who came to our table was pleasant and very competent.. We were there for 21/4 hours for three courses and coffee which is longer than I'd expect though it caused no problems.
Our bill for 3 course set lunches, coffee, a bottle of a pleasant Languedoc which was certainly, at £30 , from the lower end of their list, and coffee/service came to a fraction under £130. I had intended to comment on this though my wife reminds me that we more usually eat two courses for lunch. She's quite right, and of course we have the numerous "extras" , so I'm ending up with a view that value seems about right. Will we go again? Well maybe albeit that this is quite a well-populated segment , with some good quality from Murano, Chez Bruce, Kitchen W8, Chiswick's La Trompette and so on that will give Launceston Place a run for its money on flavours and value.