(Day 8)- My last day in Soggies…I couldn’t believe it was finally coming to a close. It had been such a full week of reuniting with old friends and familiar faces. I had made some great memories on this trip, especially great foodie-memories! I was so grateful to go out with a bang participating in a stage at Launceston Place. I first dined at this restaurant in 2012 on a brisk December day. We came out of the tube at Gloucester Road and wandered through the charming Chelsea roads and finally approached this fine establishment. I was mesmerized by the quaint charm and knew I had to live in London again one day. It deserved another chance.
I finally stopped working in hospitality a little less than a year ago. While I am certainly no stranger to a kitchen (nearly half my life working in restaurants) it was funny to be on the other side of things for once. The team was incredibly welcoming here. I came in, introduced myself and was suited up in a chef jacket and apron in no time.
My friend who we shall refer to as “Ello-zies” (fine dining gastronomer and faithful patron) had contacted Chef Tim Allen at Launceston to help coordinate this stage. I was honored Mr. Allen welcomed the idea with enthusiasm and was sad to hear he would not be present for my big debut. Little did he know this reunion had been long awaited since our last meeting when face-time was impossible. He was participating in a rather extensive interview between shifts. PeanutPimpMama wanted a fair chance at Q&A time to pick his brain. Maybe next time! (PeanutPimpMama shrugs*)
Initially I felt slightly intimidated, (imagine that) but before I knew it they had me setting up mis en place and stationed in desserts. That of course was the safest bet with the least possibility of collateral damage. Evidently word got around that I “fancy myself” as a baker… I do bake cupcakes. Now even that is being ruined by all of the little hipster cupcake-cynics. Evidently PPM has to learn how to make donuts now. Euh…
Pictured Above: A chocolate airbrushing technique is displayed. (That is clearly not my forearm.)
After I was trained to airbrush mousse balls I attempted a bunch on my own. It’s interesting how little details like this make the world of difference in plate presentation. It was funny to see a kitchen full of men and an air brush machine. Normally I associate these with Jersey girls, fake tans and very long nails.
These are miniature Pain de Genes that I helped make. It was awkward measuring ingredients on a scale in grams vs. cups and ounces. I’d like to apologize to LP if they were a bit off. (Wink*)
There it was, the finished result. You have to admit that my hand held point and shoot doesn’t take a bad picture, eh? Here we have one mousse ball completely “tanned” in chocolate providing an appealing visual texture. Off in the distance we see some pistachio ice cream creepin’.
I spent some quality time with the pastry chef that afternoon. He helped me create a beautiful soufflé. The last one I attempted was when I lived on the UES and cooked a birthday dinner for my friend Christin. It sunk a tad after I threw the raspberry reduction and whipped cream on there.
Pictured Above: PeanutPimpMama’s first raspberry soufflé on the UES- Created in PPM’s Kitchen
Pictured Above: soufflé created at Launceston Place (My soufflé skills have come a long way baby!)
After we took it out of the oven we dusted some confectionery sugar on top.
Finally we presented the soufflé with a citron reduction and scooped some ice cream to serve on the side. I really like the shape created by using the side of a dinner spoon. It’s a sexy and sophisticated alternative. The pastry chef stated, “Finally, soufflé done right at Launceston Place.” I’m sure Chef Allen would have loved to hear that one. (PeanutPimpMama winks*)
My tasting experiences behind-the-scenes this afternoon happened in no particular order. I was happy to have them any way I could get them! I was given a small plate with two delightfully savoury bites consisting of the first one above, a miniature Parmesan and truffle cream cheese sandwich. It took me right back to my latchkey days…Instantly I was five years old munching on Cheez-Its while enjoying the 1,000th replay of The Wizard of Oz.
It’s neighboring “snack” was a mini tart filled with beetroot, balsamic jelly and fromage frais. What a tart little Pop-Tart tart! Tart tart tart…
Pictured above is the first course off the tasting menu: Cornish Mackerel Tartare-topped with marinated cucumber balls and a horseradish with buttermilk snow and garnished with Borage flowers and dill. While (not) pictured here, I was told it is served with a nice refreshing cucumber gazpacho. We were moving at a fast pace and since they were nice enough to let me hover over the line, I was not in the position to demand accompaniments. The course was a zesty intro to a meal, truly pure and refreshing like a cool Spring shower. With a dying camera battery I couldn’t quite focus in on that horseradish snow which soon liquefied before my eyes . (PeanutPimpMama Fail*)
Pictured Above: An amuse bouche of cauliflower mousse with curried lentils… It warmed my heart and my taste buds.
I had to get a picture of this guy… Here we have a layers of cucumber balls, lime, buttermilk and mint. It’s pretty obvious that this serves as a palate cleanser in preparation for all the sweet things ahead. Clever choice of glassware for presentation purposes. It reminds me of a cucumber filled ice cube… Even the glassware is invigorating!
I took many pictures that day, but few were actually worthy enough to express the fine details that go into the works of art this establishment turns out of their kitchen. I would like to thank the team at Launceston for welcoming me once again and teaching me so much about their work. Most of all I’d like to thank them for taking the risk to have me in their kitchen! It was a very valuable experience I will surely treasure.
Launceston Place is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. If you are looking for a real “bang for the buck” the Sunday lunch has great value. It is so nice to take your time, relax and pretty much solve any hunger issues for the rest of the day! (PeanutPimpMama likes that.) Although a turn of events has prohibited PPM from her planned Autumn visit to London… She will be back in 2015! She is incredibly grateful for these experiences and can’t wait to return to Soggies for more food-filled-fun! That about wraps up this addition of London Yum Yumzz… Until next time!
Address: 1A Launceston Pl, London W8 5RL, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 7937 6912
Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com
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