I’ve wanted to visit The Ledbury since seeing Brett Graham on Masterchef in 2010, it’s taken 3 years but last Friday it finally happened. During that time both his own and The Ledbury’s reputation have continued to grow. It has retained it’s two Michelin star status and shot up the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants rankings to 13th in the 2013 list!
The Ledbury is located in a quiet, residential area of Notting Hill, I thought we were lost at points on the way as it didn’t seem like the place for a swanky restaurant.
Inside the decor is classy but simple. Wooden floors, celling to floor windows and bright white tablecloths.
On Friday & Saturday nights only the 9 course tasting menu is available, not that we’d have considered anything else anyway. Before starting on the official courses we were offered a delicate canapé of Fois Gras & Orange Tartlet which we enjoyed with a glass of Jacques Picard Rosé champagne.
Bread was also served before the main course. An amazing warm and buttery Onion & Bacon Brioche as well as a freshly baked sourdough loaf with butter.
The tasting menu began with an amuse bouche of ‘Chilled Courgette Soup & Lobster Caviar’, summery and refreshing it was just perfect for the hot evening.
‘Salad Of Spring Vegetables’ was next and whilst enjoyable, I couldn’t help thinking of a similar dish at The French which was far more exciting and interesting.
There was no lack of excitement with the next dish, probably my favourite of the night ‘Flame Grilled Mackerel, Pickled Cucumber, Celtic Mustard & Shiso’. An immaculate piece of mackerel, apparently cooked over a naked flame to give it the crispiest, charred skin but wonderfully soft flesh combined with a fascinating combination of flavours which enhanced the fish even more. A truly stunning dish.
The intriguing sounding ‘White Asparagus & Duck Ham with Almonds & Nectarine’ was good but possibly didn’t quite live up to the intrigue. I did love the combination of white asparagus and nectarine but the ‘new season’ almonds added little in the way of flavour.
That mackerel would take some beating but the second fish dish of ‘Roast Turbot, Broccoli Steam, Crab & Black Quinoa’ came close. Again the fish was immaculately cooked with a topping of black quinoa for a great crunch. The flavours complimented the fish beautifully particularly the crab and subtle Indian spices.
The next dish was the one that intrigued me most from the menu description. ‘Creamed Jersey Royals, Morels, Earl Grey & Sorrel’ so that’s mash, mushrooms and tea with some greens? Luckily Brett Graham can be trusted with such a bizarre sounding combination of flavours as it was brilliant. The smoothest, creamiest mash i’ve ever tasted, woody morels and a fascinating flavour from the sorrel and earl grey.
‘Fillet Of Beef, Grilled Onions, Wild Garlic & Bone Marrow’ was another highlight. The beautifully seared, juicy & pink rump of beef was clearly the star of the dish but the intricate, crispy roast potato is worthy of praise as not only did it look fantastic but was a damn good roast potato too! The beef, garlic and parsnip emulsion was probably the most classic combination of flavours we ate but every bit as enjoyable thanks to the quality of the beef and expert cooking on display.
The pre dessert wasn’t listed on the menu so the ‘Strawberries With Yews Milk Yoghurt’ were a pleasant surprise. I love strawberries and the small fresh ones in this dish were probably the best i’ve ever tasted. Tiny yet packing a huge punch of intense strawberry flavour, served with sweet strawberry granita, strawberry dust and rich, indulgent yews milk yoghurt.
The main dessert of ‘Brown Sugar Tart, Poached Grapes & Stem Ginger Ice Cream’ was simply stunning. Although I felt the portion was a little small even for a 10+ course fine dining tasting menu but all was forgiven once I tasted it. The simplistic presentation doesn’t do justice to the quality of the dish, from the immaculate brown sugar tart with a gorgeous burnt caramel taste to the intense stem ginger ice cream with a burst of sweet juiciness from the delicate poached grapes.
Petit fours of ‘Blood orange jelly’, ‘Dark chocolate & eucpylatas truffle’ and ‘Juniper biscuit with caramel ganache’ were a fitting end to a great meal. The truffle was particularly good.
As much as we loved the food, the one thing we’ll probably remember The Ledbury for the most is the wall next to our table with quite fascinating shaped lightbulbs which were the subject of our conversation for most of the evening. Not being sure whether it was just us we finally plucked up the courage to ask a waiter about them and he assured us that everybody asks and yes, it was intentional. So there you go!
We really enjoyed The Ledbury, service was immaculate as you would expect from a 2 star establishment and the food is worthy of it’s praise. It’s interesting that at first the dishes look and feel fairly classic but there are some seriously interesting techniques and flavour combinations being used, just in a much more subtle way than some other chefs at this level.
To top off a perfect night we were invited into the kitchen where we chatted to Brett for over 20 minutes about everything from food to music festivals and our kids. Oh, and the huge deers head hanging above the steps down to the kitchen which he proudly shot himself, i’ll try not to hold that against him though as otherwise he was by far the coolest chef i’ve ever spoken too!
Date Of Visit: 31.05.2013Follow @FoodGeekUK