Dec 15 2012

Ledbury, The

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I finally made it to the Ledbury. I have been trying to go there for a while now, ever since I read about how this restaurant was attacked during the London riots last year (story which I thought was so peculiar as this was the only restaurant attacked like this) and ever since I read that they had become the 14th best restaurant in the world (from 34 a year ago, so a big jump, highest climber in the list), and they also now have 2 Michelin stars and is supposed to be one of the best places in London (note this year the Ledbury has climbed 1 more place to become the 13th best restaurant in the world), but something always happened, and I kept moving my lunch reservation around for half a year, but I finally made it.

The Ledbury is located on Ledbury road in Notting Hill (not sure if this is named after a British town Ledbury, located in Hereford) and I guess the restaurant is called after the street. The restaurant is run by a chef called Brett Graham, an Australian, who moved to the UK more than 10 years ago, and after working in The Ledbury’s sister restaurant The Square opened The Ledbury in 2005, and surpassed the Square as The Ledbury is widely assumed to be better than the Square now. The Ledbury serves French food. The restaurant is beautiful from the outside, it has nice little flowers surrounding the entrance and it looks very professional yet cozy, and once you enter the place the magic continues. The staff were amazing. I don’t usually comment on staff, but from the moment you entered you felt like everyone was relaxed, friendly, happy to be there and help you (similar feeling to how I felt when I went to Noma, but maybe not to the same extent) and the skill with which they changed dishes, cutlery and filled your water glass was remarkable. The inside is also beautifully decorated, there are flower vases full of beautiful winter flowers in burgundy shades built into the walls and the room is bright and made more stylish by the brown curtains.

I was not felling overly hungry but as I had finally made it to The Ledbury I thought I had to have their tasting menu, so I can say I have fully experienced the Ledbury, and the tasting menu consisted of 8 courses plus an amuse bouche. Despite the many dishes we would be having, they also brought us a canapé before the meal, a little fois gras mousse in a firm savory type of biscuit, and it was very delicious, the biscuit was firm and the mousse very tasty. Also before I start talking about the food I have to say that the bread they gave you was incredible. You had 3 choices, you could have a bacon and onion bread, sourdough bread and melted malt bread and all of them (I tried all) were delicious, although my favorite one was the onion and bacon one as it was warm, the bacon was there, the onion was amazingly incorporated into it, and putting butter on it, seeing it melt and eating it was divine. Our amuse bouche was a quails egg in angels hair, and served with a puree. It was delicious, the egg was soft and it was nice to eat it with the crunchy angels hair. The first dish from the menu was supposed to be “Chantilly of Oysters with Cucumber, Dill and a Tartare of Scallops”, but as I do not eat oysters I asked for it to be adapted to my taste, which the restaurant was quick to do and so I had a tartar of a scallop with some apple (which I could not really taste as it was somehow prepared not like an apple), and some horseradish powder. My boyfriend who had the Chantilly of oysters and he did enjoy it and it was beautifully presented in a tall martini glass and had a potato crisp presented in a cup with some wild rice. I tasted the crisp and did like it. My scallop was amazing, it was raw, super thin and absorbed the other flavors on the dish. Next we had the “Flame Grilled Mackerel with Pickled Vegetables, Celtic Mustard and Shiso”, and I have been wanting to try this mackerel dish for a long time, as I have read in many magazines and articles how well The Ledbury prepares the mackerel. The taste of the mackerel was great, flame grilling definitely brought out another side of the fish that I had not tasted before, and I loved the little pickled vegetables on the plate, and how well they went with the mackerel. And you also had a bit of raw mackerel in a little parcel which was delicious. This was a very nice and memorable dish from The Ledbury. The next dish that followed was the “Boudin of Pheasant and Wood Pigeon with Chestnut Soup and a Veloute of Wiltshire Truffles”, and I can’t say I was truly amazed by this dish, as I thought the roulade of the pheasant and wood pigeon was a bit bland, and I did not think the chestnut soup made it any nicer, and I did not like all the foam on the plate (I am generally not a huge fan of foam people love doing in French cuisine), and for me even though I can see the skill of the dish, it just was not amazing. Next dish was the”Fillet of Sea Bass with Fennel, Mousserons and Mussels”, and here once again I was not a particularly huge fan but that is because I don’t like mussels that much, I tried a bit of the mussel in breadcrumbs (or something similar), and gave most of it away to my boyfriend, and I did not like the mussels underneath the sea bass, I did like however the mushrooms called “mousserons” although they do remind me of mushrooms you can see in a Latvian forest, called “dog mushrooms” (sunu senes) which are plentiful and non-edible to humans. The sea bass was gorgeous though, really nicely done with a beautiful crust. The next dish we had was roast pork. Before serving it, the waiter brought us a chunk of the roast pork to show it to us, cooked with little spices on top of it, and it looked wonderful with super delicious crackling covering it. When it was platted and served to us (note we only got 1/5 of the pork shown to us initially on our plates), it was served with a crunchy asparagus crisp like thing on the top and an asparagus puree and the pork was delicious, it was tender and nice and the cracking did not have any fat underneath it and was super tasty. I do remember the pork though being very strongly flavored, and it did feel almost like it was over seasoned. Our last main course was the “Aged Fillet of Belted Galloway Beef with Roast Parsnips and Bone Marrow” and the beef was juicy, tender, potatoes beautifully lined up and crunchy and I even had some bone marrow which I usually do not like. Very well executed and beautifully presented beef and potato dish. Next followed the “pre desert” which consisted of some citrus fruit, ice cream and citrus type mousse, very refreshing nice and light desert. The last dish we had was a “Brown Sugar Tart with Poached Grapes and Stem Ginger Ice Cream” and I have to say this desert was sensational, the brown sugar tart was extremely delicious, I could have eaten much much more had they given me a bigger piece and the ginger ice cream was also amazing and went super well with the tart. Seriously suggest to have this if you go to The Ledbury. We also had the option of having cheese but we were feeling so super full we could not have it, even though the cheese trolley looked amazing. The little pieces of chocolate (petit four) given to us at the end were also very delicious.

I liked the Ledbury and had a nice meal there, but unfortunately I did not see as many interesting things and flavors as I have seen in other top restaurants. The Ledbury executes and presents very well each dish, it gives you typical French food super well done, but it does lack that extra special something that other top restaurants like Noma, Alina, L’Arpege have, so for me it falls short of a 5M restaurant (and whilst I think this restaurant should be in the top 100, I am not convinced it is the 14th best in the world) as it just did not have that extra wow factor, and even though some of the dishes I thought were amazing (like the mackerel and brown sugar tart) I can’t say I thought all dishes were amazing, but it is still a very very good restaurant, hence MMMMm.

Location: Notting Hill
Date: 15/12/12
Price for 2, tasting menu and 2 glasses of wine and service charge: £268.30

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4.50

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The Ledbury
127 Ledbury Road Notting Hill W11 2AQ
London
United Kingdom
GB
Ledbury, The Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5