I’ve had some fantastic meals in 2012 and one of the best was a long boozy lunch at the Ledbury in late November. I’d been wanting to go to the Ledbury for ages as I’d been told a number of times that it was the best restaurant in London and I wanted to find out for myself.
It’s based in Notting Hill, just near Portobello Road Market and since it opened in 2005 it has gained many accolades including two Michelin Stars. The chef is Brett Graham, an Australian chef who was trained in the UK at The Square by Philip Howard (of Great British Menu fame).
Getting a reservation at the Ledbury is tricky but not impossible. It took me a few months to secure the Saturday lunchtime 2pm slot that I wanted and it was well worth the wait. We had a fabulous time. It was a really rainy miserable afternoon and after braving the weather to get across London we were delighted to be tucked up inside with delicious food and wine to keep us company.
The restaurant itself is fairly formal, as you would expect of somewhere with two stars, but it didn’t feel too stuffy. This was mainly due to the fabulous staff who were very relaxed and friendly. We had an especially lovely Scottish sommelier and a very funny Maitre d’ from Lancashire. All of the staff were charming and this really added to the experience.
We went for the tasting menu with matching wines and it was a real treat. Perfectly executed food, which was a good combination of interesting, complex and comforting. The wines really sealed the deal. As as there were eight of them in total, we rolled out of the restaurant feeling really rather squiffy but certainly very happy.
Before I let you loose on the pics I must also mention the cheese. We went for it as an additional course because the trolley really did look stunning (I think you’ll agree) and we were having a marvelous time. We got into a conversation with the Maitre d’ about comte which is our favourite cheese but wasn’t present on the trolley. He wholeheartedly disagreed that comte was the king of the cheeses, favouring gruyere. We had rather a long and very pleasant debate about the two and he offered to settle this by bringing us some tasty specimens from downstairs. What a treat! Both were delicious although I must admit we remained loyal to the comte.
Something savory to pop in your mouth with a glass of champagne
Inspired bacon and onion bread
Crispy quails eggs with truffle
Chantilly of oyster with cucumber, dill and a tartare of scallops
Flame grilled mackerel with pickled vegetables,
celtic mustard and shiso
Boudin of wood pigeon and partridge with chestnut soup
and a veloute of Wiltshire truffle
Fillet of sea bass with heritage turnips and brown crab
Roast quail breast with walnut milk and pear
Saddle of roe deer with red vegetables and leaves,
bone marrow and quince
A clever take on lemon meringue for our pre-dessert
Brown sugar tart with poached grapes and stem ginger ice cream
The fabulous cheese board
The battle of the comte and gruyere
This was a really really lovely lunch and a good time was had by all. It would be perfect for a celebration and we saw plenty of people there doing just that.
9/10 from me, although it may have been higher if I’d gone on a different day, I slightly lucked out on the tasting menu as none of the dishes were ones that I would usually order.