I`ve been noticing quite a lot of hype about the Ledbury lately .The Masterchef finalists took on a service there , the food bloggers have been giving the place quite a lot of praise with some lovely photos, and Michelin awarded Ledbury a second star in their 2011 guide.I`ve been going back and forward to London on a number of occasions this year but never quite got around to dining there.This time i made sure it was going to be my first port of call on a long birthday weekend visit to the city.I would start off on the first night with the tasting menu at The Lebury , second night Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley , Dinner by Heston on the third and finish off at Galvin @windows on my last day….Wow , what a treat lay in store.
I like to do my research on the internet when it comes to eating out in London, there`s lots of bloggers and food reporters posting pics of their meals on various foodie sites on the www. I find it the best way to see exactly what i`m going to get on my plate and i can make my selection from there. Ive been following food bloggers “The CriticalCouple” for almost a year now , i really enjoy reading their posts and checking out the various high end restaurants on their website.The `CC` have been to so many London restaurants and then written up reports with lovely photos for their blog.It`s probably the best place to go to do research when selecting somewhere to eat in and around London.You know from their report exactly what`s going on at the restaurant from “the punters” perspective and the pics show exactly what`s going to be arriving on your plate. They recently had The Ledbury`s head chef `Brett Graham` over at their city apartment to cook a charity dinner and after reading their report ( Click Here ) and seeing the photos i had to give it a go for myself , i booked in for the Tasting menu.
Brett Graham, the Aussie chef leading the show at the Ledbury is cooking fantastic Modern French food using wonderful fresh , foraged and seasonal ingredients.The menus at the Ledbury change with the seasons and what`s normally available in the markets.Bretts style of cooking is classical French but with “pushed boundaries”, staple tastes and flavours matched up with the more unusual ones to create his own
unique style of cuisine.The tasting menu read through really well, looked amazing on the pics and everything sounded right up my street.
We travelled to the Ledbury by tube from our hotel in Covent garden and arrived at Ladbroke grove station.The maps all say that it`s meant to be approximately 800 metres from the station to the Ledbury. It was quite a walk to the restaurant and i had to resort to phoning them for assistance as we seemed to be walking in the opposite direction. They couldn`t suss out where we actually were and told us to “look out for a big church”….We tried again , got lost again and then phoned the restaurant ….again ,they were really helpful and explained to me…. ” sir , we`re in front of you “….. Ahhhhhhh , Okaaaaay , thank you – they waved at me laughing whilst watching me walking round in circles outside the front door. So the Ledbury is set slightly back off the road and `masked` by trees , flowers and shrubs……thats my excuse and i`m sticking to it.
The staff were warm , all smiles and very welcoming, immediately setting us at ease and ushering us straight to our table in the busy restaurant.I was in a perfect nosey position ,my back to the windows and looking out over the restaurant where i could busy body on all the other diners.I also had a little spotlight directly over my table casting out good lighting which was great for my foodie pics so my meal was off to a great start.
I was finally in the Ledbury , i`d heard all the hype , i`d seen all the pics , i`d done all the youtube clips and was really excited and ready for some of Bretts food….even better , he was right there , at the stoves and cooking that evening….Fantastic. My partner and i both opted for the Tasting menu and as usual i chose the accompanying wines to go with each course.My partner being a lightweight chose the water to compliment her food…probably the best option as she could then guide me back to our hotel safely and in one piece , especially as the London troubles had ended only days before our trip.
And so the food began to arrive and the wine started to flow.We both settled comfortably in to enjoy the show….Here`s how it went –
Little Amuse Bouche – Foie Gras tartlet with gooseberry puree and gingerbread crumb
Selection of Ledbury breads – Smoked bacon Brioche and White
Amuse Bouche -Red peach Gazpacho with frozen creme fraiche and Crab oil.
Salad of Heritage Tomatoes with Goats cheese with dried Olives and Herbs.
Flame grilled Mackerel with Celtic Mustard , Avocado and Shiso. – Probably the Ledburys most famous creation and the dish that the masterchef contestants had to cook on the programme.
Hampshire Buffalo milk curd with Saint Nectaire, Truffle toast and a broth of grilled Onions.
Close up of the little truffled toasts , a delight to eat…very slowly.
Buffalo milk curd with the broth / consomme of Onions.
Roast Brill with Smoked Eel , Radishes , Buckwheat and Borage.
Pork Jowl cooked in Spices / Liquorice / Star anise. (cooked whole then brought to the table with a little explanation on how its cooked.The Jowl ( pigs cheek ) is then taken away into the kitchen and returned on the plate as below.
Pork Jowl cooked in Spices – This is how it looks a couple of minutes later.
Roasted Breast and Confit legs of Grouse with Red leaves and vegetables,Foie gras and Cherries.
Here`s how the legs came ( confit of Grouse leg ).Not the prettiest of sights but boy did they taste superb.The little skewered balls were made with a farce of Grouse offal.
Ledbury – Pre Dessert treat -Crushed Discovery Apple with Fig Leaf Ice-cream and Olive oil.
Caramelised Banana galette with Salted caramel, passion fruit and Peanut oil Parfait.
A nice close up….. so you can almost smell it…..
Brown sugar tart with Muscat grapes and Stem Ginger ice cream.
Petits fours served with coffee.
An interior view of the table setting.
And finally……A very slow walk back.
Top marks to Brett Graham and the Ledbury team.Great food ( tasting menu was £95 for what you see above ), nice ambience , very good service , and good Sommelier (the wine to match the courses was an extra £50 ). I would definitely recommend the expereince to anyone and The Ledbury is well worthy of its 2 Michelin starred status. Top marks and thanks to all. To view all of the photos from our dinner at The Ledbury then please just CLICK HERE. cheers.
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