Review of 'The Ledbury'

ASCII���User comments The Ledbury is known as the “best restaurant in London” so when it came down to deciding where we should have our fifth anniversary meal I decided this would be a good choice. I decided on having a relaxing lunch where time would not be any problems so we could relax and enjoy the experience.

The Ledbury is located in an out-of-the-way residential area of Notting Hill. Public transport is not easy as the nearest tube station is about half a kilometre away and driving is difficult as there is no valet service and no parking. The preferred way of getting there is probably taking a taxi (and the staff will call one for you if needed when you leave).

The minimalist black exterior gives way to an equally simple but elegant interior. It is quite small with only 20 or so tables. The large windows let in light but the harsh interior decorations mean it does get quite noisy and indeed, if anything, this is my only complaint. The tables are simply covered with white linen and the chairs are deep and comfortable. The tables are fairly close to one another and during the meal I did have the staff occasionally bump into the back of mine.

The food was amazing…so let's talk about it. The lunch menu had three options: The tasting menu (8 courses, £115 per person or £195 with matching wines), a lunch “a la carte” menu (4 courses, £85 per person or £125 with matching wines) and the lunch “set” menu (four courses, £50 per person or £90 with matching wines). All menus come with a surcharge of £10 for the cheese trolley (or £15 as a complete course) which we saw was quite well appointed though not as extensive as we recall at other restaurants. The wine menu, for those interested, is extensive and very impressive.

We decided to go for the “a la carte” menu as it had a number of interesting looking dishes we wanted to try (though I still kind of think it would be good to try the tasting menu at least on our next visit). Before our appetisers arrived we were given three small morsels of wonderfulness to start with (for example, a puffed pastry topped with a “meat” jelly and filled with a savoury cream filling; seaweed crisps topped with a fish-based dot of cream). For our first course I had the “Hand Dived Scallops, Ceviche, Shaved Turnip, [English] Horseradish and Sorrel” which arrived at the table in the middle of a large black plate. The scallops were finely sliced and had a pile of powder that I am assuming was the horseradish. Though tiny the dish packed a big punch for flavour but surprisingly it was not the horseradish that packing the punch, that was just a lovely hint of the flavour but none of the fierce heat you might expect. For our second course we both had the “Lobster Wrapped in Shiitake Mushrooms with Roast Cauliflower” that was delicious - The lobster was sweet and firm with the musty mushroom flavour wonderfully balanced. The cauliflower was only faintly browned, cooked to a perfect aldente with a slight nutty aftertaste. At this point we were brought slices of whole wheat sourdough bread served with goat milk butter - Nicely sour with a perfectly springy texture and the butter adding a slightly goat's cheese flavour (as you might expect). I had to have a second helping of the bread and butter…

For our main course I had the “Roast Pigeon with Pickled Beetroot with the Sweetbreads Skewered on the Side” - Pigeon cooked absolutely perfectly (red) and the beetroot offering a lovely sweet, but not too sweet, flavour to accompany it. My companion had the “Belted Galloway Beef” which was served two ways - Stewed as well as simply pan seared - Wonderfully flavourful and slightly gamey.

After a bit of thought and the recommendation of our waiter I decided to have the “Brown Sugar Tart, Stem Ginger Ice Cream” for dessert. Simply incredible with a crunchy thin gingerbread-like top with a gorgeous cream filling and a firm base. The ice cream added a perfect note of ginger but not too strong in any way. Texture and flavour were here in abundance. My companion had the “Richmond Park Honey, Buffalo Milk, Bee Pollen and Mead” which was quite good - Lovely taste of honey but not too sweet.

While we had coffee at the end of the meal another surprise as we were presented with further delightful little taste explosions including a small crunchy ball of pastry with mince meat ice-cream inside and “juniper” sticks (a thin crunchy stick with a caramel interior). Wow. What a way to end. Delicious combinations of flavour.

I guess this is a summary of the food: Everything cooked perfectly and the flavours delightfully balanced. Sauces present in every dish are not strong and are in just the right quantity. Nothing here assaulted our taste buds.

The service was really good with our glasses of sparkling water always being filled soon after having a sip (noting that we were not even charged for this - as it should be for “house” sparkling). The staff were friendly, helpful and relaxed yet professional at all times. On our way out the door we had a bit of a chat about our Christmas plans - They seemed genuinely interested in hearing from us.

Not for nothing are they considered the “Best in London”. I can't really argue with this (excepting the slight quibble with the noisy ambiance). Yes, it is a bit on the pricey side but try comparing it to similar restaurants and I think you will find it is actually quite reasonable, if not completely remarkable, for this calibre of restaurant.

Rating:

Review Date: 2015-12-20


Cuisine: American/British

Address: 127 Ledbury Rd, London W11 2AQ

Public Transport: TUBE Westbourne Park TUBE Notting Hill

Location: London (England) - Notting Hill

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7792 9090

URL: http://www.theledbury.com/