The Ledbury is our most memorable fine dining experience in London. And we can probably place it somewhere in our top 5 all-time. Before we go ahead and give you all the details about culinary experience, we should point out a few milestones from the recent history of the restaurant. The Ledbury occupies no.14 in World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016, the highest position for a restaurant in UK. It has 2 Michelin stars and it was awarded Best Restaurant in London 3 years in a row.
Head-chef Brett Graham is a super-star from an early age. He won Young Chef of the Year in 2002, when he was only 22.
The Ledbury opened in 2005 under his magic wand when he was 25. Before holding the kitchen at The Ledbury, Australian born chef Brett Graham was sous-chef at The Square, 2 Michelin stars restaurant.
The Ledbury got its first Michelin star after only 1 year of activity. The second one followed in 2010 and by 2011 The Ledbury was part of World’s50 Best Restaurants list.
Interiors & Atmosphere
The Ledbury is located in Nothing Hill, on Ledbury Street.
A generous dinning area of 55 seats. The interior is airy with well-spaced tables, generous windows, dark colored accents and big modern chandeliers.
Brett Graham is passionate about hunting. That explains why right above the kitchen stairs, there is a deer head on display, one of the chef’s trophies. For the same reason, the menu at The Ledbury can include a lot of game, during the season. And as far as we know, Brett is even preparing the opening of a hunting park in 2017. But we don’t have more details on the subject.
The Ledbury is open from Wednesday till Sunday for lunch and dinner, Monday&Tuesday for dinner only. The menu changes periodically. They offer one tasting menu option with 7 dishes (120 pounds) and a similar alternative for vegetarians. But they also give the option of mixing 4 dishes (one in each category) from the a la carte menu for 100 pounds. This sounds like an interesting approach for “the regulars”.
We went for the tasting menu, as we always do for the first visit. And one wine pairing to split – 7 glasses of wine at the price of 90 pounds. But by the end of the meal there were 8 glasses, as we were amazingly surprised to receive a complimentary main course along with the associated wine.
The menu at The Ledbury is more about vegetables and game. And things are changing according to the season. A popular approach among top restaurants and one we deeply appreciate.
Our culinary experience began with a series of mises en bouche: guinea fowl puffs, seaweed crisps, deer dumplings. 1. Artichokes – walnuts, marinated pear and grated foie gras This “grated foie gras” is one of the constant elements in the menu, even if from one season to another comes across different ingredients. Basically the foie gras is frozen and shredded over different great combinations of fruit and vegetables. The result is an extremely pleasant sensation on the palate.
Wine pairing: 2007 Riesling Kabinett, Joh. Jus Prum, Mosel, Germany
2. White Beetroot -baked în clay, English Caviar and Smoked Eel This is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes and also our favorite from the menu. Otherwise eel is the main ingredient of some of the most memorable plates we experienced so far. Besides this combination with white beet from The Ledbury, a special mention deserves the mille-feuille with smoked eel, foie gras and caramelized green apple from Martin Berasategui and tomato jelly with eel and red pepper sorbet from Azurmendi.
Wine pairing: 2014 Weisser Burgunder, Bunstruck, Dr. Wehrheim, Pflatz, Germany
3. Warm Bantam’s Egg – celeriac, arbois, dried ham and truffle Bantam is a rare species of birds. As the waiter who took care of our dining experience said “it’s like a small chicken, but fluffier”. And the egg-truffle-dried spanish ham combo is always a winner.
Wine pairing: 20013 Argile Blanc, St. Pierre de Soucy, Domaine des Ardoisieres, Savoie, France
4. Roast scallops – cauliflower and Bonito Butter Our second favorite dish from the tasting menu. Actually 2016 was the year of amazing scallops. With special mention for the Swedish restaurants – Faviken with scallops cooked over burning juniper branches and Gastrologik (Stockholm) with scallops, barley and linseed.
Wine pairing: 2014 Rufete, Vinas del Cambrico, Salamanca, Spain
5. Jowl of Pork – Carrot and Gooseberry jiuce, girolles and clackling Wine pairing: 2014 Lousas, Vina de Aldea, Envinate, Ribera Sacra, Spain
6. Rosted Teal – figs, red leaves and vegetables Wine pairing: 2012 Spatburgunder, Kalkmergel, Weignut Knipser, Pfalz, Germany
7. Herdwick lamb – aubergine glazed with black tea and olives We were so enthusiastic and asked so many questions to the staff, that the chef prepared this main course for us outside the tasting menu. It was a great surprise, with a wine to match. Wine pairing: 2011 Touriga National Julia Kemper, Dao, Portugal
Pre-dessert: Meadowseet custard – flozen plum juice and olive oil 8. Brown Sugar Tart, Stem ginger Ince Cream Desert wine pairing: 20YO Tawny, Graham’s, Duoro, Portugal
During the whole meal, every new dish brought to our table triggered an amazing enthusiasm. Every plate we tried was so tasty and creative that almost made us forget the high pleasure we had eating the one before. It’s a special feeling we don’t get too often.
We find the menu at The Ledbury to be tasty, vibrant, creative, balanced. A menu that stayed for a while in our memory and on our palates. And a menu that made it very difficult for us to choose some favorite dishes. Another special thing we felt here: the pronounced smell of the food. Most of the restaurants serve their menu somewhere around room temperature so the nose aroma is weak, almost imperceptible. But The Ledbury dishes come at a higher temperature and that gives them power over the only sense neglected in this kind of restaurants: the smell.
The wine pairing was perfect. Probably also because we liked the food so much. From our point of view the wine pairing is the best option to go with at The Ledbury, given the diversity in the menu. Also, it’s very good value for money.
The service is another piece of the puzzle that made the difference for us. The service is attentive without being overwhelming, professional and engaging, friendly in a very English way. About half of the front staff of is English. Quite an unusual thing in London, where the English people disregard this kind of jobs, generally leaving them open for other nationalities.
And the final plus for The Ledbury restaurant comes for sustainability & environmental friendliness. The team developed a probiotic technique that turns kitchen waste into compost, offered to guests at the end of the meal.
A special end for a special evening: visit in the kitchen. Where we had the opportunity to meet Brett and thank him personally for the amazing experience. Bonus: ice cream made out of sourdough bread. The Ledbury is definitely one of our most memorable fine dining experiences all-time. And a place we’re planning to revisit soon.
Good to know:
- You have to make the reservation with 2 months in advance, at the beginning of the month. To be more specific, is recommended to book a table in the first day of the month, if you want a a good date for dinner.
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