Sublime Sophistication at The Ledbury (2* Michelin, London, UK)
The Ledbury was one of my favorite meals in London. Not just because this is in a beautiful neighborhood of Notting Hill, a two-starred Michelin restaurant, and World’s 50 Best Restaurants (#13 in 2013), under the helm of Brett Graham, being surrounded by the well-to-do, ladies who lunch, and a large round table of wine pros having a serious wine lunch, but because I finally had the pleasure to meet and have lunch with my good Flickr friend, Werner.
We greeted each other with warm smiles, and exchange of hugs like an old friend who you haven’t seen in ages. We opted for the set lunch of four courses (£45 per person; $75.28, under the current rate of £1 = $1.67 US dollar) and a pleasantly dry, citrusy glass of Australian Riesling from Crawford River (£13).
Our amuse bouches came out in beautifully delicate, nature inspired plates that held equally delicate looking amuses. The black branches that held up thin rails of seaweed dotted with trout cream and trout roe were ethereal in texture, save for the subtle crispness of the seaweed, but the trout flavor peaked as much that it doesn’t overtake the umami flavor of the seaweed. Oceany but not fishy and ever so delicate. The little rounds of seaweed crackers filled with cream cheese, and small tufts of shredded Parmesan was delightful teases of savory and the cubes of crisp potato croquettes were unworldly crisp yet its potato interior was so light.
We were then presented their selection of fresh baked breads (served warm) that would be a carb lovers’ dream. Our choices that day were bacon onion brioche (the ones rolled in a swirl), a tangy, whole wheat sourdough, and a multi-grain roll served with incredibly rich English butter.
The first course of hand picked crab, celery, brown crab and oyster leaves was good. Sweet brown crab meat mingled in a light dressing but maybe a bit too much dressing on the plate that it hindered the oyster leaves’ delicate flavor.
We adored the second course of early spring morels poached in Earl Grey tea, creamed Jersey Royals, bacon and wild herbs. The earthy, aromatic fungus set in a small pool of silky, Jersey Royal potato purée and wild herb emulsion to lighten up the flavors. The bacon added some delicious smoky depth and a touch of crunch.
The main course of short rib of Red Ruby Beef with salt baked turnips, grilled onion and English wasabi was my favorite preparation of short rib by far. The kitchen has rendered the short rib perfectly that it tastes lean on the palate. (Short rib is typically a very fatty cut of beef.) The beef still yields to the touch of the fork and melts in the mouth. It worked wonderfully with the turnips and the sweet petals of grilled onions.
Our desserts arrived in elegant plates placed with large quenelles of black currant ice cream, topped in shards of lovage meringues and dollops of apples crushed in olive oil and a small plate of fresh doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar and filled with black currant jam. The ice cream was sublimely creamy yet had fresh tartness of the black currants. The lovage meringues gave it a crispy texture with an herbaceous, celery-like zing to the ice cream while the apples in olive oil gave it a subtle sweetness.The miniature doughnuts were served warm and we adored its lightness and the jam was intensely fruity and tart.
With our bellies filled with excellent, sophisticated food and our time was running short since I had to run to another appointment (I had an ambitious schedule while in London), our check paid off (thank you, Werner for picking up my end) and we made plans to meet again later on the weekend.
*The photo of Tower Bridge found at the beginning of this post was just to show one of my photos of London. It is not near Notting Hill where this restaurant is located.
To view more photos of this visit, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:
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127 Ledbury Road
London W11 2AQ
Phone: +44 20 7792 9090
2* Michelin restaurant (2014)
San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants (#13 in 2013)