Once we entered, we were pleasantly greeted by the front door receptionists, who immediately offered to take our coats. We were led to a table in the corner of the restaurant. The interior was pleasing to the eye, with the faint luster of the central chandelier casting a mellow light onto the beige walls. The seats were extremely comfortable and we were offered drinks as soon as we sat down. Just after the drinks arrived, we were given a small plate of canapes. This was a foie gras parfait on a ginger nut biscuit. Though it sounded like a strange combination, it worked extremely well, with the crunch of the biscuit complimenting the smoothness of the foie gras. A good first impression and first impressions can sometimes be lasting ones.
We were then offered bread by a quiet but pleasant waitress. We were all seduced by the sound of onion and bacon bread and so all chose it. It was quite unique, a swirl of soft, warm bread with sweet, dark caramelized onions and a small piece of bacon would tantalize your taste buds with every bite. We then ordered our starters and main courses. Both my dad and brother ordered the foie gras terrine with cooked apple sauce and raw apple, while I chose a ceviche of scallops with frozen horseradish, seaweed and herb oil. We didn't have to wait long for our starters and we were all impressed by the elegance of the dishes. My scallop dish was delicious and seemed to be a deconstruction of a sushi. The scallops gave a fishy flavour, the horseradish replicated the taste of wasabi, the seaweed sauce also resembled the flavour of the seaweed used in some sushi and there were tiny translucent spheres concealed under the scallops. These burst in the mouth, giving the whole dish an entirely new texture, and showed similarities to caviar. The terrine was perfectly cooked with a delightful, silky texture and lovely flavour. I usually assosciate foie gras with grape chutney. However, to my surprise, the apple sauce went extremely well with the terrine.
|Ceviche of scallops|
|Foie gras terrine|
Our main courses followed shortly afterwards. My dad and I had both chosen Sika deer with beetroot, crisp potatoes, bone marrow and malt. My brother chose the roast breast and confit leg of pigeon with an onion tart and liquorice. The deer was cooked to perfection and the beetroot went very well with it. The crisp potatoes were arranged in an almost perfectly straight line and thoughout the line, they became crispier and crispier, forming a spectrum of colour and texture. The dish also came with a venison sausage, which was fabulous. Unexpectedly, the two chunks of beetroot were topped with two small globules of fat from the deer, which made the dish even more exciting. My only criticism of the dish was that the small amount of bone marrow and malt in the form of a puree added nothing whatsoever to this incredible dish. As the main courses came in, we were suddenly greeted by a splendid smoky aroma. This turned out to be my brother's pigeon dish. The dish was well presented and, according to my brother, tasted divine. He was especially impressed by the confit legs, which came on a separate plate to the breast and had been smoked on a bed of fennel.
The coup de grace was definitely the dessert. We were disappointed to see that the dessert that attracted us most, the caramelized clementine souffle with clementine leaf ice cream, was only available to those who had chosen the set lunch menu, which we had not. However, the waitress was kind enough to take our request to have the souffle to the kitchen and our order was accepted. As the souffles arrived, a divine scent drifted through the air. The waitress took a scoop of ice cream and plunged it gently into each souffle. The souffle was simply delicious. It was not too sweet and the ice cream not only gave it a faint tangy flavour, but also gave the whole dish a smoother texture. As well as this, the caramelized edge contrasted with the ice cream and the souffle, giving it a slightly crystalline feel.
|Souffle with clementine leaf ice cream|
We then ordered coffee and petit fours. We were rather surprised by the rustic appearance of the petit fours. Instead of being served on a pristine plate, they were presented in what appeared to be a decrepit biscuit tin, and lay on a bed of crushed cocoa beans. The tin lid had smudges all over it and we were all slightly put off. Unlike the rest of the meal, the petit fours were unspectacular, which was a minor drawback to a fantastic meal.
Food quality 9/10
Food presentation 8/10
Value for money 9/10
Overall 44/50: Outstanding
An absolutely incredible meal and a wonderful day out. The staff were polite, cheery and helpful, the food was stunning, the entire restaurant had a mellow aura and the presentation niggles of the petit fours was the only thing stopping The Ledbury from getting a higher score. This restaurant is amazing and it should be considered ludicrous not to dine there at least once. Other two Michelin Star restaurants should be warned; the bar has been set extremely high.
127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7792 9090
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7792 9191
Author - CT
Photographer - DT