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|Address:||127 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AQ|
|Tel:||020 7792 9090|
|Price: £76.00||Wine: £30.00||Champagne: £50.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sun 12N-2pm (Sun -2.30pm) Mon-Sat 6.30-10.30pm Sun 7-10pm|
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I had picked The Ledbury for my birthday dinner, mainly because it seemed very friendly and less stuffy than some of the other places. There is no specified dresscode and it has a nice website that doesn’t just focus on the Chef but introduces the entire team. Nice touch.
That friendly impression was further reinforced when The Ledbury got into the headlines during the London riots.
Looters broke into the restaurant and started robbing the customers’ wallets, phones and wedding rings, until the kitchen staff came out with rolling pins and frying pans to scare the looters away. As it seemed the looters might come back, they then locked the customers into the wine cellar and gave them Champagne and Whisky to calm their nerves. Quite a brilliant story, I thought.
The staff were indeed very friendly. Although I have to say that a few of them had rather broken English which seemed endearing and sometimes almost comedic, but didn’t give the impression of top-notch, professional service.
Plates were removed with a very friendly but rather funny: “You like?” and the pre-dessert became a “fruit of passion with some mousse”. Mind you, it was delicious whatever they might have called it.
The décor once again wasn’t really to our taste. A bit better than at some of the other places, but still lacking style or charm.
But those are really the only slightly negative comments I can make about the place. The food was absolutely superb. Actually, the best we’ve had so far.
We had the tasting menu, with matching wines.
Every single dish was fantastic.
The ones that stood out were probably the flame grilled mackerel with avocado, Celtic mustard and shiso.
We’ve had mackerel a couple of times on the menu, last time at Le Manoir, but this one was fantastic, perfectly grilled, the avocado and shiso giving it an interesting Asian touch that was pleasantly surprising for what is often classified as a French restaurant.
“Celeriac baked in ash with Hazelnuts, wood sorrel and a Kromeski of middle white pork” already sounded very intriguing. It got even more interesting when a small perfectly baked pastry was brought to the table. Beautifully shaped with baked thyme and rosemary twigs on top. The pastry was sliced open to reveal the celeriac baked in ash. I would have happily tucked into the pastry, but it was only used to give flavour and then removed. The dish actually tasted great and was paired with a Sherry. I’m not the biggest fan of Sherry, but it absolutely worked.
Another highlight was the roasted breast and confit legs of grouse with red leaves and vegetables, foie gras and cherries. So rich, but so good. It tasted of winter and Christmas and countryside as the grouse melted away in your mouth. Beautiful.
The only slight disappointment was the dessert. Figs with milk yoghurt, fig leaf ice cream and citrus beignets. Meh. It was fine, but didn’t live up to the standard set by the rest of the menu.
The wine pairing was fantastic. We tried some beautiful wines and the Eastern European sommelier had that typical Eastern European dryness, -a bit like the girls in Harry Enfield’s Polish café – but was very friendly and knowledgeable.
And judging by the rather merry, one could even call it slightly tipsy, state in which we left the restaurant, it was actually not bad value for money.
By chance friends were sitting just a few tables away and were equally pleased with the whole experience.
The tasting menu with wines is £145 a head, so with tip the bill came to £330. I’m kind of getting used to these prices, which is a bit scary, and thought it was actually good value for money. Or at least well worth it for the exceptional food.
I want to go again.