It may live and breathe “effortlessly smooth” old-school affluence, but Brett Graham’s über-suave two-Michelin-starred powerhouse feels more like an inclusive neighbourhood destination – albeit one with arty tortoiseshell chandeliers, leather chairs, judiciously placed mirrors and every seat “well-positioned” for maximum comfort. As a vision of white-walled chic, it’s very soothing – although one fan thinks that the whole package “takes decadence to a whole new level”.
Locals, tourists and perambulating foodies make a beeline for The Ledbury in search of brilliantly inventive, palate-challenging cuisine from a chef who cooks with extraordinary precision, authority and more than a dash of audacious brio. The kitchen’s form never dips, and the results are “simply divine” – although we always defer to the tasting menus for “superlative satisfaction”.
Our samplings are invariably top-drawer, but readers also have much to cheer about: Cumbrian veal tartare dressed with grilled artichoke oil, horseradish and a morsel of truffle-sprinkled beef fat on toast; smoked and dried eel served with clay-baked ‘candy’ beetroot and English caviar (“a masterstroke”); monkfish cleverly teamed with orange and a superb pumpkin and shellfish purée; a “sensational” sanguine-hued dish of Chinese water deer (“sourced from Norfolk”) with smoked bone marrow, pickled beetroot cream, quince and red leaves.
Meals are bookended and interspersed with a cavalcade of “little wonders”, while incredible desserts might bring brown sugar tart with stem-ginger ice cream or mara de bois strawberries partnered by rose jelly and ewe’s milk sorbet.
Service is “doting” but never suffocating, and every member of staff is “enthusiastic and well-schooled” (right down to the tiniest detail); it’s also worth consulting one of the knowledgeable sommeliers if you want to get the best from the endlessly fascinating wine list. It may be at “the top end of the scale” when it comes to price, but The Ledbury is quite simply “out of this world”.