Cuisine: French, Modern European
Location: UK, London – Notting Hill
As part of my travelling and taking in the sights, I definitely needed to take in some good food. After doing some research I decided to make a dinner reservation many months in advance and chose The Ledbury, headed by Aussie chef, Brett Graham. The restaurant takes it’s name from the location: 127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill (yes, Notting Hill is the same location of the famed movie with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts). It terms of fine dining, the restaurant which started in 2005 already has 2 Michelin stars and is the 13th ranked restaurant in the world in the 2013 listing. Quite an accolade, I have never dined at a world ranked restaurant but there’s a first time for everything.
I caught the tube to Notting Hill station and then had a leisurely walk to the restaurant which took about 10 minutes. I arrived early and had a walk around the area. The restaurant is situated amongst residential area but when you get to the corner, you shouldn’t miss it. I walked in and was warmly greeted and taken to my table. The interior is very pleasant, smart, modern, but not overstated.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner and they also carry a degustation. There’s the al a carte menu to choose from, or, as I did, you can opt for the £80 for 3 courses but you get a lot more than just 3 courses. From the moment I walked in and throughout the night, the service was highly professional, friendly, faultless.
The meal started off with black squid ink crisp with a lovely creamy mayo & turbot roe, fennel fronds and apple jelly. Yum!
Freshly baked out of the oven sliced sourdough bread with soft butter was then served. Love the grainy and seed filled bread.
I was then offered bacon caramelised onion brioche – delicious flaky pastry with just a hint of saltiness of the ham.
They did come around again with a second serve but I declined. Despite the delicious bread, I must save myself for what’s to come.
Cold asparagus & courgette soup with lobster & roe – a creamy mixture with an aftertaste of the courgette. Fantastic combination of flavours with the lobster, oil, and roe.
Course #1 – Steamed White Asparagus, Duck Ham, Morel Mushrooms
I loved the steamed white asparagus in it’s delicious sauce. The duck ham tasted like a very mild bacon and provided the right balance of salt. The morel mushrooms stuffed with a pea mixture was very earthy. Excellent flavour pairing.
Even though this was predominantly a vegetarian dish, I really liked the flavours, the sauce, to lift what might be boring vegetables into something else.
Turbot, Mushrooms, Green Asparagus
They also brought me another surprise course of turbot upon a bed of mushrooms with green asparagus in a foam. The fish, turbot, is unique, meaty but not fishy nor dense. It was full of flavour like a sponge that absorbed the butter & white wine. So delicious & juicy. I also loved the asparagus steamed perfectly but still holding firm. That foam was amazing too!
Course #2 – Jowl of Pork
Jowl of pork which is the part covering the cheek. I can’t say I’ve eaten pork which tasted this good. How is it possible for pork to taste this good? The pork is cooked in it’s own fat with licorice and star anise. The crackling is removed, the elements further cooked before being finally presented. The crackling is crunchy but not overly salty. The fat underneath the skin is left on the pork but is so soft and rendered it just blends into the succulent juicy pork. The tender but not intense apricot flavour works well with pork but I also loved the aniseed reduction providing a slight Asian sweet flavour to
the pork. What a knockout dish!
Wild strawberry, ewe’s yoghurt, and iced Sicily which is a herb giving an aniseed flavour. Wow! Love the iced Sicily which is so refreshing and the yoghurt with wild strawberry and strawberry puree is fantastic as a pre desert dish.
Course #3 – Dessert: Passionfruit Souffle
Passionfruit souffle with sauternes ice cream. Wow! It has risen out of the ramekin but one spoonful of light airiness and your taste buds are singing. That ice cream is delicious and the souffle has enough passionfruit flavour without being too sweet. What a fantastic dessert to finish off an absolutely delicious meal!
After Dinner Treats
Blood orange, juniper, dark chocolate. I thought they stopped but they just keep on feeding me. Some lovely little items to finish off.
The Ledbury Food Review Summary
Verdict: My first time to a world ranked and Michelin starred restaurant, I loved every moment of my dining experience. Not sure if because I’m an Aussie I got slightly special treatment given the restaurant is run by Aussie chef, Brett Graham, but the dining experience from the fantastic service in a wonderful setting, the quiet, reserved, and classy ambience, topped by delicious food made for a wonderful night, worth every cent. I also found the service warm and affable, not just cold and professional. The highlight in food terms was the pork jowl. I did eat something a little similar (using veal) in Paris, but I have never eaten anything which made pork taste so good. The different level of flavours and textures of the dish were brilliant and all elements, not just in this dish, but every dish I ate, just sang in harmony. I was also impressed with the first course which was predominately vegetarian, yet packed so much flavour, it didn’t really make you miss meat. The dessert was another highlight of the night. I’ve made souffles at home but never eaten one at a restaurant. The passionfruit souffle presented to me was superb. Light, airy, with just enough sweetness and passionfruit flavour, a superbly balanced dish. I was very impressed and rated this amongst one of the top fine dining experiences of my 6 week holiday. I would easily go back again in a heartbeat, if only I didn’t have to travel across the other side of the world. Memorable.
Price: Expensive (~$150 AUD, $1 AUD = £0.6 Pound)
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
The Ledbury Restaurant Details
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