The Ledbury (2), Notting Hill

http://www.theledbury.com

127 Ledbury Road, London  UK W11 2AQ

Our final meal in the UK before boarding the plane back to Sydney. It was also my birthday. A return trip to The Ledbury was on the cards. They were accommodating enough to accept Nina (they’d probably seen a picture), but we had a kind relative who was happy to take her for the afternoon. It made for a very relaxing few hours together.

I was interested to see how The Ledbury has changed since my last visit 18 months ago. It’s reputation has certainly grown over that time. Unfortunately we didn’t really have enough time to dwell over the tasting menu, so we opt for the A la carte.

We start with a foie tartlet – good, creamy & rich.

The bread rolls as before – bacon brioche (never going to fail) and a decent sourdough.

Drinks-wise I can’t resist a gin & tonic, followed by a decent red. An interesting wine experience. I ask the sommelier to make the decision for us in a rough price range. He just brings his chosen bottle of Chianti and that’s it. No more choice or mention of price. He knows his stuff. It was lovely.

To begin my wife opts for Buffalo Milk Curd with Saint-Nectaire, Truffle Toast and a Broth of Grilled Onions

Not a list of ingredients to inspire, but everything about this dish is perfect from the presentation, to the swoon inducing creaminess, acidity and sweetness and then there’s the fir truffle toast. It is Autumn on a plate and should not be missed. Plate envy

Not that I have anything to complain about: Breast and Leg of Partridge with Chestnuts, Iberian Ham and Chanterelle

Again nailing the autumn theme it’s meaty and foresty with good nutty and woody tastes. A real boys starter.

Despite not always being the greatest fan of truffle, Vanessa wasn’t about to give up her truffle toast. I asked for a slice of my own. It was no trouble.

Two of the best starters we’d had all year had put us in terrific spirits and then a complimentary dish from the kitchen arrived:

Flame Grilled Mackerel with Smoked Eel, Celtic Mustard and Shiso

A house speciality of sorts – the fresh and oily mackeral with a gorgeous crust with more meatiness from the eel bolstering the dish. Shiso provided the balance and freshness. A beautifully simple dish.

And on to the mains – from partridge to Roasted Breast and Confit Legs of Pigeon with Red Leaves and Vegetables, Foie Gras and Plums

Over-dosing a little on the ‘game’ in London, but you don’t get this kind of quality in Australia. The presentation was a car accident, but not in a bad way. Plums and beetroot provided anger against the rare breast strewn across the plate. Little cubes of foie gras were sought out amongst it all.

A side plate of roasted legs and offal on a liquorice skewer made this a seriously hefty main. Delicious.

Vanessa hit pay-dirt again with Native Lobster with Broccoli Stem, Natural Yoghurt and Indian Spices in Brown Butter

Another generous plate of food. I normally consider it a sin to have lobster anything but naturally with butter, but there was a very steady hand here that lifted the dish with indian spices. Very British…. The broccoli were just stem with shavings as the florets. Again a dish that could not be faulted.

And so on to desserts…..I had agreed to order the souffle and tried to change my mind to the banana galette. I was convinced otherwise in front of our waiter….

The passion fruit souffle

As we’d had before sharp and sweet with the cream providing much needed contrast.

A mille-feuille special.

Decent, all about the pastry and pretty fine

And a third dessert – Banana Galette with Salted Caramel,
Passion Fruit and Peanut Oil Parfait. They sympathised with the birthday boy…

banana, salted caramel, peanuts all good.

We finish with some delightful petit fours and of course a double espresso.

Our last meal back in the UK and one of our best. The confidence is clear to see and it comes through in an easy style that creates good bonhomie. It speaks volumes about the staff. The food for the most partis  exceptional. The only critique being the desserts that were unchanged from my previous vist and actually a little pedestrian. But what made a lasting impression was the generosity. You’re spending a fair amount, but it’s the little things that make a difference – truffle toast at no cost, no problem. The dessert that was really wanted. It all adds up to a terrific meal. One of Londons must-go-to restaurants.

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