Over the Chinese New Year period earlier this year, I had to jet off to London with Y on her work trip. As much as there was mainly work and hardly any play, we still managed to squeeze in some nice meals over our 6 days in London, including one not to be missed was revisiting Ledbury Restaurant. The last time we had dined here was back in 2011 with our fellow friends YW and AL and I remembered the food was just amazing, but the decor was unfortunately very lack lustre and old fashioned, and how we were all saying they needed to do something major with their ID. Thankfully, they have done a major renovation, and I was able to visit it this time around, with good friend CG who had just joined us in London from her busy work in Milan, and we all just couldn’t wait to dig in to some great food.
Fresh modern interiors of Ledbury, I definitely liked it way better now.
Some interesting news bites for you on Ledbury:
1. 2 Michelin Stars , one of 9 restaurants in London with 2 stars.
2. No. 10 on San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 list.
3. Chefs and waiters protected diners from rioters during the 2011 by a gang of youths, using rolling pins and any other useful dangerous kitchen tools to fend off these rioters and ushering them to the wine cellar for safety. Kudos to them for sticking up for the diners! This to me is their most interesting news bite of all!
Honestly for me, I am not for hunting down or chasing the stars or best restaurants in the world as I have often found some to be honestly not even worth those stars, but Ledbury has been one of the few restaurants that ticked every check box for me in terms of taste, flavours, complexity and accessibility in terms of food. When I say accessibility is I find sometimes I go to some restaurants who try too hard in their food that I don’t end up enjoying the food or find it memorable.
As it was a Sunday, they availed only the tasting menu, which was perfect for us anyway. After a comparison between CG’s vegetarian menu and my balanced menu of greens, fish and meat, I had to say her vegetarian menu looked quite interesting and compelling as well.
My sunday tasting menu.
CG’s vegetarian menu.
The dinner was well paced and before long, we were served some appetizers to start the tasting – beginning with the seaweed crisp with smoked mussel while CG had the seaweed crisp with artichoke puree, on twig. I loved how both were presented, and with the bell jar on our table with some ferns and plants, looked a perfect image of nature at its best. I think pictures tell a thousand words, and I won’t need to elaborate much on the dishes, for you to imagine how good they were. I have included the more memorable dishes in the list below.
Next was a muntjac dumpling served on a bed of rosemary, and vacheron cheese with cauliflower brioche. The tasting menu has not even started yet, and am already so excited about the meal!
The roscoff onion was one of my favourites, simple but was so pleasantly fragrant. The onion was sweet and tender and served with, black truffle with just enough hints of earl grey tea. I was trying to resist the sourdough bread that had just been served at our table at this point.
Fillet of Seabass.
After having the fillet of seabass, which was nice but I think the highlight was the aged pigeon, served with tender pieces of rhubarb. This felt a bit like a typical wintry dish of game meat paired with root vegetables, but the pigeon done delicately, seemed to suit the end of winter and coming of spring, and paired with the various sweet rhubarb pieces was just heavenly.
Next was our lovely desserts, of course there’s always 2 at least followed by some petit fours at the end. I was glad I wasn’t too full and still had some tummy space to enjoy our sweet finale. CG’s dessert was mango sorbet and blood orange since she doesn’t take dairy, while mine was a honey cream with frozen milk and meringue, both so wonderfully delicate and light but refreshing. What followed the desserts were some petit fours which honestly were more like desserts still to me as they weren’t just the typical financier, or dark chocolate pieces that one may usually get after a dinner. There was a beautiful round yuzu with white chocolate ball served on a bed of crumbly buttery flakes that resembled corn flakes , and on its side was a macadamia biscuit with lime. At the end to enjoy with my coffee was a gin stick that resembled a cigar roll or ‘love letter’ (popular Chinese New Year cookie), filled with gin-flavoured cream.
I am glad I made this visit with Y to Ledbury Restaurant and it’s cemented why it’s still in my top 10 list of best restaurants I have been to by far. The food was outstandingly good, creative, great technique, and well balanced without trying too hard. A good thing we remembered to take pictures this time as the joke is we were so enjoying our food last time in 2011, we gobbled down everything before we even had a chance to snap the picture!