9 March 2014

Return to The Ledbury

My brother was over for his annual trade expo in London, but as I had plenty of notice I managed to get a table at The Ledbury on a Friday night, no small feat. On Friday and Saturday you have a choice of 2 tasting menu's, and we opted for the  one with an extra course with a few substitutions.

We spent some time choosing a bottle of white, and the sommelier had it spot on with his selection,  a demi-sec perfectly sweet enough for my taste, a Vouvray Le Mont, Domaine Hu√ęt from 2009.

There was a good selection of bread, with a small seeded loaf placed on the table and a choice of breads from a basket, including their excellent bacon and onion brioche.

Our first course was an artichoke and grape salad, with desiccated foie gras, a nice fresh start to the meal, with particulary nice Sauternes grapes.  Next up, a really fine dish of baked crapaudine beetroot, beetroot crisp, black olives with a slither of smoked eel. Crapaudine are particularly fragrant beetroots with a delicate flavour, and were fantastic combined with the smokey rich eel.

Following this was one of The Ledbury classics, flame torched mackerel with shiso, celtic mustard and cucumber. I love this dish, and was just as good as previously. We followed this with another classic, the buffalo curd and onion broth with the awesome bechamel and truffle cheese on toast. This is so good I really wanted my brother to try it and they were more than willing to substitute a quail egg and truffle dish for this so we could. The cheese on toast was fabulous, i could eat a whole plate of it alone, it's as perfect as anything could be.

We followed this with a fantastic scallop dish, the scallop served with seaweed slices, cauliflower and a beautiful buttery foam. Soon after we were presented with the whole pork jowl, slow cooked for hour and finished with a selection of spices. When plated, the crackling was turned into a crumb and sprinkled on top of the pork and served with slices of apple and hazelnuts. The crackling and pork were a fabulous combination, soft, rich and unctuous.

The best was saved until last, a fillet of beef, served with smoked bone marrow, crispy potato and salt baked ash covered celeriac. This was seriously good, every element in harmony and packed with flavour. My brother finished his off in seconds, and spent the rest of the time jealously eyeing up my plate, drooling and trying to persuade me to share the rest. Not a chance.

Pre-dessert was a blood orange granita and clove yoghurt, with the balance of clove just right as its an ingredient that can overpower so easily. Dessert itself was a replacement for the chocolate and banana tart, as my brother is avoiding gluten (yeah, yeah, yeah I know). A citrus brulee was topped with a quenelle of apple and a lovage puree, a deceptively simple dish that worked really well, especially the citrus flavours in the brulee, which managed to be flavourful without being acidic. I'm a big fan of lovage too, an aromatic kick that blended with the sugary crisp and brulee so well.

We finished with coffees and petit fours and left with the knowledge that this time, we certainly made the right choice on choosing the some of best food London has to offer. A perfect meal.

Salad of Violet and Chinese Artichokes with Hazelnuts, Grapes and Grated Foie Gras.

Crapaudine Beetroot Baked in Clay with Smoked Eel and Dried Olives.

Flame Grilled Mackerel with Pickled Cucumber, Celtic Mustard and Shiso.

Hampshire Buffalo Milk Curd with Aged Comte, Truffle Toast and a Broth of Grilled Onions.

Scallop with Seaweed and Cauliflower.

Jowl of Pork with Apple, Hazelnuts.

Fillet of Belted Galloway Beef with Celeriac Baked in Juniper, Bone Marrow and Crisp Potato

Clove Yoghurt with Blood Orange Granita.

Citrus Brulee with Apple and Lovage.

The Ledbury

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