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Ledbury Review

Julie Falconer visits The Ledbury in Notting Hill to taste their famous Michelin starred fare

Published on July 7th 2011.


Ledbury Review

THE Ledbury is so understated that you might walk by every day and never know it’s there. Located on the namesake Ledbury Road in London’s famous Notting Hill, the restaurant sits on a corner several blocks north of the street’s bustling shops and restaurants.

The Ledbury’s discreet location and quiet exterior are no indication of its quality, though. Quite the contrary. The restaurant has two Michelin stars, and is known for serving some of the best cuisine in London. 

Last week I went to The Ledbury for dinner with a friend. We had a 9:15pm reservation. It was a bit on the later side, but the time slot was the only one I could get in two months of trying. The restaurant’s popularity has made it nearly impossible to get a prime reservation, but I figured that it also meant that it would be worth the wait.

It was. 

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted and taken to a table by the window. The dining room was small, and every table was packed. From round tables in the center of the dining room filled with men in banker blue shirts to small tables in low-lit corners where couples sat for romantic dinners, The Ledbury had a cross-section of diners enjoying tasting menus à la carte selections.

To start, my friend and I each ordered a glass of Bereche et Fils champagne (£11), and enjoyed the bubbly while perusing the menu. There were two options for dinner: the tasting menu or a choice of any three courses from the à la carte menu (£75). We decided to go with the second option.

As we picked out our starters and mains, a server came to our table holding a large basket of bread. This was in addition to the smaller one that had already been set on the table. I looked over the options in the big basket, and tried the malt bread. Both unique and delicious, it was also fluffy and light, and the butter that I smothered on top of it was equally tasty.

Truffle toastTruffle toast

The service was prompt and attentive. Soon after we ordered our starters, they arrived at the table. Mine was a Hampshire buffalo milk curd with Saint-Nectaire, truffle toast, and a grilled onion broth. The curd was soft and smooth, and the onion consommé was the perfect strong flavour to complement it. The truffle toast came on a small wooden board covered with little pine branches. The toast was excellent, although there was a small insect crawling around on the foliage that put a bit of a damper on the perfection of the course.

Across the table, my friend had a starter that consisted of chicken wings, white asparagus and morels. The combination was a divine mix of flavours that blended together perfectly.

Our starters were cleared promptly, and our mains arrived not long later. Mine was salmon poached in olive oil with blood orange, crab and green asparagus on toast. The fish was delicious. It was cooked just long enough to not be underdone, and the flavours were full and well-rounded. The asparagus, which was in season, was fresh and provided a nice compliment to the fish.

My friend had a dish of poached and roasted guinea fowl with rye grist, wild hop shoots and a velouté of toasted croissants. There were many different elements in her dish, and it had the potential to be too busy. However, the richness of the fowl was offset nicely by the greens, and the croissants added a lightness to the plate. It was a winner.

Salmon poached in olive oil with blood orange, crab and green asparagus on toastSalmon poached in olive oil with blood orange, crab and green asparagus on toast

During dinner we enjoyed a bottle of Jean-Baptiste Senat ‘La Nine’ Minervois from the Languedoc Roussillon region of France (£35). It was a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. Despite being on the low end of the price range of wines at The Ledbury, it was a good choice. The wine was smooth and had hints of dark fruits, and most importantly, it went well with food.

Pave of chocolate with milk pureePave of chocolate with milk puree

 

Speaking of food, our desserts came in the form of a pave of chocolate with milk purée and lovage, as well as a brown sugar tart with grapes and stem ginger ice-cream. The former was rich, decadent, and sinfully chocolatey, but had a hint of heat that wasn’t particularly to my liking. The latter was also rich, but almost too sugary. Thankfully, the ginger ice-cream provided a nice, fresh, flavourful complement that helped to offset the saccharine tart.

At the end of the meal, the manager came by our table to ask how we had enjoyed the food. It was a nice touch, particularly since we weren’t the last ones in the restaurant. As we said good-bye to him and goodnight to our server, we left The Ledbury feeling pleasantly full and happy.

The Ledbury
127 Ledbury Road
W11 2AQ 

Rating:        19/20

Breakdown: 10/10 food

                  5/5 service

                  4/5 ambience

 

Follow @aladyinlondon on Twitter!

To read more of her writing, visit her London travel blog and Europe travel website.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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Mark GarnerJuly 7th 2011.

Fab photos Julie; I want to go RFN. Would have knocked a point off for live animals as it happens, but by all the gods, these pictures are bringing tears to my eyes!

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