[image image_id=”2348″ align=”left”] Last night we dined at London’s newest two-star: The Ledbury. It was totally compelling. We were hoping to have pictures of every course to embellish a detailed review. However, in their moodily-lit dining room both our cameras failed to produce any even remotely pleasing snaps of the evening’s loveliness. Consequently, rather than subject you to a long, bleak expanse of text I’ll be brief and deal with general impressions and highlights of the meal.
We chose the tasting menu as the price was little over the a la carte choices and it had dishes we would have wanted to order anyway. All the dishes were elegantly presented on quite pleasing tableware, usually with an array of little nibbly accoutrements around the edge of each plate. Every dish was quite wonderful, intelligently prepared from the very best of ingredients; two courses really stood out for me.
Firstly, squid risotto with Sherry and cauliflower. ‘Squid risotto’ needs some explaining. It was not made with rice, but with bits of squid cut into rice-sized pieces. The texture was extremely risotto-like, but it tasted mind-expandingly brilliant. The Sherry was in the form of foam and enhanced the squiddiness no end and there were impossibly thin shavings of raw cauliflower stacked at the end of the plate. This was one of the most wonderful things I have ever eaten; a stunning, fantastic re-imagining of risotto.
The second dish which rubbed my rude bits (aren’t they rude?) was the shoulder of Pyrenean milk-fed lamb cooked for twenty-four hours with confit shallot. The half-shallot was cripsy and flavoursome but the lamb… oh the lamb… Rarely have we eaten such skilfully prepared lamb. Its texture was mesmerising, meltingly tender so it almost dissolved in your mouth releasing a rich array of captivating tastes. Quite extraordinary.
The wine list was one of the best I’ve seen in London. The mark-ups were not excessive for a two-star, each bottle being approximately double retail prices. It was certainly packed with many highly-desirable wines which were usually in the realms for affordability, and there were plenty of keenly-priced, more ordinary wines for the less rabid oenophile.
I cannot fault the service; they were charming, friendly and helpful, running the course of the meal with inconspicuous ease. It is not a large restaurant, but they seemed to have staggered the arrival times of their diners very effectively so that at no point were the staff over-whelmed. It was a relaxed, perfectly paced meal.
The Ledbury is clearly one of the top dining establishments in London, and I thought our meal there was one of the very best I’ve had not just in Town, but anywhere. As far as the cost went it once again confirmed our view that fine dining is an under-priced source of gratification. If you want inventive, compelling food with top wines in a pleasing environment you would do well to get a booking at The Ledbury.
Contact details: The Ledbury, 127 Ledbury Road, W11 2AQ. Telephone: 020 7792 9090