I often declare the fact that there is not much wisdom going on in my brain. I spend my days squeezing out every last ounce of brain juice for the purposes of this thing called work, and when home time rolls around, all I can compute is the conundrums of blonde vs blonder in The Hills, because trust me, my one remaining brain cell can still topple them all.
But if there is one piece of wisdom I can impart on you all, just one… What I want, no what I need to share with you is this: if there’s one meal you’re gonna blow you cash on this year, you’d better make it The Ledbury.
It’s only been two mere months since my very first visit to The Ledbury, a visit that was so great it almost rendered me speechless. Almost. There is nothing bad I can say about the place: the food, the service, the ambience, the chef and even the Aesop toiletries they provide ~ everything is tuned to the perfect proportion of luxury mingled with the right amount of informality to make you feel at home.
So when Cara and Carly, two gorgeous Australian food bloggers here in London, decided to organise an Aussie girls night out at The Ledbury (which was no random choice; Chef Brett Graham is from the motherland), even my last struggling brain cell sat up and took note, and hastily began communications with the other dormant brain cells that controlled my appetite because we knew that this was going to be one epic meal.
And epic it was. The three of us, plus Claire and Deb, enjoyed a tailored 6-course menu (priced up at £65pp) created especially by Brett for our evening, matched with wines kindly supplied by d’Arenberg and Katnook Estate. Just keeping with the Aussie theme.
Amuse bouche: Quail egg with Jerusalem artichoke purée and shaved truffle
The amuse bouche of quail egg was a perfect start to the meal. It was small, but bursting at the seams with flavour from the truffle and artichoke purée.
Broccoli stem with natural yoghurt and Falmouth Bay prawns
in brown butter and vadouvan
Our first course was delivered to us as “broccoli on toast”, a supposedly new-ish dish from Brett Graham. A simple concept with prevailing results, the broccoli was complemented by brown butter and vadouvan, giving it a distinct curry flavour.
Hampshire buffalo milk curd with saint-nectaire, truffle toast
and a broth of grilled onions
I spent quite a bit of time ogling the plating of this dish, or rather the plate itself. Served in a hollowed out cone-shaped-thing, I was initially more impressed with the plate than the appearance of the dish. That was until I dug a spoon in and realised that OMG that there which I thought was the base of the plate was a seamless layer of buffalo milk curd! And suddenly the dish eclipsed my attention. Taste-wise, the earthy broth reminded me somewhat of the Mock Turtle Soup from The Fat Duck, which incidentally was my favourite course from that particular meal.
Root vegetables baked in salt and clay with Lardo di Colonatta,
roasting juices and hazelnuts
Our vegetable course, funnily enough with nothing green (garnish doesn’t count). Root vegetables and even some figs were snuck into this course. The celeriac were cut to look suspiciously like witchetty grubs, but we didn’t think Brett would be that mean to us and thankfully he wasn’t. Freaking out in a two Michelin starred restaurant would have been so very uncool.
Roast cod with truffle purée, cauliflower, parmesan gnocchi and sea vegetables
Fourth course, the fish. Probably the least stand out course of the night for me, but to no fault of its own. I mean, have you seen its competition? The cod was cooked faultlessly, the accompaniments (especially the parmesan gnocchi) were delicious. But it all seemed a little ordinary when compared to well, the extraordinary.
Loin of roe deer baked in Douglas fir with beetroot, bone marrow and malt
Like this course, which garnered some discussion around the table mainly because (a) I thought the sausage was a vegetable, but that’s just me, please ignore me, and (b) that piece of pale fleshy looking thing on top? We couldn’t decide if it was fat or marrow or that marrow was a type of fat. Or whatever. But as marrow or fat would have done, it melted in our mouths and paired amazing well with the venison.
(For those playing at home, the answer was marrow.)
Passionfruit jelly with cream
Pre-dessert! Everyone should have a pre-dessert everyday. A tiny little shot glass of passionfruit jelly, topped with some cream whose name I’ve forgotten (there’s a chance I never even heard it because I wasn’t paying attention). Passionfruit goes so supremely well with anything sweet, its tartness cutting through the sugar, and this too-small pre-dessert is a prime example.
Brown sugar tart with muscat grapes and stem ginger ice cream
I had this exact dessert on my last visit so I knew what goodness to expect. Some of the others thought the brown sugar tart was a little too heavy. Heavy? HAH! I scoff in the face of heavy! (fineprint: only when the “heavy” actually secretly means “brown sugar tart”). Rich brown sugar goodness, the unequivocal awesomeness of the stem ginger ice cream, and the muscat grapes – this time I knew they were going to be delicious 🙂
petit fours: earl grey macarons, white chocolate & hazelnut truffles,
dark chocolate truffles, orange jelly, elderflower marshmallow
And lastly the petit fours, washed down with a fresh mint tea. I remembered the white chocolate & hazelnut truffles from last time and pounced all over them.
Though this meal was completely self-paid, thank you Brett for designing a menu for us and thanks also goes to d’Arenberg and Katnook Estate for supplying the wines! I have to admit, I’d never had wine pairing before (because uh, half a glass and I’m out) but I sipped my way through the selection and honestly thoroughly enjoyed it.
I had such an amazing night with the Aussie girls, and thank goodness for the comfortable level of conversation happening in the dining room, otherwise with the amount of chatter and laughter coming from our table, I think our accents would have totally hijacked the place 😀
Remember, if there’s one place you should blow you pay cheque on…
127 Ledbury Road
Notting Hill, W11 2AQ
0207 792 9090