★ The Ledbury, London

The Ledbury is the other restaurant on our To-Eat list for our London trip cos they are #10 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant 2014 and they are also a 2 Michelin star restaurant. Unlike many of the other famous restaurants located in the bustling shopping area or in some posh hotels, the location of this restaurant wasn’t easily accessible. It’s a 10 mins walk that cuts across the neighbourhood from Westbourne Park station. Thankfully we had our GPS with us and didn’t lose our way as there wasn’t any significant landmark that we can rely on to guide us to the place. The restaurant seemed to be nestled in a residential estate as we walked past rows after rows of houses with few pedestrians on a weekday afternoon. Relieved when we finally arrived at the gate of the restaurant and surprised when we entered the dining hall to see that the place was almost full.

The dining hall was simple yet elegant, with soft daylight entering through the windows – though spotlights still needed to brighten the room. We originally wanted to go for the set lunch but realised that some of the signature dishes weren’t in there. After checking with the staff, they confirmed that it is ok for each of us to have different menus – one person having the set lunch, another having the ala carte menu. Somehow I had the impression from some restaurants (usually in Asia) with rules that the whole party has to order from the same menu (perhaps only for tasting menu?). Its good that such rigid rules weren’t practised here, the flexibility to choose from different menus enabled us to try more variety of dishes.

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Started with bite-sized amuse bouche and I was immediately drawn to the incorporation of ‘nature’ theme in the presentation of the dishes. First amuse bouche was muntjac dumpling with fruit mustard, followed by foie gras with jelly and oyster with seaweed crisp. The dumpling had a lightly fried surface but a chewy firm interior, texture was akin to takoyaki (Japanese snack). The second dish had puff like texture with a light and creamy foie gras filling. Last item featured a crunchy cracker with mild umami of the mollusc.

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First course from the set lunch menu (we opted for wine pairing as well) was Langoustine Royale Vinaigrette of Barley and Basil paired with 2012 Etna Bianco, Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Sicily, Italy. Diced langoustine was al-dente, mixed in the chewy barley and slightly creamy sauce. Wonderful textures in each mouthful.

Chantilly of Oyster Tartare of Scallops and Frozen English Wasabi A delightful and refreshing starter using fresh scallops, lightly flavoured with hints of wasabi resulting in mild prickly sensation when eating this dish.

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Steamed Cornish Cod Jerusalem Artichoke and a Cream of Anchovy paired with 2013 Assyrtiko, Estate Argyros, Santorini, Greece Almost every winter when I travel overseas and ate at some of the fine establishments, the jerusalem artichoke never fail to turn up on the menu. I guess its one of the winter vegetables that is harvested during the season. Luckily I do enjoy the unique flavour of jerusalem artichoke for its nutty and earthy taste.  The cod was firm and flaky, goes well with the rich creamy sauce.

When the sommelier introduced the pairing wine from Greece, I was pretty excited. It’s the first time I get to taste wine from that region. I’ve read about grapes grown there and some are known to have a strong mineral aftertaste. The sommelier assured me that the Assyrtiko is made from a grape indigenous to the island of Santorini and would be palatable to me. I found it crisp and dry, while still having hints of mineral taste – though its largely acceptable.

Flame Grilled Mackerel Pickled Cucumber, Celtic Mustard and Shiso This dish’s luring smoky aroma had our eyes set on it the moment it was served. The crispy skin covered with a tint of glistening oil, crackled as we sliced it with our knive. The fish meat was firm and had a mild char-taste which was excellent. The pickled cucumber helped to negate the richness of the fish.

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The proteins came next, with Red Ruby Beef Short Rib, Celeriac, Abalone Mushroom and Crisp Potato paired with 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine Biscarelle, Rhone, France and Jowl of Pork Parsnip Butter, Trompettes and Black Truffle.

Personally I prefer eating beef than pork, but I could tell that Pork is the more common choice when dining in London (other than the obvious choice of Lamb). In fact one local guide raved about how wonderful free-range pork taste over the pigs raised in confined farms. However between the 2 dishes, I enjoyed the beef more for its juiciness and tenderness. Perhaps I’m not used to tasting the original pork flavour as usually in Chinese cuisine, the pork taste is often masked after braising/basking with thick flavourful gravy.

For desserts we had Warm Malt Cake Caramelised Pear, Walnut and Prune paired with 1985 Rive saltes Ambre, VDN, Antic Consolation, Tramontane Wines, France and Pavé of Chocolate Vanilla and Clementine Leaf Ice Cream.  Having had more than our usual dose of caffeine in the morning due to the cafe-hopping, we didn’t order any to go with the petit fours.

Ended our meal at close to 4pm, a lunch totalling 2.5 hours~ But I did enjoy every minute of it at the place. It definitely goes into my list of memorable dining experiences =)

Our original plan was to take a lovely leisurely post-meal stroll along Regent’s Canal to burn some calories and aid digestion, but it turned into a slight rush to get to Little Venice before sunset…All becos…I was so engrossed in telling the sommelier how much we enjoyed that meal that I forgot about my backpack!!! It’s embarrassing but admittedly I only realised that I left my backpack at the restaurant’s cloakroom 30 mins later! Nonetheless we managed to capture the sunset moment at the picturesque canal.Little Venice_01Other Related Posts:

 

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This entry was posted in ★ Michelin Star Restaurant, England, French, Restaurant, World's Top 50 Restaurant and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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