A restaurant in the World Top 50, scored highly by Andy Hayler, and awarded two Michelin stars… expectations were high for The Ledbury.
We had some snacks to begin, presented on the fancy restaurant standard ‘natural material’ like coral and rocks. The crispy seaweed cracker topped with smooth mussel cream and salty caviar was delicious. The second snack of guinea foul with mead was a good flavour combination but the pastry had a strong floury taste.
Next were dumplings with deer, pine, and mustard fruit. The warm meatiness was reminiscent of the rabbit with lovage they serve at Fera, and I like both very much.
Then we had beautifully presented mackerel with subtle avocado mayonnaise and some of the best cucumbers I’ve had – marinated yet still slightly crunchy – topped with a nutty sushi leaf lending earthiness to the dish.
Eel smoked at two different temperatures on apple and beechwood was topped with finely sliced clay baked clay baked mild white beetroot, garlic Chantilly and caviar salt.
Can one really go wrong with poached egg, dried ham and generous shavings of fresh perigord truffle? “No, never” is the answer.
For the next course, roast scallop was complimented with tasty baked cauliflower, soft hake jowl and the delicate sweetness of honey butter.
The final appetiser was chicken oyster, with King oyster mushrooms and mushroom cream, with garlic flowers and garlic oil. Being mushroom fans, this was a definite favourite, earthy, brothy with balanced garlic and seasoning.
The main course was tender pink neck and shoulder of lamb perfectly balanced with salty vegetables, sweet ricotta and a drizzle of gravy and paired with a 2009 Roussanne from California.
For dessert we had passion fruit curd, clementine and beignet followed by a brown sugar tart with stem ginger ice cream… I think someone in the kitchen may have been to Square – I have a photo of a very similar dessert we had there below, can you tell which is which?
Overall the food was really good but the ambience was a bit bizarre. The service was highly personable, and yet in personal. We answered the question ‘what brought us to the Ledbury tonight’ several times, and began to give varying ridiculous answers just for fun. These restaurants are lacking intimacy. MD took issue with the chairs.