The Ledbury – Best. Brunch. Ever!! (London, UK)

While on a trip to London, a friend recommended The Ledbury in Notting Hill. You have to book pretty far in advance and I was lucky enough to score a brunch reservation a couple weeks prior to my arrival thanks to the same friend who recommended the place. It’s a prix fix menu and they don’t skimp on the extras. The space is immaculate and feels luxurious but not stuffy. There were three amuse bouche courses.

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The first was a game meat pate (venison or elk maybe) with jelly and dried, flavored seaweed. The pate was rich, smooth and not as gamey as you would think. The meat flavor was evident but the texture was so different it was hard to believe it was meat. Might be some of the best pate I’ve ever had. Perfectly balanced, perfect texture, rich flavor, simply perfect. The crispy seaweed, which had a complex salty flavor (I was too busy enjoying myself to try pinpoint the spices), was the perfect compliment and the jelly added a nice, well, jelly texture to the whole bite. A very small hint of sweetness but mostly for texture.

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The next amuse was a crunchy meat filled pastry (another game meat, maybe bison…definitely something beefier, maybe elk again…I’m seeing a pattern). Crisp pastry on the outside that wasn’t too thin but not too thick. Just perfect really. How they get it to this state without it flaking out at some point is truly remarkable. The game meat on the inside was warm and comforting. It is like a cross between a British sausage roll and an Asian dumpling. A delicious bite!

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The last amuse was an elk meatball. Come to think of it, maybe all the amuse bouches were elk. It was a flavor bomb of meat! Warm, rich, soft through and through, and wonderfully complex as the meat, jelly and spices swirled in your mouth. We were three amuse dishes in and I’m already insanely impressed.

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The first official appetizer was the Cany beetroot with caviar and smoked, dried eel. I couldn’t even tell it was beetroot. It was cut laser thin and had the texture of very high quality sashimi. The dried eel gave it a savory but almost seafood like flavor (which is why you could easily mistake this for sashimi) and the smoked caviar was divine! The saltiness and the smokiness was perfect with the light, smooth vegetable upgraded by the eel. Hard to pinpoint the highlight, so just it’s best to eat it all with a little bit of each ingredient in each bite.

IMG_5335.jpgThe next appetizer was the hand dived scallop ceviche with seaweed, herb oil and frozen English wasabi (laid out as the flaky powder in the picture above). The scallop was buttery, rich with a small hint of tartness but elevated by the herb oil and wasabi. The wasabi gave it a little bite while the accompanying veg added some crunchy texture.

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Along with the apps came the housemade bread with whipped butter. It reminds me of fife bread we have in Canada. Crunchy and crispy crust, rich with herb seasoning and a warm, soft inside. The whipped compound butter was so smooth, rich, soft, and easily spread over the warm bread. I could eat this every day.

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Next was a beautifully plated dish of fresh grilled cuttlefish, garlic and cracked wheat. There were soba noodles on the side, squid ink and a creamy aioli. Mixing it all together resulted in a complex and delicious bite. Creaminess, light saltiness, silky noodles, and fish. The fish was a little rubbery but the flavors were excellent!

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The next dish was the warm Bantam’s egg, celeriac, arbois, dried ham and spring truffle. This might have been one of my favorites of the meal. I love truffles and eggs which may bias my opinion but how this all works together is truly incredible. You get the richness and warmth of the Bantam egg, the saltiness and savory flavor of the ham (not to mention the crispy texture), the elevated touch of truffles and the nice crunchy texture of the celeriac. Smooth, cream, crunch, salt, savory, meat, truffle overtones and repeat. Each bite…over and over. This may be one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in my life.

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Next was the lobster wrapped in shitake mushrooms with asparagus and macadamia. The lobster is perfectly cooked, slightly sweet and the pieces melt in your mouth. The rich umami flavor of the shitake mushrooms compliment the sweetness of the lobster and the asparagus, as buttery and crunchy as anyone would hope, balances the dish out in terms of both texture and flavor (although does buttery lobster and butter asparagus balance?…maybe I just like butter).

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The main courses were heavier like the Pyrenean milk fed lamb, creamed jersey royals, mousserons cooked in earl grey and celery. The tender lamb is perfectly cooked, rich and fatty and full of flavor. The seasoning of the skin is excellent and perfectly balanced by the lighter creams and foams paired with the dish. The crispy skin also add a nice crispy texture to the soft meat and smooth textures of the cream and foam.

IMG_5341.jpgThe Iberian pork, fennel, elderflower honey and crackling is a dish for two (pictured is a single portion). It’s a small portion, but this may be the single best bite of pork I’ve had in my life. It melts in your mouth, it’s so rich and complex (just the right amount of salt, savoriness, and gravy). No fat or gristle, so it makes me wonder where they get all the rich flavor from?? Magic?! At this point of the meal I’m starting to believe in magic! The meat is incredible but the veg sides add additional texture and balance out the rich flavor of the pork. It’s perfect!

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The first dessert is the chocolate chantilly and mint. Thick morsels of rich chocolate balanced by small scoops of ice cream. Sweet, but because it was dark chocolate, not too sweet. The powdery outer layer flakes in your mouth as the soft inside melt between eat bite. If you mix it with the ice cream, the thick chocolate melds with the ice cream and forms a perfect balance of sweetness and cream.

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The last dessert was the Saulternes tart with apricot and chamomille. A wonderful, light, creamy, sponge-like cake. The jelly and fruit are sweet but this was balanced by the scoop of ice cream and creamy, spongy cake. The apricot is sweet, a little tart but balances by the creaminess of the ice cream. If you don’t like the heaviness that can come with chocolate desserts, this is perfection!

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Upon paying the bill, they brought cinnamon and sugar sticks (mini churros) and more chocolate. Rich chocolate (again dark chocolate so not too sweet) paired with sweet and spicy (cinnamon spicy) sticks. They really go over the top and out-do themselves with the service.

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They have good thinks too like the Bee pollen old fashioned. The bee pollen is a nice touch and the taste of the citrus comes through nicely, but otherwise, the old fashion is on par with other good cocktail bars.

The Ledbury is rated as one of the best restaurants in the world and I must say, it was the best meal I’ve had so far to date. The service is perfect. Friendly, attentive, helpful, and fun without being too invasive. And the food is spectacular! The flavor combinations are genius! The tastes, textures, plating, freshness of the ingredients (everything frankly) is unlike any place I’ve ever been to. This is truly a world gem in the culinary arts! If you are ever in London and are willing to splurge on a meal, this is your place!!

http://www.theledbury.com/

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~ by jlowjlow on June 10, 2017.

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