- Visit Date: 10th September 2022
- Restaurant: The Ledbury
- Address: 127 Ledbury Road, London, W11 2AQ
- Tom Spenceley: @thomspencechef
The Ledbury is BACK. The difference is huge from where it was when I came for my mymuybueno Chefs Table back in March, and a reminder how one really shouldn’t ever visit a new restaurant in the first month of opening as it’s simply not fair. However, we did, mainly to support more than anything, and there was obviously a teeny bit of pressure rocking up with Matt Abé, Marco Zampese and Dmitri Magi in tow… it was good then, but clearly some teething issues. It didn’t feel like the old Ledbury, nor a new Ledbury, they just hadn’t had time to establish or find footing, but that has very much changed and these guys are back on form in all the ways. Thomas was off on this visit, so it was a treat to have Brett cooking.
Snacks first, and Brett shared as only he can, about the cured meat selection. His passion and love for his stock is incredible and what makes him such an authentic chef and stands alone in this whole arena of meat and specifically game. It’s this raw passion that translates into the menu so beautifully and has now re-found its identity. The proof is in the pudding, and in this instance, every dish ahead… most especially the grouse.
Brown Crab and Tomato Emulsion (I had a cheese version instead of brown crab – that’s precisely the part of the crab that would send me into anaphylactic shock and why I avoid all crab, sadly).
The Potato Cracker was really good, like gourmet popcorn, I could have just kept eating it. Super crisp and light.
Ledbury own Iberian Loin and Salami and also a 6-Year-Old Jersey Beef Neck, these were all exceptional and the flavour was sterling. So much love has gone into each one of these throughout the whole process, quite literally from farm to table.
Acorn Biscuit and Duck Liver Parfait, nice, light and tasty.
Hake Jowl, Nori and Dill, yum, I liked this a lot.
Brown Butter Waffle, Caviar and Kombu.
Pale Ale Croustade, Sea Bream and Exmoor Caviar.
All very good, with great flavours. Onto the mains.
Scallop, lightly blowtorched, which was both visually good and tasted great too, ponzu and tomato water and dehydrated tomato. These were slightly too strong in flavour, that sun-dried tomato taste took away from the delicate scallop.
Bread next, a very good sourdough from a rye starter, but even more delicious was a laminated brioche with caramelised onion and sunflower seeds, and then a mega light goat’s milk butter.
Roasted Veal Sweetbread with barbecued sweetcorn, XO butter and truffle… wow. For me sweetbreads can be hit or miss, and it was a bold move to drop this dish in this early, but it worked, and it was bloody delicious. A nice cook on the sweetbread, caramelised with a gnarly crust which is the only way it should be. The corn worked really well. I liked this dish a lot.
Next came the roasted Lobster tail with smoked pike roe, caviar – just a tiny touch in the sauce, and courgette. An excellent dish.
Aubergine miso, braised lamb, onion. Well this surprised me, when do you ever see aubergine on a menu? It almost looked like a slab of lardo on the plate. White aubergine, in season, which is only when this dish ever makes an appearance, and it was soooo good. The flavours worked well, just a very clever dish.
Now for the absolute star of the show, and what I was there for, Yorkshire Grouse, over two courses.
First a grouse game broth infused with blackcurrant leaf oil, and juniper, which was genius and tasted so comforting, easing our palates nicely into the next serving, and a very good grouse faggot with rosehip and sourdough too. It was all so delicious.
The next part was then the grouse breast, some leg, and heart, baby turnips and turnip puree, hedgerow berries, and a sauce made from sauerkraut. This really felt like Brett on a plate for sure. It was exceptional.
Out came the the venison, a roasted rack of Japanese Sika Deer, which was very good but after having the grouse before, it took away slightly. I feel like the grouse was the climax and then was met with this and fell short. It was beautifully done with celeriac, damson and amanita mushrooms. It just perhaps should have come before the grouse.
Duck egg and Sauternes custard, passion fruit, apricot and bee pollen. I had this back in March and hated it, it was so powdery from all the bee pollen and the texture was just not right. Well, I’m very happy to say they have totally nailed it now and this has developed into a tremendously good pre-dessert.
Dark Chocolate Chantilly Cherries, Sake Ice Cream and Shiso. A very strong dessert to finish and then some beautiful chocolate petit fours.
All washed down with some very nice wine, as well as some nice juice pairings also, I liked this mix and I loved the whole experience.
I do still terribly miss the muntjac dumpling, and hope to get fed this at some stage in the future, so I will have to just keep returning until I do. Loved it all, and the service gets a mention too as it was flawless, and a perfect example of how service should be, a great team.
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