I hadn't actually heard of The Ledbury until a friend made a booking on our behalf. I didn't realise that it was ranked 29 in the World Top 50 for 2011 making it London's highest rated restaurant. To be honest since I hadn't spent much time researching or reading about it, I wasn't overly excited about going despite the reputation.
In a rather quiet road in Notting Hill at 930pm it seemed an unusual time to be preparing for a large degustation, but minimal daytime food prepared our stomachs.
We started with a light snack (seaweed cracker with savoury cream, roe & dill - correct me if I've remembered incorrectly) as a nice salty way to kick off the evening, followed by the first formal course Amuse Bouche (kataifi quail egg, chestnut puree & shaved truffles) - delicious, fantastic.
The menu rolled on as such:
- Cornish Oyster Chantilliy & Tartare with Horseradish & Dill
- Flame Grilled Mackerel with Smoke Eel, Celtic Mustard & Shiso (the best dish by far, uniting flavours of the world in each beautiful mouthful)
- Hand Rolled Macaroni Stuffed with Rabbit & Celery with a Veloute of Toasted Hay & Truffle (any excuse for truffles)
- Roast Cod with Crab, Pinenuts, Cauliflower & Blood Orange (quality cod, excellent crab salad. The raw cauliflower slices seemed odd and out of place)
- Berkshire Muntjac Slow Cooked Shoulder with Parsnip, Apple & Juniper (nice flavours but not as tender as I'd expect from slow cooking)
- Berkshire Muntjac Loin with White Beetroot, Red Wine Lees & Bone Marrow (wonderful cooked meats in different styles, the rare slices being my favourite.
- Pre-Dessert (burnt meringue, mango sorbet - of what I remember)
- Caramelised Banana Galette with Salted Caramel, Peanut Oil Parfait (galette was average, parfait with peanuts was wonderfully sweet, refreshing and creamy-crunchy end)
- Petit Four (chocolate ganache, macaron, jelly cube - all too sweet for my liking)
Overall I liked the food; but I found the Flame Grilled Mackerel to be the only course that made me think this is different, incredible and delicious. To their credit, all dishes tasted between the spectrum of good-to-great and none were declared plain nor strange. You are guaranteed to eat well here and £105 is extremely reasonable.
Next time I would order still the tasting menu. Considering a 3 course is £80 and the tasting menu is £105, you're getting much more diversity for a small additional price. The Flame Grilled Mackeral is otherwise the only dish I would without-a-doubt order again.