Valentine’s Day at The Ledbury

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This Valentine’s Day Mr Kelly whisked me off to our long time favourite restaurant. After tasting the best dish of our lives at The Ledbury back in 2015, we were ridiculously excited to return and see what Brett and his team had been up to over the past two years. With its two Michelin stars, this is another one of those restaurants where you have to know when the tables will be released and book within about three seconds to secure one. But I’m telling you, this restaurant, currently 14th best restaurant in the world, is worth diarising…

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The restaurant itself is absolutely beautiful, with its twinkling chandeliers and crisp white tablecloths. There’s even a personal touch, the little posies of dried flowers on the tables are made by the founder’s wife. From the moment you step inside, you know you’re in for something special. The staff are wonderfully attentive and make you feel like no request is too much.

I started with a Rhubarb Bellini and oh my days, that was by far the best Bellini I have ever had. Rhubarb seems to be having a bit of a moment. Every restaurant I’ve been to in the last six weeks has been doing something amazing with this vegetable and I am totally on board.

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In true Kelly style, we decided to take the plunge and ordered the full eight course tasting menu.

First up: the canapés.

Laverbread crisps with smoked mussel purée…

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Foie gras puffs with mead jelly…

 

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Little clouds, stuffed to the brim with a silky foie gras mousse and topped with a delicate jelly. These stole the show for me.

But the muntjac dumplings, with a dollop of spicy fruit and mustard preserve, stole Mr Kelly’s heart…

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All accompanied by freshly baked sourdough…

 

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Still steaming from the oven and served with salted goat’s curd butter…

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As tasty as this was, I have to say, I really missed the little basket of assorted breads that they had a couple of years ago. Why has everyone stopped doing this? Am I the only one who misses it?

Anyway, on to the first course…

A taste of the ocean: hand dived scallop ceviche and frozen English wasabi, served in a little pool of seaweed and herb oil. So delicate, so fresh.

 

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Followed by Candy Beetroot…

 

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Smoked and dried eel nestling within layers of paper-thin white beetroot that had been baked in clay, all sprinkled generously with caviar salt.

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Something completely different and, of course, completely delectable.

On the sommelier’s recommendation, we ordered a bottle of the 2011 Château Falfas. A deliciously fruity Bordeaux blend, which Mr Kelly has been hunting down ever since.

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Next up, our favourite dish of the night: “Warm Bantam’s Egg”.

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Literally all of my favourite things on one beautiful plate…a perfectly poached egg sitting on a bed of celeriac purée and decorated with shavings of fresh black truffle and dried ham…

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The Ledbury, you’ve done it again. Best dish of 2017. It may only be mid-March but something tells me it’s going to be difficult to top this one in the next nine months.

Then it was time for the other vegetable of the moment: Roast Cauliflower…

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Perfectly charred cauliflower sitting in a puddle of rich crab-infused cream, decorated with parmesan crisps and fresh basil. Flawless.

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Now this next dish was a complete surprise. When I saw “Agen Prune” on the menu I was intrigued but I thought…how good can a prune be? Answer: bloody amazing.

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Stuffed with a light but gamey partridge mousse and surrounded by a bacon foam, I think this is probably the best a prune can ever taste.

As always, after over-indulging on the bread front, we needed a little pause before our next course.

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Rounding off the savoury dishes was the Hardwick Lamb…

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The prettiest spring dish of perfectly pink lamb, served with salt baked turnip and ewe’s milk. And yes, it was as good as it looks.

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Then it was on to the sweet stuff.

It was time for the rhubarb to make another appearance.

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A stunning dish in appearance and taste. Whipped buttermilk, rhubarb and coconut, finished at the table with a zingy rhubarb sauce…

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Almost too pretty to eat…almost.

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Served with a fresh mini doughnut on the side…

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A tiny bite of heaven.

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And then the last dish of our tasting menu: Chocolate.

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Cocoa-dusted mounds of wafer-thin dark chocolate encasing a velvety chocolate mousse, served alongside fluffy miniature chocolate sponges, teardrops of clementine flavoured crème pâtissière and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Now that would have been the perfect ending to a perfect meal. But in true Ledbury-style, they went the extra mile. As we got chatting with the delightful waiters, we talked about our recent wedding and so they surprised us with a celebratory plate of the classic sugar tart…

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This is one of The Ledbury’s signature desserts and there’s no guessing why. Served with stem ginger ice cream, the spiciness of the ginger balances out the sweetness of the filling. I’m still dreaming about this one.

And then we were on a roll, nothing could stop us. When you’re asked “do you fancy some cheese” at The Ledbury, even after nine courses, you say yes. Always yes.

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The cheese board was etched into our memories back in 2015 and I’ve lost track of the number of times Mr Kelly has said “do you remember that cheese trolley?!”.

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Piled high with every type of cheese you can imagine, the trolley of dreams is wheeled over to your table.

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Choosing just five is almost impossible.

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Served with preserved apple, walnuts and a selection of crackers…

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And washed down with a glass of The Somerset Pomona, a cider brandy matured in oak barrels…

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Life doesn’t get better than that.

We ordered a couple of fresh mint teas…

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And (somehow!) polished off the petit fours: eucalyptus chocolate truffles…

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And juniper caramel sticks…

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Another exceptional performance by The Ledbury team.

On our previous visit we were lucky enough to meet the man behind this foodie heaven, Brett Graham. His enthusiasm and energy was infectious and was part of the reason we fell in love with the restaurant. On this visit we were fortunate enough to pop down to the kitchen again and this time we met the head chef, Greg Austin. Hearing about the latest Ledbury venture, rearing their own Japanese deer, the only ones with marbling within the muscle, it was very clear that the best is yet to come from this amazing restaurant.

After a quick taste of marmite caramel drizzled on vanilla ice-cream – I know, sounds crazy but tastes incredible – we hopped in a cab and headed home.

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We’re already diarising the next release of tables…are you?

Posted by

London-based foodie with a shopping addiction, a love for swanky interiors and an obsession with white sandy beaches.

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