It was to be our last foodie trip to London for 2011 and we`d planned to squeeze in two lunches and two dinners on this visit , Friday dinner at The Ledbury , Saturday lunch at The Savoy , Saturday dinner at Marcus Wareing in The Berkeley and finally classic Sunday lunch at The Ritz.I had a good feeling about our first restaurant as everyone seems to be talking about Brett Graham at the Ledbury at the moment , he`s always on the lips of foodies , bloggers , chefs and the Media.Winning lots of awards for his top of the ladder cooking and apparently he`s a nice guy as well.Amongst Bretts acheivements this year are 8/10 in the 2012 good food guide , 2 Michelin stars , and No1 place in the the Sunday times top 100 restaurants in the UK.
I had an amazing late summer dinner at the Ledbury in August ( click here) so i had a feeling that this visit would be far better.It was November , game and truffle season so with a combination of those two then it was going to be a damn fine experience.We went for the Tasting menu which i believe changes with the seasons.Odd dishes also change regularly when game and seasonal produce are available so expect to be treated well at certain times…Ceps , Grouse , Woodcock etc if Brett can source….or shoot them.
Amuse Bouche of Foie Gras parfait with Quince set us off to a fine start. Smooth piped foie gras parfait topped with Quince puree.
The Ledbury bread is always amazing , trouble is though it`s so hard not to go crazy with it.Anyone dining on the Tasting menu must proceed with caution….you really do need to get through those 15 or so courses.The bread on the left is a warm Caramelised Onion Brioche.The bread on the right is not of this planet…I seen the face of a Dr Who cyberman in my bread….but he tasted delicious.
Chantilly of Colchester Oysters with a tartare of Oyster , Horseradish and Dill arrived next.Now im really not keen on Oysters but this one proved me totally wrong.The glass was topped with a frozen Horseradish ice seated on the Tartare whilst the fried Oyster came warm in the shell.
Flame grilled Mackerel with smoked Eel , Celtic mustard and Shiso….Still the Ledbury classic.Ive tried cooking Mackerel over the flame at home but can never get the same burnt and smoked flavour of wood infused into the fish.
Native Lobster with Broccoli stem , Natural yoghurt and Indian spices in Brown Butter.I wasn`t so sure about the delicate flavour of the Lobster being matched with Indian spices but the shellfish was spiced very sparingly and all it did was to compliment the Lobster perfectly.
Hampshire Buffalo milk curd with Saint Nectaire , White truffle toasts and a broth of grilled Onions.Another Ledbury classic , and one that should never be taken off the menu.I love this dish and if i had to pick a favourite from my two visits then this would be the one.I was ever so fortunate that my summer truffle (last visit ) was this time replaced by the Italian white truffle……Eyes closed and drift off moment.This was my first ever experience of the legendary ”Alba madonna” (Tuber magnatum) and it was heavenly. I really really need this recipe so hurry up with that cookbook Mr Graham.
These were the little White truffle toasts sat on the Douglas fir Pine needles.
Roast Scallop with Pumpkin , Clementine and Ginger….Caramelised , crunchy outer surface and soft and perfectly cooked inside , they went perfectly with the gnocchi and accompaniments.Little treat as well….pan fried Porcini.
Breast of Berkshire Partridge with Chestnuts , Iberian Ham , Sunflower seeds , Chanterelles and White truffle….am i a lucky guy or what ? Slivers of chestnut , and even more slivers of White truffle again.Topping the wild Partridge breast and crispy fried partridge leg…..You know that im a happy guy here.
Celeriac “Risotto” with smoked Bone marrow , Parmesan , Chanterelles and White truffle…..did someone mention “white truffle” again ? You`ll guess by now that im in truffle paradise and the whole restaurant seems to be scented with this prized fungus.The “risotto” …and please correct me if i`m wrong here wasn`t actually rice but was tiny rice sized pieces of Celeriac cooked al dente.
Pigeon Kebab – Rich , gamey , fruity , seasonal and cooked to total perfection.The pigeon breast simply melted.
Saddle of Sika deer baked in Douglas fir with White Beetroot , Red wine Lees and Smoked bone marrow.This was cooked and then brought to the table before being taken away and constructed into the stunning dish below.Oh and for those of you that don`t know what red wine “lees” is – Definition: Lees refer to the thick sediment that floats to the bottom during the wine’s fermentation process. The lees consist of the dead yeast cells, grape skin and seed fragments and various grape solids that separate from the juice and go with gravity to the bottom of the barrel or fermentation tank. Winemakers will occasionally stir the lees during fermentation to conjure up additional contact with the grape juice and solids. This stirring of the lees gives more body and flavor to the final wine.
The finished Sika ( venison ) dish…..and by now we were almost at bursting point…but could we manage desserts ???? Oh yeah.
Pre dessert of Coconut and Lemongrass.A little shot of lemongrass jelly topped off with a coconut foam…refreshing.
Pave of Milk Chocolate with Milk puree and Chocolate malt ice cream.
Brown sugar tart with Muscat grapes and stem ginger ice cream……and the tart – once again i have to have this recipe , its amazing.
So here we meet the man himself , Mr Brett Graham , a lovely guy and can talk for England and Australia put together, speaking about his passion for shooting and the countryside….we actually had to make our excuses and leave as he would have chatted all night.It was late and the chefs wanted to get to their beds …..The atmosphere was one of fun and i could see that the young chefs enjoyed working here.A new addition to the team will be James Knappett previously from Marcus wareing at the Berkeley…Its going to be an even more exciting place to be both in the kitchen and definitely in the restaurant…watch this space folks.
The beautiful plumage on the cock pheasant.
Anyone seen that film…. The 3 Amigos ? , well there you go…Crazy gunman Mr Graham on the left , crazy gunman Laird Bell on the right and and as always….there`s always got to be a normal one to keep everyone sane…Your resident pie eater in the centre.
Cheers for a fantastic feast Brett.
All of the photos from the dinner a the Ledbury can be found HERE.