Quite a late comer to the London Fine Dining scene, but under Chef Brett Graham’s guidance it took no time at all for The Ledbury to gain its 2nd Star in 2010, equaling its sister restaurant The Square’s best effort. To seasoned haute cuisine diners, this restaurant might not initially surprise you in terms of extraordinary food design and presentation – afterall, there are no Botanist-Chefs scattering about their micro herbs and foliage or moss line up, glamming it up with enough colour appeal to fool the eyes and the stomach into submission. Nor are there course after course of deconstructed then recompiled and sewn up food accompanied by molecular chemical by-products offered by chef Dr. Frankenstein!
- Foie Gras Tart with Red Almond and Ginger Bread Crumb - Lovely starter, no oddly combo'ed flavourings here ~ 10/10
- Walnut Bread - Very British bread, incorporated with raisins and a sweetish taste underneath…
- Fried Katafi Pastry wrapped Quail Egg with Marmalade & Chestnut Cream - Another excellent appetiser, this was just perfect for Winter ~ 9/10
- Raviolo of Grouse and Partridge with Cepes, Elderberries and Brown Bread Sauce - Kill 2 birds with 1 raviolo? This was quite an earthly dish, another good treat. The heaviness from the brown bread sauce, creamy foam and the gamey birds were well balanced by the side add-on of elderberries sour/sweetness ~ 9/10
- Truffle Toast and a Broth of Grilled Onions, Hamphire Buffalo Milk Curd with Saint-Nectaire - Beautiful presentation in hay and appropriate for what it’s aiming for, smells as good as it tastes ~ 9/10
- Shoulder of Pyrenean Milk Fed Lamb with Jerusalem and Chinese Artichokes, Winter Savoury Milk and New Season Olive Oil - There are actually other main dishes I was keener to try, such as their signature Loin of Roe Deer baked in Douglas Fir. But my dining companion was unfortunately stuck at work and dining just by myself that night, I could only pick one and the Pyrenean milk fed lamb was tempting as I did not try any, despite staying in that region for a few days. WOW – this was cooked very well indeed, in a traditional type of way, yet reinvented with a modern twist. Lamb Skin was crispy, meat was tender and balanced in gamey-ness. Jerusalem Artichokes puree balanced the richness with its slight gingery & root vegetables flavour, the Crosnes gave it texture, a splash of winter savoury milk giving smoothness to align with the milk fed lamb, and olive oil was very Pyrenees. This might look simple on paper, but rethink again to consider how all of these ingredients were binded so well together. This is the result of an expertly crafted dish. It is exactly the type of food I ardently crave for. Down-to-earth, but never boring. Amazing ~ 10/10
- Eucalyptus Honey and Spiced Bread Souffle, Dunked on top with Thyme Ice Cream -
Sometimes I do wonder if any place in Hong Kong apart from Pierre makes a proper souffle. They should be airy and moist, ‘light as a wind’ and a professionally baked souffle would never collapse too quickly as soon as its brought out of the oven and then the steam providing its rise, runs off into the atmosphere… a question worth pondering on indeed, as most souffles served in HK dessert houses are just so wrong in texture, it’s not even remotely funny! I don’t actually expect anyone to understand what I am babbling on, as we are brought up thinking Tai Ping Goon’s version to be a souffle. But that to me, is a CAKE!
This souffle was done exceptionally well, the egg whites climbing up the ramekin beautifully with a flat fluffy top, rather than like a disruptive volcano eruption or a pimple on the forehead. I am having a self chuckle right now thinking of the shits being handed out from HK dessert houses, that they even dared to call it a souffle ! [IMG http://lh4.ggpht.com/_Dth5_szw9Kw/TTcxcm2mZlI/AAAAAAAACTs/ieK28o_hN_A/titter_thumb%5B1%5D.gif?imgmax=800] You might be able to get an approximate pizza here, an approximate rum baba, approximate espresso or approximate fried tonkatsu. But there is not even anything close to an approximated souffle in town, and now that’s really a tragedy ! ~ 10/10
- Petits Fours of - White Chocolate Almond Ball, Earl grey Macaron, Mandarin Pate, Dark Chocolate with Eucalyptus, Violet Marshmallow - Lovely rather than exceptional, served on top of a pile of cocoa husk (rather than cocoa nibs), which are also edible ~ 7/10