The Ledbury: A Lovely Long Lunch

There's a bottle of Louis Roederer on ice upon arrival at the Ledbury; always a good start. Ahh temperature; such a simple thing to get right, but one which is rarely so. Not in the Ledbury's case, the Champagne is perfectly chilled; a godsend as it's scorchio outside.

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Following a lovely little chat with General Manager Darren an amuse of velvety foie gras atop a thin crunchy biscuit arrives. My gluten free version (cheers guys) is also top notch. Wine is next on the agenda, naturally. Any other day, I'd make a beeline for the lovely looking Chablis or one of the half decent Albarinos, but the Birthday Boy's thirsty for Riesling so we go for a Trocken Julian Hart.

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There's a cracking little Set Lunch Menu which I'll be hot footing it back for, but today we're going a la carte, because we can. In addition to birthday celebrations, we begin with a celebration of the sea. My celeriac risotto with smoked eel is delicately comforting with a popping green parsley foam. Darty's ceviche showcases scallops at their best. Dressed in seaweed oil and frozen horseradish, it is a memorable combination. This stuff might sounds very cheffy, but it's all good because it's entirely sincere and unpretentious.

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Memorable elements of my fillet of wild salmon to follow are the lobster oil and lemon verbena, oh and not forgetting the crayfish and courgette. Very pretty and pretty yummy indeed; the kind of thing that just tastes like goodness. The fillet and short rib of beef with bone marrow and a wall of crispy potatoes is after the Birthday Boy's heart. He's sold.

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It's only fitting that we give the trolley a run for its money, I am dining with the King of Cheese, after all. We strip things back and stick to a Gruyère and goat cheese theme; all divine, perfect for this point in the afternoon, I feel. It wouldn't take much to twist my arm to keep going here, with another bottle on ice.

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And, surprise! Before our espressos even reach the cup, a birthday plate appears bearing tiny scoops of velvety chocolate mousse and fig leaf parfait, a lovely touch. Even the Ledbury's Petit Fours have got pizzazz. We go out on a sugar high, nothing to do with the very drinkable wine. Of course.

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Why the Ledbury's terrace is closed for the warmest summer England's seen in years is beyond me. Surely any maintenance could've been fast tracked? Or even put on the long finger until October? However, today, being in the cool dining room was a decadent respite from a muggy July afternoon in Notting Hill.

Five Very Kerri things about The Ledbury

  1. Unpretentious cool in Notting Hill
  2. Set lunch menu to come back for
  3. Flavour combinations keeping the main thing, the main thing
  4. The terrace which I have yet to see open
  5. The wine list