After my first visit to the Ledbury I became a firm fan and even though I’ve now returned number of times, I am always excited to go back. The menu tends to repeat a number of signature dishes (all of which I am more than happy to eat time and again) but also serves up some new and exciting combinations of flavours.
We started with a salad of fresh almonds, green beans, peach and grated foie gras. I’m not usually a fan of foie gras (leaving aside the animal rights side of things, I find it far too rich) but when combined with the slightly tart peach, fresh flavours of the lightly blanched almonds and the al dente green beans this was a great start to our meal.
The classic Ledbury dish of flame grilled mackerel, pickled cucumber, celtic mustard and shiso followed. This dish has never disappointed – the delicately flavoured sides just blend so perfectly together with the stronger tasting fish. And the 2011 Gruern Veltliner wine from Wagram Austria (which we also had last time) was the perfect compliment.
Next up, English asparagus with crisp quail’s egg, mousserons and summer trifle. This dish had was up against quite a lot after our amazing asparagus as Saison (blog post here) but I really enjoyed the fresh flavour of the in season asparagus with the rich sauce and the perfectly cooked quail’s egg…and just look at the presentation:
Roast lobster, fennel and elderflower was next on the menu. Apart from being beautiful to look at (as you can see from the opening photo) the lobster was so full of flavour and I enjoyed the complimentary flavours – a combination I hadn’t tried before. The 2013 Assyrtiko from Santorini which came with the lobster dish was a nice surprise…I’m not so familiar with Greek wine but am definitely keen to try more after a taste of this.
The first half of the meal definitely lived up to the Ledbury’s usual standards, although I was pretty distraught to hear that they had changed their bread policy. As well as the fresh loaf, they used to bring around the most phenomenal bread basket full with bacon and onion brioche, malt bread or other such delights for us bread-lovers. Not least because it slightly marred the meal to hear the boy complain pretty incessantly but also because there must be a pastry chef in the kitchen going to waste…please bring back the brioche!!!
As ever, I swapped my mains around a bit…opting for the turbot and the beef from the shorter menu. The turbot was pretty overcooked, which was disappointing (and rather a surprise after the perfectly cooked lobster). The vegetable sides, however, were perfectly pitched.
Beautiful and full of the flavour of English summer. The 2012 Tokaji Late Harvest Mad from Tokaj Hegyalja, Hungary topped this off. I love a Tokaji and this is probably a contender for my favourite – definitely one to try if you can get hold of it.
And to finish the meal off…petit fours. I could barely move by this point but the fresh flavour of the juniper sticks in particular was so refreshing I almost wanted another round!
The Ledbury definitely deserves its two Michelin stars in my opinion – the food has always been (with the exception of the turbot tonight) of an extremely high standard with friendly and faultless service.