2015 Europe Trip: The Ledbury ☆☆Michelin Experience

What defines Fine Dining, multiple courses, cheese at the end and wine pairing? This is realistically my virgin experience at a restaurant of this level, I guess, the stars speaks for itself! Of course, this was by far the most amazing meal that I had during this trip, which simply, effortless, blew my taste buds and of course my mind away. Even when I am reviewing it now, the food that I had a couple months ago still lingers in my mind and I am currently salivating. First thing first, The Ledbury, a restaurant located in the quiet neighbourhood of Notting Hill and Chelsea. A posh and quiet neighbourhood lies this gem, as it goes along, the restaurant is on Ledbury Road. Helmed by Chef Brett Graham it is one of the top restaurant worldwide and definitely in central London. A holder of 2 Michelin stars is definitely precious and The Ledbury is one of the stronger ones. I will definitely recommend coming for the Lunch instead where prices are cheaper and more gentle on the wallet. Dining at The Ledbury isn’t as expensive as it might have been, the set lunch is worth it, costing 45 pounds. You should expect the damage to be around 100SGD per person including the cover charge. Price is one issue while the other will be getting the table, reservation with a credit card is mandatory and the tables are usually filled once it is opened for reservation. To reserve a table, you can simply do so on its website, reservations are usually opened 2 months in advance. Yes, a meal here is definitely worth the effort. It is good that we pamper ourselves occasionally, experiencing the service, the ambience and most importantly the mind blowing out of this world food. I will recommend the set lunch, simple enough and gentle on the purse. Let me bring you through my culinary journey now!
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It was a short walk from the Tube station which I entertained myself with the quiet neighbourhood such a different from the bustling oxford street where you can see the rush and crowd. I also like some of the shops in the neighbourhood that were tiny and unique. Here are some pictures of the neighbourhood, pretty good place to live right? I love such quiet and peaceful neighbourhood to stay in! Less crowd, less traffic!
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The restaurant was located at the far end of Ledbury Road, you would ever know that it existed until you saw it, as it seems to me like a neighbourhood full of homes. Quiet and chilly on the outside but straight away the picture changes once you enter it. I was immediately greeted by the staff on the counter at the side of the doorway and it takes probably 15 seconds for them to confirm my reservation once I state my name. My first impression was amazing, I was in awed, you could feel that it was posh, high end but still kept simple. All their staff were polished, from the waitress, chef to the dishwasher. Every movement was highly experienced and well trained, from pouring of wines and water to clearing the table of breadcrumbs. Immediately, the restaurant manager Sam Lucas came over, proactively took our jackets and kept it in the closet before ushering us to our tables, at this point the restaurant was already packed, fully booked. Today was also special because it is a bank holiday, Easter day! I can’t think of anything better to describe Sam except to say that he was really well polished. I really like the way he execute himself, communicating with us, providing recommendation and also give us the necessary privacy when it is necessary. The timings were also kept to the exact perfection. His interaction were amazing, not those fake good service of asking us how was it, if it is good, but it feels like he really have that interest and knowledge, continuing the conversation with us. This is the difference between service and hospitality. Of course, we decided to go ahead with the 4 course set lunch with still water obviously! Sam was also great, taking into consideration of my family dietary and gives us flexibility of choosing other main course. The main course of the day was the lamb, but my mum and dad change to the Turbot and Pork Jowl respectively while I had the lamb. Below is a picture of the set lunch and also the other lunch menu that was available.
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Shortly, it begins with a couple of Amuse Bouches which were excellent. As expected from a restaurant awarded with 3 Michelin Stars, besides having the taste it must have the look and of course the awe feeling when you are dining. The open your mouth and having the shock feeling must be there too! The presentation was also anything but ordinary, the plates or not plates at all. Only then I can be said to be fine dining. Out of the world is definitely applicable. It is worth noting that the Amuse Bouches, bread, water and Petit Four are included in the cover charge. Such worth I must say. It started out with Foie Gras Puff and Mead Jelly, which just melts in your mouth the moment you pop it in with the scent of the Foie Gras perfuming the whole of your mouth. I would say that this is the savoury counterpart of macaroons.
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Next up was the Seaweed Lava Bread with Smoked Mussels and Mushroom Connection with a touch of Apple Jelly and Shiso leaf. Crispy as it looks it packs a punch, the combination of the flavours works amazing to us, crispy seaweed and creamy salty paste. It is just unbelievable. The presentation was also perfect, place on top of some dried seaweed and also a special plate. It just feels like the sea. Totally works for me. I just want more!!!
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The last Amuse Bouches was something seaweed too but tasted like cheese too, I am unsure of what it is but it is actually my favourite, I like the combination of the flaky seaweed together with the cheese tasting like pastry, just amazing. Oops, I think i had pop one before snapping the picture! Bread was also available throughout the meal, and omg, it is really good, rustic country bread made in house complemented by the whipped butter that was unique to Ledbury, the butter was heaven, flavoured with cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt, it is just that good. Actually, I would kill just for that bread!
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Soon the courses of the set lunch arrived, first up was the appetiser, which was a little gastronomic, it was Tomato and Tea Jelly with Crab and Smoked Dulse. Usually, innovative or gastronomy cuisine are highly awarded and prized worldwide! As innocent as it sounds, I really had no idea what it is going to be like. It looks and taste amazing, plain as it looks, the tomato taste was unbelievable, you won’t even know that it is tomato until you tasted it. The jelly was made with tomatoes which were really nicely sweet and a touch of the sourness, together with the crab meat and the smoked dulse it was really an great appetiser, opening up your appetite for more food to come.
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Second course was the Hake Jowl, with Young Garlic, Peas and Grilled Onion. What can I say? Tender savoury Hake top with potato chips like garlic slices and tender bursting sweet onions. My favourite part of this dish was the sauce, with a mint sauce and also a cream foam on the side. Simply eye satisfying and also tummy satisfying. Best of both worlds I would say. The hake was really tender and savoury, totally alive and swimming in my mouth.
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Then there was the main course, first of all the Cornish Milk Fed Lamb with Creamed Potato, White Asparagus and Truffle that I had. It was a great one, I like it best among the 3 main course that we had, the portion was huge too, extremely tender and cooked to perfection. Medium well with a hint of pink in the centre. Most importantly it does not have the sourness smell of lamb which I really hate it. this dish was pleasant where you are also given different parts of the lamb, tenderloin, rib eye. It allows you to taste the different texture, together with the great creamed potato, life is great. The potato is extremely fine and creamy. The white asparagus provides some veg out of these heavy meats and potato, grilled to perfection, you could taste the smokiness of it on the outside and also the tender sweet inner parts of the asparagus. Finally the dish is topped with crispy lettuce and generously sprinkled with black truffles, adding an additional layer of aroma and texture to the dish.
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The Turbot that my mum ordered was great too, it is actually the first time that we tasted turbot. Turbot is an expensive flat fish that is famed for in the west, not as commonly eaten in Asia. I was amaze by the sweetness and tender flaky white meat of the fish the steamed asparagus and anchovy also brings the dish to another dimension. Salty and briny anchovy, stinky to some people but still priced for its taste. The portion of the fish was also quite small. Certainly delicious but definitely won’t be satisfying for me.
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Besides the Lamb, the dish that I liked the most was the Jowl of Pork. If I didn’t say that the meat was pork you would never taste it out. It was extremely tender, I would say that you could mash it up with the same strength of killing an ant. The dish also came with caramelized pear and parsnip. I got a small taste of the pork and I really like it. Full of flavour and it just melts in your mouth. It’s just so delicious, you would put a small bite on top of your tongue and then sensing it melting, naturally closing your eyes and smile naturally, savouring it delicately.
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A meal would not be complete without a sweet ending, you would always feel that something is lacking. The dessert that we had was a Caramelised Lemon Tart with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream. Lemony and sweet the caramelised crust with crispy and the mint sauce was a perfect complement. The ice cream was delicious too, sweet than the tart it provides a cold and warm mixture that feels just so amazing. Although I have to say that I aren’t amaze by the dessert dishes, which pales in comparisons to the other courses with really blew me off. Perhaps, my standards have gotten a little high after amazing courses and mind blowing courses!
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Finally, we ended of this dining experience with some Petit Fours. The Petit Fours were also included in the cover charge too. There was chocolate truffles which were covered in a bed of nuts and also a cinnamon stick. The cinnamon stick was actually made of a sugar crust with lemon filling inside. I like it a lot, sweet and sour, an amazing end to this experience, simply calling this a meal would simply be so under rated, dining experience seems a much better term!
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Hope you guys enjoy this experience. Really recommend you all to kick start your Michelin experience here. Stay Tuned for more of my adventures. Next, I hope that I would have the chance to dine at The Fat Duck!

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