I have been waiting to set foot in The Ledbury for years, distracted by this and that, how could I have let it pass me by for so long? Shame, shame on you Ms Macaroon.
Dinner with a group of Australian bloggers could be at no other place. The chef, Brett Graham, fellow Australian, had this year received his second Michelin star, definitely time I got myself there. Ms Gourmet Chick, Greedy Diva, Catty, and I were joined by Claire Scott from D’Arenburg wines. Over numerous emails we had arranged for Brett to create a menu, just for us and specially selected wines from D’Arenburg and Katnook. Unfortunately Jo Jericho, from Katnook wines, couldn’t make it, due to her impending departure back to Australia but, she still managed to dropped off some wine for us earlier in the day.
Posh jewellery on, a silky black number and my new Rupert Sanderson heels and I was off…..this was going to be good.
On such an occasion a glass of Champagne was essential. Brett had been off shooting game that day so he was not in the kitchen but that didn’t stop the flow of great food coming out of the tiny kitchen. The canapè was a tartlet of foie gras with hazelnut crumbs and shiso leaves, a mouthful of soft melting buttery foie gras with textures of crispness in the delicate tartlet and ground hazelnuts.
The decor of the place is a bit dated with large wood panel columns and inset flower arrangements. Although I hadn’t even noticed until half way through the meal as I was so focused on the food.
Soon after our amuse bouche arrived. Quail egg encased in kataifi pastry chestnut puree and shaved truffles. This was definitely a starter to get your taste buds going. The textures and flavours worked so well, melting in your mouth.
Hampshire Buffalo Milk Curd with Saint-Nectaire, Truffle Toast and a broth of Grilled Onions. I don’t think I could choose a favourite from our menu, but if I had to this would win the interesting dish award. As you are mesmerized by the thick truffle toast the waiters pour the sweet grilled onion both over the dish. It’s not until you plunge your spoon into it that you discover the set buffalo milk curd at the bottom of the plate. It was divinely smooth, and the truffle toast….needs no explanation.
We were now getting into some more serious wines. A 2005 Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra was paired with our next course, Root Vegatables Baked in Salt and Clay with Lardo Di Colonatta, Roasting juices and Hazelnuts. Like a city of towers, the sweet colourful roast vegetables stood beautifully together. Yes the turned jerusleum artichoke looked like a witchetty grub, coincidence or not, but cute.
Roast Cod with Truffle puree, Cauliflower, Parmesan Gnocchi and Sea Vegetables. Beautifully flakey cod with a perfectly formed dense parmesan gnocchi and, again, a form of black truffles. I just love truffle season!!
We still had another dish to come! I was starting to feel rather full by then. Our next course of Loin of Roe Deer Baked in Douglas Fir with Beetroot, Bone Marrow and Malt was accompanied by a reminder of how big Aussie Reds can taste, 2002 d’Arenburg “The Dead Arm” Shiraz, McLaren Vale. This wine brought back such good memories of what a good Australian Shiraz tastes like. Big, bold flavours which have been somewhat tamed over time in a bottle. The venison was so juicy and tender draped with silky mushrooms. The whole dish really worked so well together.
Still sipping on my “The Dead Arm” shiraz, along came our pre-dessert. A passionfruit mousse with a creamy Sauternes froth, was actually better than my dessert. Catty will disagree but I prefer light fruity desserts. It was engulfed in no time.
Dessert was Brown Sugar Tart with Muscat Grapes and Stem Ginger Ice-cream. The tart was beautifully smooth with a rich caramel flavour. The stem ginger ice cream was divinely smooth. I love ginger and I thought it worked well to cut through the richness of the sweet tart along with the grapes.
It didn’t end there of course. Petit Fours were presented to you to choose from on a bed of shaved chocolate. The violet meringues were soft and creamy. I couldn’t fit anymore food in by that point, so I didn’t try the other petit fours on offer, but they look gorgeous.
A pot of mint tea and I was then rolled into a taxi home. The Ledbury was indeed one of the best meals I have ever had in London. Brett Graham deserves all the praise and attention he has been receiving lately. I wish I could come back again and again and again and again.