This was our third visit to Ledbury, a 2 star Michelin that opened around 2005, but the first visit for lunch. At lunch they offer a full tasting menu of 6 courses as well as a set lunch of 4 items or a 4 course menu with choices for each course. There are just 18 nicely spaced tables set with lovely white clothes and napkins along with a different object of art. The wood floor and columns add to the serene room that has lots of windows and mirrors. Fancy chandeliers add lighting but in the day the windows bring in plenty of natural light. The noise level is non-existent but conversations still feel private. There are a huge number of service people that are helpful, friendly and often smiling. We chose the four course tasting where we picked our options and of course they added more to it. Brett Graham is the The Chef but on our visit Greg Austin, Head Chef who has been the there for 9 1/2 years, was running the kitchen. Regardless of which is there, this place is worth putting on your list.
Everyone started with some snacks that included a seaweed crisp with smoked mussel and fennel, Guinea fowl with meat jelly and a steamed crumpet with brown butter. They were all quite nice but I particularly liked the crumpet with brown butter. It had a wonderful flavor and texture.
Chantilly of oyster was with cucumber, sea bream and frozen wasabi. The oyster was cooked, chopped and then mixed with caviar and then served alongside the frozen wasabi and cucumber in an oyster shell. The oyster had just the right amount of flavor and mixed well with the caviar. The other ingredients enhanced the combination and resulted in a really good dish.
Bread was a porridge sour dough that was served warm. It was dense with a nice crispy crust and dense interior. Very good.
Candy beetroot was baked in clay, topped with English caviar and stuffed with smoked and dried eel. It had a slight essence of sweet in the thinly sliced beets. It also had a few sprinkles of crisp crumbs to add even more texture to the tasty combination of flavors. The eel was delicious as was the whole dish.
Cumbrian veal tartare was served with grilled artichoke oil and aged beef fat on toast. The toast bit with the fat was divine – totally savory and full of flavor. The oil and bits of artichoke with the tartare combined well. It was a diced tartare not ground. Here the mixture of ingredients was better than them separately.
Warm pheasant’s egg was with celeriac, arbois (white wine), dried ham and morels. The egg had a huge yolk that blended into the sauce to make a very savory dish. The celeriac was in sheets, the ham full of flavor and bits of crisp toast gave it some textural contrast. It was good but not as good as the veal tartare.
Roast scallop was served with seaweed and cauliflower. The scallop was cooked perfectly and stuffed with bits of nori seaweed, the cauliflower was smoked in a Green Egg and it was all surrounded by a shellfish sauce. Some crisps on the plate tasted like a potato garlic. It was very nice.
We both chose the Presa and jowl of pork, hen of the woods, potato emulsion and rosemary for our menus. One part of the Iberian pork was roasted a nice rare and was juicy and amazingly tender. The jowl portion (below the cheek) was topped with strips of crackling and was also quite tender. Most of its fat had been rendered in the cooking process and it was just bursting with flavor. Hen of the Woods mushrooms were mixed with seaweed and incredibly tasty, the potato round was really creamy, there was a creamy garnish that wasn’t needed as the meat was so moist and the meat was on top of gelatinous sauce. The bit of onion was nicely cooked but a tad tart and my least favorite part of this terrific plate of food.
Passionfruit curd, sauternes and olive oil was a transition course. The passionfruit was in a cream form with dots of meringue to add a bit of crunch and served alongside some really tasty donuts covered with sugar. A yum on this course.
My husband finished with the Gariguette strawberries, whipped ewe’s milk yoghurt and sorbet. It was a strawberry sorbet and gel with the wild Spanish strawberries. They were mixed with French Gariguette strawberries which are bigger. Both were nicely flavorful, the jelly particularly so. It was a fresh and nicely fruity dessert.
I finished with the Brown Sugar Tart with stem ginger ice cream. This is a signature dessert for Ledbury. The brown custard sits on a puff pastry that has been compressed and then all is topped with almond crumble. The ginger ice cream was a total yum and screamed ginger flavor. It was served alongside poached grapes and a grape drizzle. Creamy, crunchy and sweet – a perfect dessert combo. All the parts were wonderful on their own but amazing when put together. Don’t miss this if you get here.
Final treats were eucalyptus chocolates coated with cocoa that were creamy, fudgy and herbal. A caramel stick with juniper coated with sugar and filled with drippy caramel. Totally sweet and crispy – a perfect finish for a fine meal.