The Ledbury, London
i went on friday and had the tasting menu - it was just wonderful. menu attached but i had one course substituted as i wasn't keen on it last time i went (the buffalo milk curd with saint nectaire truffle toast - i found it incredibly rich).
i like the way vegetables are showcased - the green bean with raw almond, peach and foie gras snow salad was an incredibly delicious combination of flavours and textures; and the heritage tomatoes with a pastry-enclosed goat's cheese cigar was so good we both wiped our plates clean with extra bread.
my different course was a mackerel tart with horseradish and gooseberry which had thin slices of mackerel interwoven between pastry sheets which was a lovely suprise when i thought i'd eaten all the fish.
the scallop dish was probably my favourite - i wish i knew how to get the sweet caramelised texture on the outside of a scallop without overcooking the rest. it was speared with a stick of liquorice which worked really well with all the other fennel components of the dish (thinly sliced and raw, cooked puree, cooked cubes and pollen).
the liquorice reappeared with the pork which was just divine - so moist and flavoursome with delicious a pedro ximenez gravy (i remember this dish from my last visit as well).
the beef was also delicious which seemed to have an amazing smokiness in the meat (or maybe it was just the onions?!?). my favourite single component of the meal was in this dish - ash-crusted celeriac. this has been on the menu each time i've been but i've never managed to try it - it was so good with rich umami flavours as well as the creamy celeriac unlike any celeriac i've had before.
the brown sugar tart was one of the nicest puddings i've had in a long time and the combination of the different components - roasted muscart grapes and ginger ice cream - worked so well.
10 out of 10.
Does the ash crust to the celeriac imply some long cooking in a fire?
if so, it seems to be a fashionable thing to do. We had similar last year at In de Wulf in Belgium, where they wrap the root in hay, then give it salt crust before chucking it on the BBQ in the car park for 4 hours. Gets served thinly sliced goats curd. Fab.
i think so. the first time i saw the dish being served - probably 2-3 years ago - it was covered with a glass cloche which was removed at the table and smoke poured out. i can't remember if there was hay involved then but there was no mention this time.
your de wulf dish sounds fabulous.
tricky question limster, it's been 15 months! i think the food was better this time but that might just be because it's so fresh in my mind.
the two dishes which were the same seemed to be fairly unchanged but having looked at other reviews/recent menus i think they work on core themes with small variations in sauces or accompaniments but the heart of the dish is consistent and therefore increasingly well-practiced.
re: abby d
Thanks for the insights -- I had the ash and salt crusted celeriac about 2 years ago, and it was oversalted. It one of those things that should be fixable rather than a fundamental flaw, glad to know that it has improved.
BTW, the glass cloche with smoke that you mentioned below might have been the smoked pigeon legs and heart, part of a pigeon main dish which I loved.
Went back for a tasting menu about a year ago, and liked very much it although nothing seemed to be blow one's socks off -- a few interesting dishes/sauces (most memorable sauce was a seaweed sauce with the scallop carpaccio). Sounds like it's a good time to go back again soon.