Considering how often I recommend the Ledbury to friends (and how often they report back that they’ve had a marvelous time there), I don’t know how I let over *two years* go by since I last ate there. It’s sad, really.
Two weeks ago, Jon and I met four close friends for Sunday lunch there. We were joking about how far we’d all traveled to get to Notting Hill (coming from Islington, Hoxton and Shad Thames). But you know, the Ledbury is well worth the schlepp.
I’d never been to the Ledbury’s Sunday lunch before, which is a shame because at £40 a person for three courses and several amuses, it’s great value.
The downside for food lovers when ordering a la carte, though, is that a lot of bargaining and bickering breaks out over who orders what. This is where the Ledbury’s stellar service made its first appearance of the day: our server noticed several of us wanted to try the Saint-Nectaire truffled toast with buffalo milk curd and onion broth, so with grace and style, she stepped into our conversation and offered that course as an amuse for the table. This gesture freed us up to try out the other starters. We both laughed at ourselves for having drawn her attention and loved that she solved our “dilemma” of who would order which starter.
The weather being warm and sunny, and having eaten about five of the Ledbury’s outrageously-delicious bacon-and-onion rolls, I ordered the courgettes, crab and frozen parmesan starter. The dish was, indeed, super refreshing, though the frozen parmesan wasn’t as interesting a texture or flavor as I’d thought it’d be. My bad for ordering what amounted to the “chicken option” on the menu.
My friend J’s starter of turbot in multiple forms and served with assorted root veg deserves mention for being both visually attractive and surprisingly delicious. Who would’ve thought radish could steal the show?
The major highlight among the starters, though (perhaps of the entire meal) was the truffled, cheesy (Saint-Nectaire) toast served as an amused to our table. You dip the truffled toast (wonderfully nutty, floral and earthy on its own) into the curd and it’s like the ultimate comfort experience, bringing to mind egg-and-soldiers. What an outstanding dish. Next time you eat at the Ledbury, make sure to have this course.
My main course of suckling pig was lovely, though as I get older, I have to say I become less excited about main courses. It always has to be a sizable portion of protein, so is it just me, or do you feel like the creativity of most kitchens shines in the starter courses?
Dessert time. Jon goes for the groaning, tempting cheese cart. He’s a greedy one, but the Ledbury doesn’t hesitate to plate his sizable selection.
Me? I’m stuffed by the time we get to dessert, but I’m thinking beignets are calling my name. (Donuts fresh out of the fryer!) Turns out the beignets of my strawberry, meringue and yoghurt dessert are the least interesting. I thought I was in for a competent tarting up of Eton mess, but actually, my dessert was mind-blowingly intense and refreshing. The tangy, creamy ewe’s milk yoghurt was a great foil for the sweet, fragrant strawberries. Crunchy meringue bits for texture.
Rave reviews around the table for desserts, especially the Ledbury’s creative pairings of creme brulee flavors and ice creams.
Our server noticed that we failed to try one of the desserts on the menu, so once again brought it out as an amuse for our table. It’s the banana galette with salted caramel, passion fruit and peanut parfait. A great mix of textures and flavors, but most of all, we love the gesture. Although we were here for a 3-course Sunday lunch menu, we feel like we’ve gotten a tasting menu.
Our spirits high and our tummies full, we all rolled out of the Ledbury four hours later wondering why we hadn’t been back sooner. With all the trimmings (aperitifs, wines and coffees), our meal came to £75 a person. If you’ve eaten out reasonably often in London, you know that there are too many places charging a lot more money for a much lesser experience, so on that basis, I’d call the Sunday lunch at the Ledbury a great value. Go!
The Ledbury, 127 Ledbury Road, W11 2AQ, 0207 792 9090; Closest tubes: Notting Hill Gate, Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove. £40 Sunday lunch menu. Best deal in town.
- Click here to read about my August 2008 dinner at the Ledbury
- Click here to read about my October 2008 dinner at the Ledbury
- Click here to read about my May 2010 dinner at the Ledbury’s sibling 2-star restaurant, the Square
- and here to read about my February 2010 dinner at another 2-Michelin starred restaurant, Hibiscus