The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AQ
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Review Summary from 1 review

127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AQ


Notting Hill

Nearest Station
Westbourne Park (0.31 miles)

Restaurant Facilities

Smoking Area

Disabled Facilities

Children Welcome

Credit Cards Accepted

Outdoor Area

Booking Advisable

Australian head chef Brett Graham has been pivotal in the Ledbury’s tremendous success. It has two Michelin stars, has topped the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurant List and Restaurant’s National Restaurant Awards, and received high praise from a whole host of publications and blogs, (as well as being crowned #1 in All in London’s Ultimate Restaurant List 2012 - 2015). With restaurateur Nigel Platts-Martin and Philip Howard as co-owners - Howard is also chef and co-owner of sister restaurant the Square - and Graham’s flare in the kitchen; this is widely regarded as London’s best restaurant.

Food is heavily influenced by French cuisine, and clever flavour pairings are key. Décor is kept to a minimum but is still elegant, and perfect spacing between tables ensures diners enjoy a fair amount of privacy during their meal.

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All In London Review

... the sheer delight of those desserts will be my future benchmark which I doubt will ever be beaten.

Review Image
My challenge was to find a suitably impressive location for a work-colleague-turned-friend who has been to more cooking classes than you can shake a stick at. And who makes grown women weep with his culinary knowledge and skills.

Judging from the reservations system, the place is more than popular. I had to wait a while and pull strings to get a mid-week lunch slot. I hoped very much that the wait and effort was worthwhile.

As I was coming in from Westbourne Park and my friend from Notting Hill, we agreed to meet outside. I walked along the residential streets wondering whether I was in the right place and finally spied the bitter chocolate-coloured corner converted-pub building. The high level greenery around the deserted al fresco dining area only hinted at the wonders within.

A super-efficient receptionist whisked his coat away and handed me a table clip for my handbag and we were quickly led by a friendly but upright young man through the dining room to our table. I was surprised I didn’t get a “wow” feeling from the décor. Another surprise was that amongst the various diners – same and mixed sex couples, groups of four, a lone American - were a couple of large family groups. With quite young (extremely well behaved) children. Lucky kids! I’d expected a hallowed hush but this was a much more down-to-earth and relaxed environment than some Michelin restaurants. I exhaled with relief.

As we were handed creamy menus bearing muted watercolour illustrations of feathers and shells, the waiter chatted and asked whether we had any allergies and enquired what water we would like. While my companion surveyed the wine list, I took in the sweeping brown curtains, mirrored walls giving light and depth to the room, translucent window screens providing privacy and creamy striped no-nonsense but comfortable chairs.

I was a little surprised at the plain cutlery but my companion liked it. I wasn’t going to start a gender war and focused instead on the interesting but rather odd small sculptures on each table. We had a log, others had curved stones. There were a fair few staff gliding around, but they certainly weren’t intrusive and were expert at judging when to refill water and wine glasses. They smiled a lot too, which was nice.

While we focused on the menus, two morsels on a stone dish were presented to us – a hazelnut biscuit supporting a creamy foie gras swirl. The sweetness was unusual - my companion liked it but I wasn’t so sure. The nine-course tasting menu (two nearby gents raved about this when my companion chatted to them in the loos about it later) was priced at £105 per person and £175 with wines. It did look rather splendid. At the other end of the scale the £30 for two courses deal (£35 for three courses) looked like excellent value for money although the choice was limited.

My companion chose the wine - 2011 Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand (£49) which he told me had been recommended by a wine expert in York. Who was I to argue? It was an excellent choice from my perspective – light, flavoursome and very drinkable. When the bread basket was presented, he zoomed in on the sour dough (he had a second helping it was so good) and I selected a warm brioche containing tiny crystals of ham. Marvellous.

He started with flame grilled mackerel with pickled cucumber, Celtic mustard and Shiso (£15). I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this masterpiece – presented on midnight blue earthenware plate. I admired the incredible work that must have gone into placing the ingredients so beautifully within the semi-transparent rectangular sleeve of cucumber. Despite mackerel being fiendishly hard to do well, my companion declared that he would return to the restaurant just for this dish.

My Roast Scottish scallops with fennel, Mousserons and elderflower (£17.50) was another artistic triumph. And the sight of it – with a gnarled wooden skewer and sprinkled with miniscule pale flowers – took me back to the stunning fish dishes I had been presented with in Southern Japan many years ago. The delicate fennel fronds against tiny cubes of mushroom were delicious whilst the three substantial scallops were lightly crisped on the outside and firm but moist inside.

Another amuse-bouche arrived – this time it was morel in Earl Grey tea cream with Jersey Royal potato mash. While my companion explained how expensive these mushrooms were, I simply enjoyed the textures – including a pea froth and watercress leaves and a scent evocative of warm vegetable soup from a country kitchen. My companion wasn’t entirely convinced that they worked together. He was wrong.

I took this opportunity to visit the ladies and went down some steps noticing that the dark brown wallpaper actually had a subtle design with pictures of shelves bearing interesting ingredients and objects. Even the hand wash (Aesops aromatics) had a startling impact on my senses.

He enjoyed his roast breast and confit of pigeon with red vegetables and leaves, foie gras and cherries (£32). I admit I would have found poultry that rare a challenge although he declared it expertly cooked – earthy and moist. But I think I won with my fillet of seabass with broccoli stem, crab and black quinoa (£32). The bald stem looked like sea weed making it picture perfect and the precise covering of quinoa (it must have taken forever to position) gave a fabulous texture and taste. The aesthetics of this dish were almost matched by the perfection of the way the fish was cooked. I would return simply for this dish. Masterful.

A pre-dessert arrived. Strawberry granita, impossibly tiny wild strawberries, whipped ewe’s cream and shavings of meringue. It was the poshest and most exquisite Eton Mess ever. Words cannot describe how those cool, creamy and sharp tastes melted on your tongue – a mouthful of grown-up summer seaside.

Feeling close to sensory overload we waited for our desserts. As a brulee fan, I thought my burnt cream of lemon thyme with crushed apples, vanilla and olive oil (£9) was a brilliant choice. The side of madeleines were warm, sugary clouds studded with white chocolate gems and I am ashamed to admit that I ate them all.

But my companion’s pave of chocolate with milk puree and lovage ice cream (£9) left him literally speechless. I laughed out loud as I watched his face contort with pleasure as he attacked the pale green artwork on a tree illustrated plate. When he was finally able to speak he declared it the ultimate Careless Whisper moment with “I’m never gonna cook again – years of studying and I will never make something that perfect”.

The petits fours and coffees followed. I am sure they were good but we were still reeling from the sensational desserts. The bill came to £192.94.

At the end of our meal, we were honoured to be allowed a sneaky peek into the kitchen below. And we met the impossibly young owner Brett and his team of nine permanent staff (who all remained focused on the many tasks at hand) and numerous people learning their craft in the heat. You couldn’t meet a more charming and earnest man as he proudly showed us the state-of-the-art equipment in his recently refurbished kitchen, talked us through beef and pigeon supplier management and discussed the challenges of cooking mackerel just so. And he happily chatted about his family and pet pug who he takes to the parks in West London. He must surely be one of the most likeable and modest top chefs I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

I have had the good fortune to eat at many amazing restaurants. The food and service at The Ledbury were faultless and truly outstanding but there was something captivating about the lack of pretension. The visual images of the food are seared onto my memory and the sheer delight of those desserts will be my future benchmark which I doubt will ever be beaten.

Reviewed by KimT
Published on Jun 14, 2013

High prices but great food that fits the bill

Australian prodigy Brett Graham (his career as a chef began at the age of 15) opened high end restaurant The Ledbury in 2005. Since then there’s been a lengthy recession however it shows no sign of waning – it earned its second Michelin star in 2010, and there is only one table left when I call up to reserve for a Thursday lunchtime.

Décor is minimal, almost demure, with a simple colour scheme of brown and cream. Mirrors and large windows give the impression of space, plus the tables are distanced far away from each other to avoid any embarrassing eavesdropping. But where the dining room is paired down, the menu is filled with exciting combinations, at prices that fit in with its moneyed postcode. Help is at hand for us plebs however, thanks to the set lunch which is just £35 a head for three courses.

Starters are a choice between mackerel and hare. The flame grilled mackerel is paired with creamy smoked eel tartare; there are also some very bright green chunks of pickled cucumber that are more refreshing than vinegary, and dabs of Celtic mustard and shiso sauce are equally decorative. The hare compote is delicious, the very slight sweetness of a parsnip puree is great with the gamey, chunky meat, however the addition of parsnip crisps seems a little unnecessary unless intended for presentation only, as a crunchy element is certainly not needed.

The main course is another toss-up between fish and meat. Brill is a white fish that often gets compared to turbot, but is a little milder in flavour. Here it is served in two ways: roasted, which brings out its mellow sweetness, and breaded, like a posh version of a fish finger, which is just a little bit on the dry side. There is a drizzle of smoked oyster milk, herring roe sprinkled over the top of the roasted fish, braised fennel and chives, which in the case of the latter there should be more of, as the oniony taste suits perfectly. Oh, and there are some little purple flowers on the plate too.

The meat dish is a middle white pork chop, just fatty enough to be gloriously juicy, with a pork cheek garnished with roasted almonds, and sliced black pudding lurking underneath. A crispy potato rosti also contains pork, and there is a hunk of roasted celeriac and dried chicory to cut through the meatiness.

Due to a nut allergy a dessert from the à la carte menu has to be ordered, but the waiter courteously includes this as part of the set menu without so much as a whisper. Sadly there is a little too much bitter rhubarb layered within the wispy pastry of the millefeuille, and even with the creamy Sauternes ice cream it doesn’t really work, the only real dud of an otherwise great meal. The malt tart on the other hand expertly combines a biscuit base with firm custard, caramel, apple ice cream and a sweet cider sauce.

Not bad at all for £35 a head, but with drinks this starts to rocket. Add a bottle of still water, two glasses of Chablis and two dessert wines and the bill comes to a hefty £144. Still, the Chablis, the syrupy Sauternes, and the drier Malaga Ariyanas Moscatel go down a treat, much like the rest of the meal.

Reviewed by Leila
Published on Mar 20, 2012

In The News

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Our pick of London's award-winning restaurants

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As of 2012, The Ledbury is the 14th best restaurant in the world according to San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best. Add to that two Michelin stars, winning Restaurant of the Year in 2010 in the National Restaurant Awards, and topping our very own Ultimate Restaurant List in 2012 and chef Brett Graham has plenty to feel smug about.

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London's best Fine Dining Restaurants

So much more than just a dandy plate of food

This neighbourhood restaurant serves exquisite, French-inspired food in an understated yet elegant restaurant. Service is slick, yet friendly, and head chef Brett Graham is a deft hand in the kitchen - the clever dishes are as pleasurable to eat as they are to look out. It’s little wonder The Ledbury keeps clocking up awards.

Our pick of Michelin-starred restaurants picture

Our pick of Michelin-starred restaurants

The most influential gastronomic ratings in Europe

Dishes at The Ledbury have exquisite pairings and garnishes, one example being roasted brill with smoked oyster milk and herring roe. Presentation is picture perfect, in contrast to the demure dining room, however the fantastic food does all the talking here. Recipient of two Michelin stars since 2010.

Restaurants with the best Tasting Menus in London picture

Restaurants with the best Tasting Menus in London

Strap yourself in and prepare to taste

London’s best restaurant has an 8 course tasting menu. Chef Brett Graham shows off his skills with dishes like jowl of pork with girolles and apricots and flame grilled mackerel with pickled cucumber.

Restaurants with the best set menus in London picture

Restaurants with the best set menus in London

Side-step the hassle of decision-making

London’s favourite restaurant offers a set lunch menu priced at £45 for four courses. The dishes show as much flair as those on the à la carte, for a fraction of the cost.

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London's restaurants rated best for service

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The Ledbury frequently comes at the top of restaurant lists whether they are rating establishments in London or in other parts of the world. One of the reasons is the excellent front of house, which ensures diners are looked after. As head chef Brett Graham says: “We want to make sure they have the best possible experience.”

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