The Ledbury is London’s only two-starred restaurant that has managed to retain the charm of the ‘local’, more commonly found in British pubs than in Michelin-starred restaurants. Anyone who has dined here will have noticed how relaxing and welcoming the staff are. Rarely does eating in a two-star feel so effortless and comfortable as it does here. With Stephen Quinn at the helm of the black brigade, you have one of the best English front-of-house teams at work.
However, there’s more to this restaurant than just the service. Much more.
Take for instance the wine list. Here you’ll find Selosse, Henri Bonneau, Sine Qua Non, and just about anything great to drink. But, interestingly enough, even the lower spectrum is well covered, with bargains such as Richard Leroy’s beautiful Anjou wines. It might not be the broadest selection, but it is certainly one of the best in town. On the down side, the recent price increase here, just as in The Square Restaurant in Mayfair, was a bit frightening. Let’s hope the rise stops here, as affordable good wines are part of the charm of The Ledbury.
In Brett Graham, London has found its most able and exciting chef. Obsessed by what he does, Graham lives his passion with every breath. Having followed this restaurant for a good two years, we’ve seen just how quickly things move here. The cooking is constantly being refined, becoming cleaner, more precise and focused. Graham’s food is special because first and foremost, he knows that his produce can make or break his food. He is probably the most committed chef in London when it comes to sourcing the best and freshest produce. Take for instance his fish. Supplied by a fisherman in Cornwall, its quality beats anything served in London’s other top restaurants (except maybe The Square). When you get served a cut of wild sea bass as thick as the Bible at least, you know you’re in for an excellent piece of fish, especially, if it was landed that very morning and has the texture and meatiness only a pristine piece of bass can have. Cooked just with herbs, it might be served with cauliflower, a truffle purée or grated truffles. As simple as this may sound, it would be hard to find a better fish dish in London.
Just as great here is the game (occasionally shot by Brett himself in his little time off), his cooking of partridge, grouse or venison is top-notch. Take the latter, for example, whenever Graham gets his hands on some Sika or Mountjack deer, venison is pretty much always on the menu. Roasted on the bone and then smoked on Douglas fir, the meat has unrivalled texture and flavour. Best ordered medium rare, the meat is smooth as butter and has layer upon layer of flavour. The subtle smoky notes from the Douglas fir add further complexity to the gamey character of the meat and give the whole dish a reassuring, heart-warming side. Whilst the garnish for this beauty constantly changes, one thing is sure. The quality of the venison is sublime, the garnish always enhances it and the cooking displayed is beyond criticism!
The list of such dishes could go on forever, as the food at The Ledbury is far better than anything else in London. Seeing how quickly Graham is evolving, it will remain the most fascinating restaurant in town.