Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday Lunch @ The Ledbury

The cyber world hardly needs yet another person to say how amazing The Ledbury is, let alone a wannabe food blogger, but there are some exciting new(ish?) things on the menu right now so I thought I'd post pictures of our gastronomical conquests today (my friend lent me his Canon 550D for his revision period). I hope I do the meal justice, though I don't know exactly what I ate! I know, it's terrible.

Canapé - Foie gras mousse on ginger biscuit
Being an indecisive person and a fine dining noob, I spent the night before perusing and wiki-ing the online menu with my friend to decide on which dishes to order. Sadly, the menu we were presented with was quite different!

I briefly lamented the loss of the buffalo milk curd. But no matter: everything was clearly going to be good anyways.

After the lovely canapé came the bread. 

Onion and bacon brioche, olive bread
Oh-so-fresh! The olive bread had a delicate crispy outer layer while the brioche had generous bits of bacon nested inside. We thought the portion of butter given was rather small... until it was replaced right after we finished it. It was like being at Hogwarts where the plates of food magically replenish themselves.

For starters, three out of four of us settled on the herefordshire snails... what a wise move.

Herefordshire snails wrapped in a Mouselline of Wild Herbs and Garlic with Roasting Juices and Celeriac
I was halfway through before I realised the picture above did not capture the highlight of the dish. Sorry about that.

The green stuff (I suppose that was the mouselline?) was very interesting - softer than the escargot within, but with a similar texture. We loved how chewy it was. Oh it was so good, I can't even describe.

Ceviche of Scallops with Seaweed and Herb Oil, Kohlrabi and Frozen Horseradish
My friend thought this was great; the frozen horseradish added an interesting contrast to the scallops.

Being a bunch of meat-lovers, we all chose red meat for the mains.

The waiter came out with the plate of suckling pig to explain how it was cooked: skewered with licorice roots and smoked to enhance the flavour... it was hard to concentrate with the lovely smells wafting our way. I thought the dish looked great already but it was then returned to the kitchen to be plated.

Crisp Pressed Suckling Pig and Pork Jowl, White Carrot and Black Pudding
The portion that then came out was smaller than what we were shown.. we were one of the earliest bookings so we guessed that the other portions would be for later diners.

Loin and Shoulder of Lamb with an Aubergine Glazed with Black Sugar and Garlic, Green Tomato Juice and Black Olives

I think this was the best main out of the three mains we tried. There's a word in cantonese that describes that strong flavour that's often in lamb and which some people dislike. Gamey? Well I love that taste, and it was in full force here. Both cuts of meat were excellent and the aubergine was definitely not an afterthought!

Loin of Roe Deer Baked in Douglas Fir with Beetroot, Smoked Bone Marrow, Crisp Potato and Pinot Lees

Knowing that Brett Graham is big on game, us two girls chose the deer and it ended up being the most generously portioned! OMG this was so good. Even the potato was packed full of flavour. My favourite part of this dish was probably the bone marrow: it had a wonderful smokiness and the crispy garnish on top added a great contrast in texture. The beetroot and deer really complemented each other.

Oh was I glad to see the brown sugar tart on the dessert menu... I was almost swayed by the summery-sounding milk mousse with strawberries, but my friend opted for that and I stuck with the tart.

Brown Sugar Tart with Grapes and Stem Ginger Ice Cream

This did not disappoint at all! Seriously as good as other people have said (e.g. Catty). I loved the crunchy sugar base. The ice cream melted a little fast in the summer warmth though.

Ewes Milk Mousse with Wild Strawberries, Strawberry Sorbet, Meringues and Beignet
As imagined, the milk mousse really looked like a summer treat - and even prettier! The strawberries gave a sourness to the dessert that my friend really appreciated after his unctuous suckling pig. Good move there my friend.

From what I remember the beignets were cinnamon coated... Very nice and soft on the inside, though I would have preferred the surface area to volume ratio to be larger... I love me some overly sweet cinnamon rolls.

Caramelised Banana Galette with Salted Caramel, Passion Fruit and Peanut Oil Parfait

My friend did enjoy this but he said the other options were slightly better. I would agree but I'm just not a huge fan of warm banana... I did like this though.

Blueberry Jelly, Caramel Biscuit, Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel
I just love the tin that the petit fours came in - what a pleasant vintage surprise at the end of our meal. 

As many others have said, service was perfect. Our glasses of water were filled religiously; the waiters and manager were affable and not overbearing; even our napkins were folded right after we went off to the "lavatory". 

So that concludes our excellent sunday lunch. This may not have been a great review but by God, I tried. Oh dear, just blogging about it is getting me excited again. I must go again for a week day lunch to try the much-hyped Celeriac Baked in Ash!!! 


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