**This restaurant no longer serves halal!**
A couple of weeks ago, it was my 22nd birthday and naturally I insisted on celebrating for a whole entire week; otherwise known as birthday week!! I love birthday week; not is it just a whole week of celebrations revolving around me but it means a whole cheat week of my most favourite meals and restaurants possible. And who did I give the responsibility to this year for this outrageous party week? Nope, not myself, not mum and dad – but BW himself – lucky guy!
It was up to him to ensure that every day for a whole seven days – I would feel like it’s my birthday and I must say, he fared quite well. Well he decided to start the birthday week off with a bang and took me out on Saturday night for a special dinner. No other details were given except to “look like a girl for once”.
We pulled up in front of The Ledbury and my mouth dropped in shock! I had recently read that The Ledbury, nestled away on Ledbury Road in pretty Notting Hill, was ranked number 13 of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World in 2013
We entered the restaurant and were instantly greeted by the quiet yet cosy atmosphere of the restaurant and were seated instantly. As we were halal customers, they suggested the tasting menu since they had all the halal meats available at the time – you usually need to call a couple of weeks in advance to request a halal menu.
As you can see, there were a lot of courses – eleven courses in one sitting was something even my expansive stretchy pants probably could not cope with but it was my birthday so I thought why not!
With regards to photo quality, I don’t think taking out a camera to snap the food would have been appreciated in the restaurant so I had to make do with sly shots on my iPhone. I didn’t even think to take out my phone for the first two courses so unfortunately there are no pictures of the first two.
Cevice of Hand Dived Scallops with Tokyo Turnips and Frozen Horseradish
This was a surprisingly cold dish which actually worked considering the use of turnips and horseradish snow; both which were subtle and provided a small kick to the large and sweet scallops
Flame Grilled Mackerel with Pickled Cucumber, Celtic Mustard and Shiso
The mackerel was BW’s favourite dish of the night – a small chunk of smoky mackerel with the crispiest skin possible- it was just simply delicious.
Crapaudine Beetroot with Smoked Eel and Dried Olives
As soon as someone hears the word eel, they shudder away from the thought of consuming such a slippery fish however this small silver of smoky eel was served with a large wedge of beetroot and small crunchy black olive pieces.
Hampshire Buffalo Milk Curd with Aged Comte, Cepes and a Broth of Grilled Onions
A bowl of milk curd was put in front of us with three different types of mushrooms and we proceeded to watch a hot, steaming onion broth being poured into the bowl whilst on the side, two truffle infused toasts, with melted cheese on top, were served on a bed of pine leaves. It sounds a bit confusing but the broth melted into the milk curd – meaning I couldn’t resist dunking my crunchy, cheesy toast into it; at least I think that’s what I was supposed to do!
Roast Dover Sole with Pumpkin, Mandarin and Ginger
This flaky fish was served with a slight crisp and in a mixed puddle of pumpkin, mandarin and ginger. The mandarin on the side and in the sauce provided a slight tangy taste to the dover sole which was offset by the sweetness of the pumpkin and ginger.
Roast Poussin with Parsnip, Pear and Dandelion
The roast poussin was a breast of baby chicken. It was quite craftfully presented, with shavings of parsnip and pear. The dandelions were, as you can see, draped over the chicken covered in another flavourful, sweet sauce. On the side, was a smaller piece of chicken skin and, like the mackerel, was deliciously crispy.
Loin and Neck of Cornish Lamb with Jerusalem Artichokes, Padron Pepper and Herb Sauce
Soft, tender and pink (mmm my favourite) lamb slices were served with squishy pearls of Jerusalem artichoke. This was by far my most favourite dish of the night. The meat, soaked in the accompanying herb sauce, melted instantly in my mouth
Banana and Chocolate Malt Tartlet
A pre-dessert of sorbet was served as a palate cleanser but then the best part of the meal was served – the dessert! By this point, I was in absolute food coma, and thought to myself that I possibly couldn’t finish the final dish but of course, anything involving chocolate meant I finished it to the last crumb. It was sweet ending to a great meal. As were the delicious petit fours served straight after which I couldn’t help but also eat as well!
The service was outstanding with each dish being explained thoroughly when served and constant attention being given throughout the meal. Glasses were filled without asking, new cutlery for every dish and hey, they even provided bag holders for the handbags! And for those who worry about the restaurant being too snooty, this is not the case with the friendly wait staff and the relaxed atmosphere.
The small details that this restaurant goes into is beyond amazing. As you can see from the above (poor quality) iPhone photos, there was a vast amount of creativity that was being put into every dish. But it didn’t stop there, from serving the freshest and crunchiest breads, to serving small random dishes in between that weren’t even on the menu, The Ledbury continued to impress me throughout the evening.
At a price of £105.00 per person without service, this meal definitely was not a cheap affair but I cannot emphasise how much detail went into every dish. I couldn’t find a fault in anything I had eaten – it was simply one – actually no – it was the best meal I had ever eaten in London but I expected nothing less from a two Michelin star restaurant.
Of course, now this means that for next 60 birthdays to come, BW will have to top this birthday meal off with something even more incredible each time just to keep his fat little wife happy (yes, he proposed!) but for now, this was one of the most memorable meals I have ever had and simply the best birthday present I could have been given!
As for the rest of the birthday week, I was treated to Red Iron’s juicy burgers (and a taster of their infamous hot sauce – ohmygoodness do this at your own peril), the freshest yellowtail sushi possible at Shogun in the Millenium Hotel on Grosvenor Square, delicious Wafflemeister waffles drenched in hot Nutella, and fresh, crumbly, home-made chocolate cake with cold custard (thanks Mum!). What a great way to say goodbye to 21 and open my arms wide for my 22nd year of life!
Halal status verified by the restaurant
Address: 127 Ledbury Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2AQ
Telephone: 020 7792 9090
Nearest Station: Ladbroke Grove
Parking: Available outside restaurant and all surrounding streets via pay machine