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the beef dish is a direct lift from the current Square menu

Well, not quite actually. The Square has "fillet of aged beef with a saute of snail and morels, bone marrow and bordelaise sauce" while The Ledbury's version is "fillet of beef with red wine sauce and a croustillant of snails, oxtail and celeriac". Beef, red wine sauce and snails present in both however so I was nearly right.

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This was swiftly followed by a pair of panko covered, spinach stuffed frogs legs served with a pot of watercress mayonnaise, a combination that normally accompany the lobster terrine. I could have eaten a bucket of them (which, thinking about it, gives me an idea for a fast food chain.)

Any other ideas, or are just going to serve frog nuggets?


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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This looks very exciting...have booked for next Thursday evening. Last night, La Trompette (under James Bennington - thanks Andy) was at least as impressive as the old regime - the warm paysanne salad and veal cheek were good picks - the cdb has gone thrice cooked chips.

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I think it was time for Ollie to move on from La Trompette and I hope he does well at The Dorchester although I have to say it seems like a strange move to me.

Do let us know what you think of The Ledbury.

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Chicory- is this the breakthrough ingredient of the summer? I was served a very good chicory cheesecake with chicory ripple icecream at The Champignon Sauvage last weekend. Hadn't seen chicory for ages (I remember instant coffee with chicory from the Co-Op when I was young) and now another mention...


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Yes I've had that too...but have forgone an upgrade on the wine for Thursday by sponsoring your good cause £20.....all the best....with no intention to curry favour I might add....speaking of curry, went to Vineet Bhatia the other week and thought it were trop cher.


Edited by Marlyn4k (log)

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Nigel Platts-Martin has yet another winner in his stable. I'll definately be going back for more - £39.50 is excellent value. I can't write up the experience as I was made bleary eyed by the Bresse Pigeon - not 'moiresque' emotion but through sheer richness. Indeed that effortlessly rich and belied sophistication of the 2 star trademark was evident in abundance. I'm not one to judge but my punt is 1/7/3 within 12 months, then upward and onward to wherever they wish to go guide wise. London's newcomer of the year - and not just this year!

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Having off loaded the kids for the weekend, I took Gill for lunch last Friday at The Ledbury. The main dining room was as quiet as the first time I dined, although the now complete terrace was busy enough (where we spotted Laura Aikens dining with two unidentified male companions).

The lovely Helena Hell was sadly absent although my wife didn't seem to mind too much for some reason. Service was a little less than perfect with a request made for our wine order before we had ordered food, and dishes being delivered to the wrong person (we were but two). Champagne (white for me, Billecart Salmon Rose for her) was swiftly followed by a shot glass of deliciously spicy gazpacho with tiny dice of cucumber, topped with good old fashioned peppery cress. Three generously stuffed lobster tortellini each were acompanied by fennel fondue and a lobster and basil cappuccino - very Square, very Howard, very bloody lovely.

Roast cod had a beautifully roasted, crisp skin, as did confit of guinea fowl, the former served with a mouclade of mussels and curry, the latter with warm salad of potatoes, mache and lots of girolles. Both were terrific.

A pre-dessert of lemon grass jelly with a brunoise of pineapple and delicate coconut froth did its palate cleansing thing to very agreable effect and preceeded a vanilla yoghurt parfait with matchless churros and blueberry sorbet for me and a truly stunning millefeuilles of raspberries with raspberry ripple ice cream for the missus. Regis the pastry chef, also ex of Square, deserves equal credit to the much lauded Brett Graham for maintaining the impossibly high standard of cooking right to the last bite of chocolate Madeleine. I couldn't resist a glass of Greecian muscat dessert wine (no other details, sorry) and only the promise of falling into the superb Ladbroke Arms for a post-lunch drink and an hour or so of Aussie-bashing cricket (sorry Brett) prevented me from indulging in a digestif.

A bottle of excellent Limoux chardonnay from the Languedoc was a snip at £25.00, a choice approved of by sommelier Dawn Davies (he preened. But I bet she says that to all the cheap skates that order below £30.00), and bought the bill to a not unreasonable £118.00 for two set menus at £24.50, coffee, water, wine, champagne and service. A cracking lunch in a beautiful room on a lovely day with my gorgeous wife. Life can be so good sometimes.

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Having off loaded the kids for the weekend, I took Gill for lunch at The Ledbury last Friday. The main dining room was as quiet as the first time I dined, although the now complete terrace was busy enough (where we spotted Laura Aikens dining with two unidentified male companions).

For a minute there I thought you were hanging out with ersatz "food critics" from the murdoch press... :raz:

J


Edited by Jon Tseng (log)

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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Good stuff about the ledbury, i'm supposed be trying ity next week so now i'm rather looking forward to it.

Interesting you mentioned the Ladbroke Arms. Easily my favourite pub in London. Good beer, well thought wine list, and excellent food.

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The hanging baskets at the Ladbroke are looking magnificent at the moment if you're into that sort of thing.

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Forgot to mention that The Ledbury are now offering an 8 course tasting menu for a pretty reasonable £55.00. Its mostly made up of items from the a la carte such as lasgane of rabbit with girolles and veloute of thyme but a few courses such as roast foie gras with grilled fig, fig puree and grue de cocoa and raspberry souffle with mascarpone and lemon verbena particular to it.

(BTW - will their website ever be launched?)

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The lovely Helena Hell was sadly absent

I read in an unhistoric Winner review in the Sunday Times ten days ago or so that The Lovely Helena Hell ™ has left the Ledbury... I don't know where she's gone though.

A bottle of excellent Limoux chardonnay from the Languedoc was a snip at £25.00,

That is a lovely drop and always value for money.

Cheers, Howard

(Editted 'cos my HTML quoting didn't work)


Edited by howardlong (log)

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The lovely Helena Hell was sadly absent

I read in an unhistoric Winner review in the Sunday Times ten days ago or so that The Lovely Helena Hell ™ has left the Ledbury... I don't know where she's gone though.

Sweden apparently - very sad news indeed. The good news though is that The Ledbury has just won Best New Restaurant in the Restaurateur's restaurant awards.

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I ate again at the Ledbury on Saturday, I won't go into detail with the food, I thought it was good, however, my other half was this time a little less enthusiastic. The rabbit Lasagne was a good start, Dover sole with Chicken wings, Chicken jus and cockscomb was a rich dish which perhaps didn't show the Fish off to its best. I finished with the cheese trolley which was a bit hit and miss. Good vacherin, poor Comte. A friends plate had a cheese I don't remember but was pretty poor.

The main problem with the meal was the service, whilst well meaning it was, to be honest a little shoddy. Menus were delivered and within 90 seconds we were asked if we had any questions regarding themenu. Dirty plates remained on the table for 10 minutes or more, my starter plate hadn't been polished and was very smeary. It was difficult to attract the waiters attention, tables were crowded. It was impossible to move the cheese trolley effectively and the waiter was unable to serve the cheese up straight from the trolley due to a lack of space. I hope this was just an off night, it was very busy but that isn't really an excuse. :hmmm:


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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The more I think abou this the more it annoys me, luckily I was distracted on the night as we had company. They also delivered a Souffle a good couple of minutes before the other dessert/cheese and managed to place the dishes in front of the wrong person 3 times!


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Went here last night - called at the last minute on the off chance of a table, and was accomodated charmingly. All round, a very nice FOH bunch, especilly the (Dutch?) manager/maitre. The food was very up and down, however.

To start an amuse of pumpkin soup (oh dear, we're back on the bloody pumpkin amuses until blinkin' February, are we?) with a stunningly clever addition of a layer of vacherin veloute poured on top. Eh eh, I thought, a brilliant way to save a dull convention - until I tasted the thing, and found the gun powder wet, so to speak. The vacherin was too light, and so didn't contribute much in flavour.

Still, a modest problem.

Next, I ordered the two specials - scallops with mushrooms (chantrelles I think) and white truffles, and the assiette of game.

With a 15 pound supplement, the scallop dish had problems in every direction. Three very large scallops (where two would have done), placed on a platform of squished mushrooms. That is, they pan fried a large quantity of good fungi, and then squished them into a mold until they lost any possible shape they might have once held. Onto these, they shaved a poor amount of white truffle, from what appeared to be either miniscule truffles, or truffle scraps. There wasn't a shaving larger than a centimetre.

The point is, if they'd taken two of these oversized scallops and cut each of them in two or three slices, then served the mushrooms around the side, it would have been a better dish. It just seemed messy, meagre, and disrespectful of its ingredients.

Kate had the 'Papillote of Red Mullet with Creamed Fennel, Green Olives and Red Mullet Brandade.' This was a beautiful presentation. The mullet, deboned and reassembled, wrapped in the grease-proof paper with only the tail fins extruding. A paint brush shmear of green across the plate. On the side, a nice presentation of brandade in a glass with a small spoon. This brandade was full of flavour, delicious, but the main dish was incredibly light in flavour. It tasted of cooked fish, and although it was cooked adequately, it was certainly not the most delicately prepared example I could think of, with not much else going on.

For mains, with a £5 supplement, I had the assiette of game. Again, the presentation was lovely. Left to right, a split woodcock head (with a toothpick to get at the brains), a breast resting on pumpkin puree, loin of venison on red cabbage, a lasagne of partridge and cèpes. A game jus. In a separate cup-sized copper pot, ballotine of hare (and quite a baby at that) resting on pomme purée. This was pretty good eating, and I enjoyed the opportunity to dig into some woodcock brains. The venison was quite good - exceptionally tender.

They had, however, bolloxed up the partridge and cèpe lasagne. Using a chicken or partridge mousseline to bind the thing together, it had completely siezed up from over cooking, and had the texture of a well done omelet.

Kate had the 'Assiette of Lamb with Borlotti Beans, Artichokes and Herb Oil' which she seemed to enjoy (more so after I swiped her sweetbreads). Again it looked like a really accomplished dish - very French Laundry in appearance, for those who have seen the picture in the book - and the lamb was clearly young.

At this point neither of us had much room for dessert, so we waved the white flag and asked for the bill. Still, along came a couple of pre-desserts (I can't remember what) and some chocolates, which we ate, anyway.

Still, I was surprised when the bill came to find they had charged us for the full three courses each, plus supplements. It might well have been a prix fixe meal, and not a very expensive one at that considering the general standard of cooking. In addition, there were two sets of amuses, and a pre-dessert, and none of that is free. But if they had reduced the bill by even a token amount, they would have done more to ensure our repeat custom. I didn't complain because 45 pounds in the grand scheme of haute cooking is not an ostentatious sum. Still, if the cooking had lived up to its own standard, I would return sooner than I shall.


Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Call me a tight-fisted philistine, but I hardly ever think its worth paying such whopping supplements for truffles, white or black. I've had a number of dishes with them in this year and none of them have even remotely blown my socks off.

Its interesting that you had issues with he food and not the service, its been the other way round for me on my two visits. Was the place busy? Do you think the kitchen might have been stretched hence the over-cooked mousse?

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No - we were the first table seated - 6.30. By the time we left - before 9 - it was barely 3/4 full.

The service throughout was impeccable. Charming, quiet, helpful when asked, absent when not needed.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Call me a tight-fisted philistine, but I hardly ever think its worth paying such whopping supplements for truffles, white or black. I've had a number of dishes with them in this year and none of them have even remotely blown my socks off.

So far this year I have not either had any Alba truffles that have blown me out of the socks. My feeling is that it has been a pretty average year from a quality point of view. However, I had the first black truffles of the season last weekend and they showed a maturity that was surprisingly good for early December. Whether these were freaks or a sign of lots of early maturing high quality black truffles this year is too soon to say.


When my glass is full, I empty it; when it is empty, I fill it.

Gastroville - the blog

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The truffles recently at the River cafe were worth the entry fee.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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The truffles recently at the River cafe were worth the entry fee.

Yes, but did they blow you out of the socks? That is the issue.


When my glass is full, I empty it; when it is empty, I fill it.

Gastroville - the blog

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The truffles recently at the River cafe were worth the entry fee.

Yes, but did they blow you out of the socks? That is the issue.

Weeell... I did sense a little levitation, but I admit, I think I kept my footwear.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Lunch today. I was very impressed. In general I have been very underwhelmed by restaurants of this type, so I was surprised to enjoy this meal so much.

A wafer of filo pstary with some truffled cream

A deep fried ball of salt cod in a jerusalem artichoke veloute

starters

lasagne of rabbit in a thyme veloute'. Not a veloute really, but very tasty foamy sauce and a very smooth puree of cepes. Lots of small chanterelles and I think other mushrooms (oops, there go my foodie credentials) Nice textures -- the filling of the lasagne was a quite firm forcemeat so the textural experience was very unlike a true lasgne -- the filling was firmer than the pasta. Flavours were fab. This was really nice to eat.

the mulllet en papillote mentioned upstream. My daughter loved this.

mains

Roast hare. Interesting presentation: saddle meat was cut off the backbone and coiled up against the fanned ribs (hard to explain). Bed of sauteed mushrooms, slightly sticky sauce. A couple of leafs of spinach wilted in. Tender, flavourful meat, maybe slightly underdone to my taste. Again succesful.

pudding was not quite so nice: caramelised pear, some crisp tuiley type things with chestnut puree and something else in. A bit too elaborate and the pear got lost.

Lovely wine, excellent service. I liked it a lot. I'll be back.

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My girlfriend and I went for dinner last night (saturday) and had a table booked for 9.45pm.

We arrived to be told our table would not be ready for another 15 minutes and that the small seating area they have is full :hmmm: We were advised of two local pubs and ended going just down the road. After 30 mins or so we returned to be told it still wasnt ready and there was still no where to sit so would we like to have some champagne at the reception? We did and were kind of regretting returning and if it hadnt been 10.30 would probably have gone somewhere else.

This is the first time this has happened to us at a starred place and were a bit suprised.

We were so glad we stayed!

We opted for the tasting menu and after talking to the fantastic female sommelier went for mainly Italian wines. We ate

Bread was bacon brioche roulade slices and sourdough with good salty butter. Both very good

*Canape of crispy brique pastry with foie gras parfait and cress, lovely with the champagne, tasty and simple.

*Amuse of liquorice roasted scallop with onion puree, crispy shallots and mushroom puree. Absoluteley superb dish and given as a suprise, the menu simpy states 'Amuse'

*Loin of tuna wrapped in Basil with a salad of radish and soy. Again lovely and light, fragrant and with the radish, basil and citrus flavours it was palate cleansing.

*Lasagne of rabbit and chanterelles with thyme veloute. The well documented signiture dish that for me more than lived up to its reputation

*Roasted seabass with pumpkin gnocchi and ginger. Perfectly cooked, crispy bass with julienne confit ginger, mushroom duxelle, pumpkin gnocchi and pumpkin puree. The dish was spicy, earthy and very well balanced with several strong flavours all complementing the bass and not outdoing it.

*Roasted foie gras with port glazed pear, fig puree and grue de cocoa. For me the weakest dish we had but still very interesting. Ther foie gras was crusted in a toasted hazlenut caramel, served with the cocoa sauce and the pear and fig. The dish was nice to eat but the sauce alone was slightly off putting and it was not the best liver i have eaten

*Pyrenean milk fed lamb baked in hay with creamed potato, truffle and celery

The dish was served as an assiette of lamb with rump, liver, kidney, shoulder and best end and is almost gently smoked by the hot hay in the oven. A super buttery potato laced with grated truffle and truffle slices and garnished with diced celery and crispy celery leaves. An outstanding simply presented dish and showed the lamb in all its glory it just missed some sweetbreads for me.

* Cheese. Nice selection with a good double gloucester and several options of British cheeses with the usual french suspects

* Sauternes custard with dried apricots and vanilla. A small shot glass arranged like a trifle of layers with a rich custard, vanilla cream and juicy, chewy dried friut. Very good and suprisingly light and tangy

*Chocolate souffle with honeycomb and banana. A Square quality perfect chocolate souffle with pieces of chewy honycom, banana ice cream and chocolate sauce. A little too generous in size but delicious with classic combinations of flavours

*Petit fours. Simple chocolate mint discs, small financiers and another i cannot remember!

We drank

2001 Roncus Bianco, Vecchie Vigne

2004 Essenzia, Pojer and Sandri, Trentino Alto Adige

2004 Aglianico IGT, Terredora, Campania

2002 VDP Collines Rhodaniennes, La rosine, Rhone Valley

We also had tasters of two different dessert wines and two small glasses of wine with the cheese :blink:

Total bill for two including £5 supplement for the cheese, coffee and service was £260 which we felt was fantasic value for money. We were lucky enough to have a good chat with Brett afterwards and got the tour of the kitchen. We didnt end up leaving until nearly 2 am. Very good friendly service , superb wine selection and the best food we have eaten in a long time. We will definately be back but maybe for an earlier table!


Edited by Matthew Tomkinson (log)

The quest for perfection will lead you to role models that will last you for life (Nico Ladenis)

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