Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oh, yes, there is great British food: In praise of The Ledbury

In my blog post from London on August 11, I promised to tell you about a spectacular dinner I enjoyed that evening.  Now, more than a month later, I'm finally going to deliver on that promise.

As this post's title states, the meal was at The Ledbury, a wonderful establishment that chef Brett Graham has led to the number 10 spot in the 2014 ranking of the world's 50 best restaurants.  Using almost entirely ingredients he sources in the U.K, and often riffing on traditional British dishes, Graham and his team are creating amazingly delicious meals and delighting diners from all over the world.

Including this one.  The meal that night looked relatively simple on paper:

Click an image to see a larger version.

I mean, how exciting can a salad of cold green beans and almonds be, right?

Wrong.  It was more delicious than I could have imagined from the description.

Of course, the fact that the almonds were both powdered and chunked helped, and the presence of cold grated foie gras gave the dish a lovely umami mouth feel, and the peach was a delicious touch, but the green beans themselves were simply wonderful, fresh and crisp and full of flavor. 

The salad didn't even show up, though, until after some snacks.

Wow, were they both beautiful in presentation and tantalizing in flavor.

Every single course delivered perfect flavors and a variety of textures, and every single one dispelled any thoughts that British cuisine was doomed to be as bad as the jokes so many make about it.

I'm not going to show photos of all the courses--it is late--but do check out this final savory course, the Berkshire Muntjac, a variety of venison, with veggies and smoked bone marrow sitting like butter atop one chunk of meat.

The venison was so tender and so flavorful that I was certain they had cooked it sous vide.  No, they told me, they simply roasted it.  Amazing.

Getting into The Ledbury is not always easy, and the meal is pricey, but it is absolutely worth the time and cost if you can afford both.  My dinner there ranks among the best meals I have ever had.

I can't wait to go back.

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