Everything in our life is an experience essential to living; some have meaning, some have less. In a way it is up to us to find a place for everything we do, menial or grand. We have enough time to be boring once we are dead. We can also stop eating at that point. But until then, it is our duty to feed our bodies delicious (sometimes healthy) food. In Buddhism, ignorance is what stops us from enlightenment. Every sense we have must be challenged. We must stop being ignorant. So lets eat.
I have been planning to eat at the Ledbury for quite some time – what can I say, I play the long game. Not only did it have raving reviews on various blogs, but it also is the 13th Best Restaurant in the world according to the San Pellegrino. I am rather fond of lists, combine that with food and it becomes a veritable bucket list.
Certainly, it’s not extraordinarily cheap – but contrary to popular opinion, dining at restaurants such as The Ledbury doesn’t cost a kidney. Whilst the Sunday Lunch costs 50£ for a three course meal, lunches during the week are 30£ for two courses of 35£ for three courses. Similar prices exist for lunches in most Michelin starred restaurants (this particular one has two stars in case anyone wondered). The prices become much steeper if you intend to dine there… but it’s a plenty affordable meal for a nice occasion.
Enlightenment comes in many shapes and forms. Yes, indeed, I am talking about enlightenment in a food post. People, in my experience, too often ignore the importance of things they deem to be small and unimportant. The senzations your tongue can feel, when trained and with the right ingredients, can be just as pleasant as anything else. Even more. The texture… the taste… it can be overwhelming. (I am still talking about food, yes)
I cannot speak for Kai’s food – I didn’t really taste it. However he would point out that the size of the dishes wasn’t very consistent (mine being quite large whereas his small). For starters I had the rabbit started, with the artichoke soup, and it was spectacular (albeit there was a lot of it). Let me put this into context: I do not like artichokes. However I would have gulped endless amounts of the grey, creamy, delicious soup. The seasoning was spot on, the consistency was great, combined with the rabbit it was really top notch.
I want you to imagine little bunnies made of artichokes with the ability of healing all sorrow just jumping in your mouth.
The main was certainly not quite as highly refined. I had the Fillet and Short Rib of Ruby Red Beef with Celeriac Baked in Juniper, Bone Marrow and a Crisp Potato. The meat was overall great, the knife going right trough at the ends of it yet the middle was slightly less well prepared and the seasoning wasn’t entirely uniform. What I did love is how, once more, this restaurant manages to cook vegetables I normally dislike – Celeriac in this case – but prepared extraordinarily. The crisp potato could have used a bit of work as well, the pieces not really wanting to depart each others embrace and just making a big mush of it when attempted to be separated.
The desserts. Sugar, my eternal mistress. I went for the Passion Fruit Soufflé with Sauternes Ice Cream which was just lovely. Soft, sightly creamy, you could still feel quite clearly the fruity, tangy taste that passion fruits have. As an added bonus, the little treats we were brought after we had the desserts were also excellent: a blood orange delight, chocolate truffles and some mini biscuits.
The service was smooth – as one would perhaps expect from such an establishment. The staff is polite and chatty enough to entertain the clients. Yet the atmosphere, I find, is rather stuffy and not necessarily impressive. So, does this restaurant provide for flawless food deserving of a grade that would mean I would betray Jesus for it (I know, I have a very strange grading system). No, it’s not perfect…