Birthday dinner at The Ledbury

I turned 27 last week. As for every birthday since I turned 25, it has been more and more important to me to make the day more special (in a sad way it is to divert from the fact I am inching even closer to the 30s). I know this will sound really daft and possibly immature to people over 30 reading this, but we all know that the 20s is full of angst and resistance towards getting ‘old’. This year, I decided to go all-out and dine at The Ledbury in London for dinner. I feel as though I am cheating slightly as this is in no way a review of the dinner or attempt to make this blog more about eating out as it is supposed to be all about the food I make, but as it was so great and such a once a year event, I feel compelled to put some photos up and describe the great experience. Also, my friends are probably a tad sick of seeing all my photos on facebook about this!

We went quite early, at 6.30pm to be precise. It was great waltzing down Ledbury Road around that time, observing all the Nottinghill types making the trip home to their ultra beautiful town houses in their equally stunning attire. I witnessed a very stylish pair of Phillip Lim silk pants on a shop assistant locking up Matches and purred with envy. I must say though, that boyfriend and I made our best efforts to present ourselves before going to The Ledbury—it is dinner afterall darlin.

The staff were ultra friendly, not pretentious or snobby at all. They seemed genuinely interested and motivated to ensure that we have the best service and food experience.

First we were served an amazing canape for which I can not remember what it was. I will just say it was melt in the mouth delicious but let me move on to what I can remember and what I have photos of.

My main was ‘shoulder of Pyrenean milk fed lamb cooked for twenty four hours with baked jerusalem artichokes and winter savory milk. This was the tenderest lamb I have ever had in my life, and the baked artichoke underneath was almost like a very soft and gentle on the tongue kind of mash.

The main course was followed by this amazing phenomenon called a ‘palate cleanser’. I had heard of the term before but had never actually had one (yes, you could take from this I do not eat out much at Michelin starred establishments) but this was almost the best thing about my entire birthday. The palate cleanser was served in a tiny little glass bulb of a bowl and contained some sweetened almost compote-like berries with a berry praline and some creme friache concoction. Two actual tiny spoonfuls and it was gone. I was practically licking the bowl with my face. Then came the dessert! This was a caramelised banana galette with salted caramel and peanut ice cream. I really love the idea of salted caramel. Who came up with this idea?? it is genius. A favourite food blog of mine (David Lebovitz) has a salted butter caramel icecream recipe that is on the top of my must try icecream lists. This food blog has all the best icecream recipes that Heston Blumenthal would almost rival such as candied bacon icecream, pumpkin icecream.

I might have mentioned it was my birthday to the sommelier who must have Chinese whispered it to the chef. Then came out this magnificent plate with ‘happy birthday’ written in chocolate. It was such a surprise and I felt really special 🙂  My only concern was the use of a full stop – why was this used? why not an exclamation mark or two?

Ultimately, my conclusion is that The Ledbury is one of those places you eat at that you remember for not only the crazily delicious taste sensations but for the atmosphere, the service and the way you went away feeling at the end of it—pleasantly full, inspired to eat and cook. I can say with nothing but honesty that I will always remember my 27th birthday.

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