The Ledbury – The best meal in London this time round!

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Rd, London W11 2AQ, United Kingdom near Nottinghill Gate station

l1Indubitably the best meal in London for us this time round. Awarded with two Michelin stars, rated as one of the top 5 restaurants in London, it is no wonder that the seats are usually snatched up the moment the reservation dates are released for the next month. Booked a month in advance and we failed to secure a weekend table at The Ledbury (it is really that competitive), I actually felt lucky that a Friday lunch slot was available! Largely painted in white while the service crew are all clad in black, it does render a plush ambiance yet still a relaxing one as the restaurant is filled with banter and laughter from the fully filled tables.

IMG_9219And we started the set lunch (£50) with this refreshing glass of cucumber kiwi juice.

IMG_9222French being themselves, the teasers served before the actual set was quite sensational indeed. Seaweed crackers and meat jelly pastry served, we were particularly impressed by the latter as meat was tasted in that jelly while the savoury moussed pastry was filled with an intense roast flavour.

IMG_9223A slight Asian slant over here as this dumpling was served with sour plum sauce on top of it.

IMG_9227Crapaudine Beetroot – Smoked bone marrow, pickled rose and rhubarb. Kicking the meal off with the lighter but vibrant starter that is perfumed throughout with the therapeutic rhubarb fragrance and balanced off adequately with the heavier tasting bone marrow.

IMG_9228IMG_9229Not to worry as the bread isn’t a course in the menu but definitely deserves a mention here. Freshly baked to a beautiful crust yet still retaining the pillowy texture within, this is made even more exhilarating with light tasting goat milk butter and sea salt that renders a creamy delicious slather for that perfect bread.

IMG_9231Roast Cauliflower – Crab butter, Parmesan and Basil. You can feel the flavours building up already in the second course as this tasted intense. Umami savoured in the cheese slabs, they were thoroughly infused with crab roe fragrance while that yellow, creamy crab butter sauce was emanating a heavy crustacean flavour, all these giving a much fuller body to that crunchy cauliflower.

IMG_9232Red Ruby Beef – Short Rib, New Season Garlic, Celeriac and Brussel Tops. Impeccably braised beef over here that has all the essence locked tightly within already and finished off nicely with that bed of smooth mash underneath, you know the lady was floored from her repeated exclamations.

IMG_9234IMG_9236Chocolate and Mint with Madeleines. Dainty madeleines served warm, while the smooth minty ice cream makes a refreshing finish to the entire meal.

IMG_9238IMG_9239And with another Asian touch over here again, the petite fours were simply fabulous. Yuzu with caramel waffle roll while the huge favourite was the yuzu with white chocolate that is coated with crunchy crumbs. Substantial yuzu taste there that is rightly balanced off with their sweeter counterpart, we love.

l2And the hand shot I thought looks interesting with The Ledbury hook.

Yes, a marvelous lunch we had here definitely that was filled with quite a few surprises along the way. Not just serving the set lunch menu, you could also opt for the degustation one or customise your own set from the ala carte menu! My utmost favourite of all – that lovely crab dish there!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant 4.9/5

 

 

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Hakkasan – where my favourite dim sum is!

Hakkasan

17 Bruton St, London W1J 6QB, United Kingdom near Green Park Station

12212355_10154143694723714_21956087_nNo, it’s not 10 Downing Street, but 17 Bruton Street (Yes, that plush area apparently) where this sleek, modern, clubbish Cantonese restaurant, Hakkasan is located at. Ironic it may seem but this is where most Singapore Cantonese restaurants could not surpass. Not even restaurants like Yan Ting or Mitzo, as they could in my opinion only be at most on par with Hakkasan. It is that good.

hkk1Deprived of good Cantonese food for a few days already after so many days at the different meeting areas, I have been shuttling between Yauatcha and Hakkasan to bring the bosses and I thought the standard of the former has dipped a little when I visited a few days back while the latter felt more posh with its less gaudy interior, so Hakkasan it was for us!

hkk10Feeling upbeat already when we stepped in, we were brimming with happiness literally the moment the food kept swarming in as the bosses loved every single drop of sauce and every morsel of dim sum. Starting off with the luscious scallop siu mai topped with prawn roe, that just whetted everybody’s appetite. Freshness is a given here but rather the balance in taste and that thin yellow bag there is packed generously with crunchy prawns that would put a smile to even the most picky gourmet.

hkk11Jasmine tea leaves smoked pork ribs. I remembered I was floored by this awesome dish when I first tasted it a few years back and nothing less was felt this time round as these tender meat has been thoroughly permeated with the jasmine leaves fragrance while a light smokiness has been tightly locked in each piece. Full of flavours, already visibly so from the radiant colours, both the bosses were impressed.

hkk6Truffle Roast Duck. This was a smashing hit! Priced at a whopping £35 ($70) for half a roast, we were initially unsure if we should get this to rape our wallets but the boss urged for it and I was glad we did. Initially worried that the overpowering truffle sauce might mask that fragrant fats there, it was actually a huge compliment as it coats every piece with a thick umami body. And, you get real truffles on top of the duck too! A decadent plate here indeed!

hkk12Even details in seemingly humble dishes like the char siu mui choi cheung fen are paid very close attention to. The well-glazed slithery rice skin is one that I have not had any better in Singapore and the tightly packed fluffy char siu in it together with the mui choi makes it into a lip-smacking savoury!

hkk9Fried duck leg topped with a decadent truffle each. This too was impeccable, with no greasy lips stained.

hkk8And the flavourful cod fish dim sum that has been perfectly steamed to a moist, creamy consistency that is beautifully cut through by the lightly spiced pepper sauce. Yummy!

hkk2Having a very happy tummy after the savouries, we know dessert has to be settled here. And Hakkasan does not do traditional Cantonese desserts in case you are wondering if Yang Zhi Gan Lu or Avocado puree should be ordered. Rather, French influenced ones are served which I will highly recommend. This Chocolate Bomb was mind blowing with the thick creamy peanut butter praline ice cream contained within. The condiments by the side was a mash of refreshing pomegranate and nuts that have been made extremely fun with the hidden popping candy sauce!

hkk3Pear tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream and pear sauce. A more traditional French dessert here, this was perfect as the thin slices of poached pear would melt in your mouth, further lifted by that clever pear sauce. Natural sweetness tasted and with that smooth vanilla ice cream feeling excellent, we gave our approval to it.

hkk4All three desserts that we got and despite without an individual photo, we were also smitten by the macaroons with its chewy crust and adequately sweet fillings. I love the coconut one most and that green one is made from South East Asian pride, Pandan.

hkk5It was only a weekday lunch, and this restaurant is already packed with businessmen. What I love about here is the boldness of the chefs, which also extends to those from the pastry section as everything doesn’t seem contrived at all while the chefs are still able to assemble all the elements into brilliant dishes! Definitely worthy of that bright star.

hkk13And I thought I had to take a selfie in that marble toilet!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 5/5

 

 

 

Pollen Street Social (Dessert)

Pollen Street Social

Oxford Circus station

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Lemon and white chocolate ganache with carrot cake, basil meringue, basil puree. Ganache had a really good texture, smooth, not too soft and has a little sour in it that would excite your salivary glands to want for more. The crumbles are the carrot cake and goes well with the ganache. Creative and very palatable.

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Really couldn’t remember what this dessert was but it was good too.

Pollen Street Social serves daring, interesting, fanciful and really palatable desserts. Love the way how the chef executes all the desserts. It’s a place that I would not mind to keep going for desserts after a proper meal. For a proper meal, you could visit Little Social first which is just opposite the road.

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HKK London

HKK London

Worship street near Liverpool Street station

HKK London is one of the three restaurants helmed by the Singaporean chef, Tong Chee Hwee. The other two restaurants are Yauatcha and Hakkasan, which are both Michelin starred restaurants. It is a relatively new restaurant opened this year. Had the 8 course lunch menu for 48 pounds.

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Bai Hua prawn. Fried on the outside and tasty fresh prawns on the inside. Sauce was sweet and just goes well with this appetiser.

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Dim Sum Trilogy was really well presented with a brush and soy sauce though they were quite irrelevant unless you love heavy tasting food. The white one is lobster siu mai with caviar. You could taste the fresh, springy lobster in it. The orange one contains spicy chicken and tasted really flavourful too. Lots of different ingredients in it but all comes together to give a great dim sum. Continue reading

The Glasshouse Restaurant

The Glasshouse Restaurant

Next to Kew Gardens station

The neighbourhood around Kew Gardens station is pretty posh, tranquil and typical Britain. Though it’s just a few stops outside London, it didn’t feel like London anymore and felt a little close to Cambridge actually. Pretty houses with pretty flowers can basically sum up the whole atmosphere of Kew Gardens station. And outside this station, lies a one michelin gem- The Glasshouse Restaurant.

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Scallops with truffles. Very well seared and fragrant on its own, the scallops tasted even better with the pieces of truffles and mushroom. The white pieces are the mushrooms.

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Mackerel with fried quail eggs. Quail eggs were really well cooked and timed well. Despite having to boil and then fry the egg with batter, the yolk still stays runny and adds an eggy flavour to the fresh, raw mackerel. Continue reading