Our last meal in The Ledbury was lunch four years ago and besides an excellent celeriac dish the experience was quickly forgotten. This time we had a similar experience with most dishes being a little bit dull except for a stunning dessert to finish. The four course lunch started with a lovely serving of egg yolk, morels and celeriac which had a delightful earthy umami flavour. A dish of cod, potato and wild garlic was also quite pleasant, as was one of suckling pig and parsnip. But these dishes were no better than good and gave the sense that they could try a bit harder with the lunch menu. There was a feeling that it has been done before and you could be eating these dishes anywhere, there was nothing identifiable about it, no style or identify of the restaurant evident.
The dessert dish was excellent however and by far the highlight of the meal. Regent Park honey, meringue, aerated white chocolate and thyme was sweet, but subtle and light with the floweriness of the thyme bringing it together. The best thing of all about this dish though was that it was original and interesting.
On the whole the service was decent, but waiting staff seemed a bit disinterested and gave a feeling of just going through the motions.
The talent of the kitchen, led by chef Brett Graham, is clearly evident as the food is well prepared and of high quality. Last year James 'Jocky' Petrie, previously of The Fat Duck, took on the role of head development chef in The Ledbury and we were hoping we would see his influence on this visit - perhaps it was there on the dessert. A lunch in The Ledbury will be perfectly fine, but besides the dessert, our's wasn't memorable and there are far better lunch menus available in London. When going for a lunch menu we look for a reason to come back for a dinner or tasting menu, or even a reason to come back at all and, sadly, The Ledbury did not give us that.