The Ledbury is something of a west London institution. First opened in 2005, it has gone on to win hearts, minds, and more awards than Bey has Grammys. In 2010 it picked up its second Michelin star (which it still holds), while in 2011, during the peak of the London riots, its kitchen staff – including a chef armed only with a rolling pin – famously took on local gang members who had come to relieve diners of their valuables.
Interestingly, though it was once known for being a relatively relaxed haute cuisine spot, so many of London’s restaurants – even the fine dining ones – have become so casual, that The Ledbury now sits on the formal end of the scale. The room is smart (tones of mocha and cream), there’s no music and many of the staff serve in polite silence. But the charismatic maître d’ treats guests like old friends and the dishes – from Aussie chef Brett Graham – are as close to perfection on a plate as you’ll get in this town. Seasonal stars include the tomato salad (with basil sorbet and white crabmeat) and the sort-of-signature brown sugar tart, which is essentially the love child of a custard slice and the darkly sweet innards of a crème caramel.
But be warned: it doesn’t come cheap. At all. If you can’t find someone to treat you, go on a weekday lunchtime for the better value (though still spenny) set lunch: £80 a head buys you four courses plus freebies. And it does include service, too.