The Ledbury ranks among the Top 50 Restaurants in the World, and rightfully so. One of the best parts is just the atmosphere. Yes, it is incredibly pompous, and, well, when in Rome! It was so much fun acting as snobby as the table of bankers(?) CEOs(?) a few tables over, ordering bottle after bottle of wine, tasting and squinting at bottles, and ultimately sending a few back just for good measure. Don't fight it - stick that nose in the air! Just relish the fact that you got a table in a Michelin starred restaurant and are about to savor a delectable meal with someone whose company you (hopefully) enjoy.
This place is so upper crust that they gave us each a glass of champagne while we waited all of 4 minutes to be seated. THAT is the kind of place the Ledbury is.
Maybe it was just me, but I never felt rushed. I never felt like I was less important than the table buying bottle after bottle of expensive wine. I never felt like my waiter, his assistant, the sommelier, or the GM, who came over to ask how our meal was, were cold or distant or unaccommodating.
But, then again, I'm just a small-town girl in the big city... I like to hold on and enjoy the ride no matter what.
Seasonal: On the menu when I visited, were things like Escargot (fantastic! - buttery, delicious, just melted in your mouth), Venison (my husband cleaned his plate), and Rabbit (I cleaned my plate). So be prepared to find new listings and if the waiter says that one particular dish is really good this season - go for it!
Use The Sommelier: If you like wine, but only know to put reds with red meat and white with everything else, then you might want to ask to speak with the Sommelier (pronounced SAHM lee ay). Sommeliers love imparting knowledge it took them years to acquire. We especially enjoyed the Ledbury sommelier as we were getting game meats for entrees and didn't know what to pair with them.
Take Your Time: Do not plan for anything after your meal. Do not plow through this on your way to the next tourist stop. I'm not saying get every course, but I am saying that it's not an Applebee's. This is GREAT food. Whether you do get every course, or just a dessert. Whether you find the scallops a little chewy or your fois gras a little bland, this is not your average mish-mash of spices and creams and butters. Flavors like this (both good and bad) do not come around in your average work week. And if they do, I hope you realize how lucky you are.
Order Different: Yes, they have steaks and chicken dishes. And, no doubt, they are prepared FABULOUSLY, but try to step out of your safety zone at the Ledbury. I say this, because you are safe to do it here - nothing is SO far out there that you will regret it. The safety zone at the Ledbury is still very safe. I would not say "step out of your safety zone" about a street vendor in Bangkok whose offerings may or may not include fried insects. My husband is a notoriously picky eater, but at the Ledbury, he let me tell him what to order. He couldn't pronounce some of it, hadn't heard of half of it, and never tried any of it. Loved every bit of it.
The Down Side:
Yes, it is expensive. All the courses, the wines, the desserts, the tips. Yes. You will leave this meal with a good chunk out of your wallet. Could you eat here every day? No. Could you eat here once, with your husband, for a special dinner on your first ever trip to London? You bet.
The Ledbury is an excellent restaurant and I would highly recommend it for an extra special evening.