Sunday, 18 August 2013

Respected, revered and admired - Brett Graham

There is a certain pomp and circumstance associated with ‘fine dining’ that many can find oppressive or even intimidating. However, for me even the finest of dining experiences should feel intimate and personalised, yet relaxed and convivial. To tread the fine line between meticulousness and informality is a perilous endeavour and few restaurants do so with such aplomb as The Ledbury in London.

The Ledbury is one of the finest restaurants in the world. The food is seasonal, modern and universally exquisite, with impeccably precise yet playful dishes served with sophistication and elegance in vibrant and stylish surroundings. Despite its indisputable quality the atmosphere is welcoming, attentive and unobtrusive. It has rightly been rewarded with two Michelin stars, won countless awards and is one of only two UK restaurants recently placed in the world’s top 20.  It is a gem of a restaurant, so I was delighted to recently have the opportunity to ask the head chef and culinary master in his own right, Brett Graham a few questions… 

The Ledbury is regarded as one of the world’s top restaurants. What makes the dining experience so special? 

We try to give our guests an all round experience and place just as much importance on the service as the food. 

How would you describe your culinary philosophy? 

Seasonal, English and wild, where possible.

Where do you find your inspiration? 

We get most of our inspiration from the seasons. We look forward to the first season’s celeriac, asparagus and eagerly await the summer when tomatoes are at their best. 

What would you say is your signature dish? 

It would be the flame grilled mackerel which is the longest standing dish on my menu. It is garnished with pickled cucumber, Celtic mustard and shiso. 

What is your favourite starter, main and dessert from the current menu? 

The starter would be the salad of green beans with fresh almonds, peach and grated foie gras, followed by a jowl of Tamworth pork with apricots, girolles and caramelised almonds. Then blackcurrant leaf ice cream. 

The restaurant is renowned not only for astonishing food, but also flawless service. What do you think is the secret is to providing such a high level of service? 

It is really important to let the staff be themselves and walk the fine line between formality with relaxed and casual. 

Tell me about the Harwood Arms. How is the dining experience different from the Ledbury and what are the parallels? 

The Harwood is much more relaxed as it’s a pub. We use similar ingredients but we try to be exclusively British at the Harwood, although we don’t serve chips, burgers or chocolate. 

When you’re not in the restaurant where do you enjoy dining? 

For a great Japanese meal I enjoy Zuma and I also like the Clove Club. It’s a fantastic new place run by an ex member of my staff – Isaac McHale. 

What do you enjoy cooking at home? 

I like doing a barbecue when the sun’s out. 

What’s you culinary guilty pleasure? 

Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. 

What are you plans for the future?           

I want to keep focused at The Ledbury.

For more information about Brett Graham and the Ledbury please visit

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