Everybody loves a comeback, a king returning to his throne. Muhammad Ali vanquishing George Foreman; Daniel Day-Lewis racking up another Oscar win; Simba chucking Scar off Pride Rock. The Ledbury regaining its two Michelin stars might lack the cinematic drama of those examples – The Lion King had literal wildfire – but it’s no less deserved.

Metaphorically speaking, The Ledbury never lost those stars in the ring. They were a casualty of the restaurant’s two-year closure during the Covid pandemic. In February 2022, The Ledbury reopened and the following March the stars returned. You would forgive it for screaming, “We’re back, baby!” except The Ledbury would never do anything so vulgar.

It's very tranquil, is The Ledbury. The decor is understated, earthy: polished brown floor, light grey walls, spotless white tablecloths, a liberal amount of fawn sprinkled around the place. Imagine a restaurant dressed for a hunting weekend. You will find several ornamental animal heads in the toilets, which by the way smell fantastic – I've reclined in less fragrant spas.

Chef patron Brett Graham was 25 when he first opened the restaurant in 2005. He still mans the kitchen here, while general manager Jack Settle keeps the service purring along with the effortless class of a Rolls-Royce. Of course, the lack of effort is illusory – a staggering amount of skill and dedication goes into The Ledbury, ditto the construction of a Rolls-Royce engine – but you need only to relax and contemplate the journey ahead of you.

And my word, is it a journey. We arrived at 8pm and departed with the clock nearing midnight and missing the final tube a distinct possibility – especially as brisk walking was no longer feasible. (Rolling might have been.) The tube was caught, just, but a night bus would have been a more than acceptable tradeoff for a truly epic evening.

The Ledbury, Notting Hill

What to order?

The tasting menu. That’s not a recommendation: the tasting menu is your only option. Happily it’s a damn good one, a neverending parade of dishes that march across your table with all the swagger and fireworks of Mardi Gras. Our menu listed nine courses in total; you will not leave undernourished or shortchanged.

Nine courses, 12 dishes – my partner is pescatarian so the restaurant replaced the meaty stuff with fish and vegetables. Commenting on them all would turn this review into a novella so let’s highlight a few standouts. The opening act: chalk stream trout with Isle of White tomatoes, a starter that looks like a desert. Sharp, delicate, it'll leave your pallet as feeling summertime fresh and primed for the riches to come.

“I've never eaten a dish that looks so perfect,” says my partner of the Poole Bay mackerel and she's right, it's a proper artwork on a plate. The tartness of the mackerel, the verdant crunch of asparagus, the sweet gooseberry sauce combined as well as Suerez, Messi and Neymar in their pomp.

The Ledbury, Notting Hill

Veal sweetbread is rich, warm, smothered in an onion sauce you could wrap yourself up in on a winter's night. Of the many, many riches to be delivered from the Ledbury’s kitchen, the veal sweetbread and its sauce might be the one that lingers in my mind the most. Although Cornish turbot cooked on the bone is a real showstopper. It’s topped with caviar and swamped by a lovely yellow buttery sauce. The fish is perfectly cooked, yielding at the merest hint of the knife.

And on we go. Shiitake mushrooms are served in a gorgeous black bowl; perigord truffle emerges from a silver platter and is grated upon it. Three cuts of Herdwick lamb – leg, loin and saddle – accompanied by aubergine and black olive. A fat pink cushion of native lobster atop artichoke barigoule and kombu. (It’s a type of seaweed.) Several deserts – the standout being Cornish strawberry with roasted vanilla.

There's also the option of paired wines, courtesy of head sommelier Jan Van Heesvelde. Sample the finest vintages from across the globe. Rude not to, really.   

The Ledbury, Notting Hill

What’s the damage?

Pocket change. Obviously. No, I’m kidding: it’s really, really expensive. £195 for the menu and another £130 for paired wines. The corkage policy is £75 a bottle if you’re feeling frugal. But then if you’re feeling frugal you probably shouldn’t be going to The Ledbury in the first place.

Anything else to note?

I’ll leave the final words to my dining companion, uttered between one of the many, many courses: “when you say two Michelin stars, no shit!”

127 Ledbury Rd, London W11 2AQ; The Ledbury