La Bécasse sits on a quiet street that leads uphill to Ludlow’s town centre. The street itself is littered with the kind of shops that could quite easily relieve you of the content of your bank balance before you have even made it to the restaurant.
The restaurant itself is simply yet elegantly decorated with oak panelling on the walls and a Paul Smith jacket lining carpet. The tables are well spaced allowing natural conversation without feeling too conscious of the table next to you.
The only lunch reservation that we could get for our party of six was an early sitting at midday and as a result we were more or less the first people in the restaurant. Much to our relief the room soon filled with people and atmosphere.
As a table we all decided to order the lunch tasting menu which consists of six courses and is priced at £40. In addition, N and I also ordered the wine pairing priced at £29.
A few snacks were placed at the table. Curried popcorn, olives and mixed nuts with wasabi peas.
I personally found these to be a little pointless and whilst inoffensive I felt that they didn’t need to be there and added nothing to the meal. Things soon picked up though with an amuse bouche of caramelised garlic risotto.
The bread at La Bécasse rivals some of the best that we have had. The cumin bread in particular is right up there with the bread at Roganic and The Ledbury.
First course was ‘Greek salad’ with “Ticklemore” goat’s cheese and watermelon gaspacho. The dish was a fresh and light way to start, although it was universally agreed at the end of the meal that whilst pleasant this wasn’t the strongest course on the menu.
Next was jellied pig’s head ballotine, chick pea salsa, preserved lemon, caramelised onion hummus. This is right up my street in terms of flavours. The pigs head was as refined as a pigs head can be and was offset beautifully with the tahini and the preserved lemon.
Next was mine and N’s favourite dish of the day. Sea trout fillet slowly poached in smoked rapeseed oil, potato and dill gnocchi, peas, broad beans. The trout was stunning and the whole dish worked wonderfully.
Main course was confit lamb breast with pine nuts, rosemary, capers, sprouting broccoli, anchovies and salsa verdi. Much of the rest of the table named this as their favourite of the day. The lamb was well cooked and the flavours balanced, so whilst not my personal highlight of the day I did agree that this plate was delicious.
The best of the puddings was next. Lemon curd, strawberry, olive oil and basil salad, black pepper caramel and strawberry sorbet. The only thing that I wish they had done differently with this dish is to make it bigger. Everyone around the table loved it.
To finish was tea poached peach “melba”. A simple and classic way to end the meal. As I’m not really a desert person I find it hard to get excited by the dessert section, however my Brothers girlfriend loved this dish in particular the meringue as believe it or not, this was the first that she has ever eaten. (She is from Korea and it would appear that meringue isn’t any where near as common there as it should be in her view)
We were then shown upstairs to the lounge for teas and coffee and a selection of petit fours. The observant staff had noted during conversation that there had been a Birthday in our party during the week and when the petit fours came out were decorated accordingly. A nice little touch.
The wine pairing was excellent with a different wine paired to each and every course. We were a little surprised by the volume of wine served but there certainly were no complaints from N and I. I didn’t catch the Sommeliers name but he is a credit to the restaurant, witty, knowledgeable and engaging.
Only negatives to note was the service which whilst excellent though the majority of the meal did tail off towards the end. The plates on the final course were left on the table for 10 – 15 minutes before we could order coffees. We were then shown upstairs were the petit fours were served straight away but it took approximately another 15 minutes for the coffee to arrive. I must stress though this is nitpicking, as on the whole the service was excellent throughout.
In summary La Bécasse offers excellent value for money, a good dining atmosphere and a great excuse to visit Ludlow which is a town I would happily return to for a weekend anytime.
17 Corve Street, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1DA
Telephone: 01584 872 325