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Will and I were going to celebrate with a night out at 2 Michelin star restaurant The Ledbury.  I had come to terms with the fact that it would be an expensive dinner, but boy, I had no idea how expensive.

Around the fourth dish of the tasting course, there were loud bangs outside.  The restaurant staff was yelling at us to get away from the windows.  Before I knew it, the front door, a solid piece of glass shattered and people came crashing in with hoodies, masks, and random weapons.

The looters were yelling at us to get down and throwing stuff all over the place. I got down and started taking off my wedding and engagement ring to hide somewhere, but unfortunately wasn’t fast enough. One looter came up and demanded my phone. I didn’t have it with me since it was in my purse and it was out of arm reach. I also didn’t want to lead him to my passport, so I said I didn’t have one.

He told me to take off my rings and grabbed my hand, trying to yank them off. His friend tried to help too, but the rings wouldn’t come off and I just yelled at him that I’d take them off myself. In hindsight, now that I know that gun control is so fierce in England and he only had bat, I should have held on to my rings better and maybe slugged him in the face.

The kitchen staff at the Ledbury went beyond their call of duty by rushing up from the kitchen with rolling pins, fry baskets, and other dangerous kitchen tools and scared off the looters. Then they provided well-needed glasses of alcohol including champagne and whisky.  When word came that the looters were coming back a second time, they ushered us into the bathrooms and told us to lock the doors. A few minutes later, they led us into the wine cellar and told us to lock ourselves in there.

Well, that was certainly a memorable dining experience. I was kind of hoping to finish the rest of my tasting menu, but all the broken glass, turned over tables, probably wasn’t conducive to a nice dining environment.  I was sad for the wonderful smelling cheese cart that had glass littered all over it. So much cheese gone to waste!

Guy who took my ring, I hope you put it to good use and don’t just dump it in the street.  Also, I hope you get a case of flaming diarrhea for the rest of your life. Ledbury staff, thanks for keeping things under control and giving me some petit fours to munch on.

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92 Comments

92 Comments

  1. [...] robbing patrons “around the fourth dish of the tasting course.” Yang had a ring taken. Then the staff stepped in: [...]

    • becky dodson says:

      oh honey. im nearly in tears reading this. what a scary, sad tale…i guess a good scrap for your honeymoon memoirs…and a little ironic to boot.

      xoxox. to a safer remainder of your trip and a secure return.

  2. [...] One of those eating at the restaurant when it came under attack was Louise Yang, who blogs under the name Naked Sushi and posted an account of the heroic intervention by staff. [...]

  3. [...] Indeed, the major role the internet has played in all of it is undeniable, often with amusing/bemusing results. [...]

  4. We will be in London in a few weeks and am putting The Ledbury on my list. Wonderful to see how the staff responded. Sorry to hear of your harrowing experience.

  5. [...] give new definition to what the London newspaper reviews already declared “flawless service.” http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2011/08/london-riots-comes-to-the-ledbury This entry was posted in In the Grove. Bookmark the permalink. ← Gang bursts into Elgin [...]

  6. [...] 3. London has been a little hardcore of late, but it’s good to know that when eating out in the ‘big smoke’, the restaurant staff have got your back. [...]

  7. Tim says:

    We had dinner at The Ledbury Saturday night, two nights before this event. It was one of–if not the–most memorable meals of my lifetime. I think of that beautiful dining room, the down-right wonderful staff, the incredible food. It’s difficult (and enormously heart-breaking) to imagine thugs coming in with bats and breaking up that environment.

  8. [...] and throwing stuff all over the place,” Yang, a software developer from Los Angeles, wrote in an account of the incident on her blog. The looting appears to be one of very few riot-related events reported in the central London [...]

  9. [...] ‘London Riots Come to the Ledbury’ [Michelin-starred restaurant] – Naked Sushi [...]

  10. [...] and throwing stuff all over the place,” Yang, a software developer from Los Angeles, wrote in an account of the incident on her blog. The looting appears to be one of very few riot-related events reported in the central London [...]

  11. [...] and throwing stuff all over the place,” Yang, a software developer from Los Angeles, wrote in an account of the incident on her blog. The looting appears to be one of very few riot-related events reported in the central London [...]

  12. [...] Le personnel a protégé les clients à coups de rouleaux à pâtisserie et de paniers à friture (si vous voulez lire l’histoire racontée par quelqu’un qui y était, cliquez ici) et les a barricadés dans la cave à vin en attendant l’arrivée de la police… La [...]

  13. [...] Meistgeklickter Link das letzte Mal in “Gemischte Links” war der Artikel über die Aufstände in London und anderen britischen Großstädten: http://www.runawaysquirrels.com [...]

  14. [...] two star restaurant, The Ledbury. A firsthand diner’s account of the incident appears on the NakedSushi blog.Got grouse? A number of London restos are game to include the bird in their menus once the [...]

  15. Alison says:

    OMG!!!!!! just saw your blog for the first time!
    Louise, I can’t believe how calm you were through that entire experience! And I was really impressed with your un-attachment to your rings. I’m sure that was really hard to lose those special pieces of jewelry, but it was good you didn’t resist, who knows what could have happened, and after all, it’s just metal and luckily you had insurance to get new ones.
    But WOW!!! what a vacation!!! I hope Italy is more relaxing for you and Will. Enjoy the rest of your vacation and be safe!!!!
    Alison Colberg

  16. Katy says:

    Oh wow you were in the middle of it all. It must’ve been really scary… I’m so glad you’re okay. :)

  17. jjones says:

    wow are you for real….talk about not seeing the whole picture…!!!

    Your comments about not being able to finish your tasting menu and the cheese gone to waste…how small minded can you get?! There are people who have lost their homes or worst have been murdered due to these riots and you also talk of slugging the looter…because he only had a bat….what if the looter was carrying a knife!! You really a far removed from reality…!!!! How about realising how fortunate you are and leave out the details of not being able to finish your tasting menu & cheese!!! Show some consideration…for the others less fortunate as you most obviously are!!!!

  18. salerno says:

    Read on the BBC that police recovered a Bulgari ring believed to have been ‘stolen from a diner at a restaurant’. Perchance yours?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14525621

  19. Richard says:

    I’m sure this is a long shot, but just in case:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/15/london-riots-cash-tills-found-police-raids

    “Police have appealed for the owner of a Bulgari ring seized during a raid in Notting Hill, west London, to come forward. The designer jewellery is believed to have been looted as criminals targeted restaurants and pubs during rioting in the area.”

  20. [...] anne: How very very sad .. I never knew this had happened. It does all sound very scary. Shame about your rings….. [...]

  21. [...] rioters moved on the Michelin two-star restaurant, The Ledbury, in Notting Hill yesterday. Blogger Louise Yang was there and describes the scene as looters wearing hoodies and masks smashed a plate glass window [...]

  22. [...] London During last month’s riots The Ledbury was beset by looters and lunatics, its customers robbed and its staff called upon to defend them with spatulas. This week it was named the best [...]

  23. [...] I can only hope not everyone who is late for a reservation at the Notting Hill Brasserie is treated so shabbily – one way to ensure you aren’t is to go somewhere else. A good Modern European bet is The Ledbury which is nearby. It’s not only reputed to be the best restaurant in London bar none, it has a gallant track record for customer service. [...]

  24. [...] One of those eating at the restaurant when it came under attack was Louise Yang, who blogs under the name Naked Sushi and posted an account of the heroic intervention by staff. [...]

  25. [...] One of those eating at the restaurant when it came under attack was Louise Yang, who blogs under the name Naked Sushi and posted an account of the heroic intervention by staff. [...]

  26. [...] I can only hope not everyone who is late for a reservation at the Notting Hill Brasserie is treated so shabbily – one way to ensure you aren’t is to go somewhere else. A good Modern European bet is The Ledbury which is nearby. It’s not only reputed to be the best restaurant in London bar none, it has a gallant track record for customer service. [...]

  27. [...] London Riots Comes to the Ledbury An American resident in London goes out to dinner and gets caught up in the riots. [...]

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