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Hedone


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101 replies to this topic

#31 Bapi

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:37 AM

Mikeal would appear to be on fire. But pray tell- who is the gimp at the bar in this set of photos? :wink:

#32 MobyP

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:02 AM

It's Hugo, having discovered a time machine 25 years from now, decided to return to a time when Hedone wasn't a chain of hamburger and fried squid outlets.

:laugh:
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#33 Matthew Grant

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:03 PM

Remember, you read it here first, if you can't get a table you've only got yourself to blame :biggrin:

Time out full review

Dos Hermanos - Robin Mujamdar
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#34 Gary Marshall

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:48 AM

and we await la masch tonight, perhaps?
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#35 Matthew Grant

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 05:07 AM

Fay Maschler
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#36 Man

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:56 AM

I've got to say it was well worth the trip from E1 to W4...

Actually, although I didn't come to London for that reason, it would have been worth the trip from Scotland.

As chance would have it, we were seated right next to the table of a very well known food writer (with two others whom I don't know but perhaps are well-known too)...As a little clue I'll say that he has written that he has been at Hedone 5 times in 2 weeks. :blink: We took full advantage of our anonymity to overhear and see things that you people would not believe :cool:

I was a little disappointed that neither the pigeon nor the lamb were on the menu today. I was then envious when, while munching my dessert, I saw the chef personally bringing some lamb to the esteemed food bloggers next to us...I guess somebody who goes 6 times in 2 weeks (and writes what he's written) has well earned this and all the other stuff that came to that table on Jonsson's initiative.

For me the perfect dishes were the umami flan and the mackerel, simply served with the tenderest of leaves and perfectly seasoned, with the Hedone chocolate bar and the gazpacho coming close. All produce was superb, as has been said.

However, if one sets the standard at 2* level, as has been intimated (again by the aforementioned revered food blogger among others), for me the cooking is not yet overall at that level, as there were deficiencies (I'll detail at some point).

I think Jonsson is immensely clever in keeping it simple, cooking well within his comfort zone, and focussing on sourcing. Great generosity in the portions, too. We were served by the lovely waitress who was at Texture before (amazingly she remembered the table I was sitting at a lunch there over 6 months ago). One of the best £200 we've spent this year. The restaurant was almost full. Thanks for the tip Matthew!

Edited by Man, 30 July 2011 - 11:58 AM.


#37 Chaihana Joe

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 02:13 PM

We took full advantage of our anonymity to overhear and see things that you people would not believe :cool:

Man, I'm not sure I understand why you're being so coy. Why and what would we not believe?

#38 Man

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 03:27 PM

We took full advantage of our anonymity to overhear and see things that you people would not believe :cool:

Man, I'm not sure I understand why you're being so coy. Why and what would we not believe?


The quotation from Blade Runner was just a joke, meant to emphasise the standing of our illustrious neighbours compared to our humble selves and the differential treatment they were getting. The truth of course is that we were not listening to the next table conversation (not only have we been taught by our mums, alas long ago, that it is impolite, but fortunately we had our own).

#39 Chaihana Joe

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 02:22 AM

OK, understood. I have watched that movie this year, but the allusion passed me by.

I've only been in that situation once - my neighbour was the wonderful Jonathan Meades - quite an eye opener.

#40 MaLO

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:13 PM

Saturday dinner. I just could not resist.

As described above, the raw materials are top quality.

The lobster was the best.
The weird sounding ‘flan’ – I had a vision of something slightly awful and cloying, it was of course light, deeply flavourful and delicious.
The only criticisms would be that the beef although really well flavoured, was quite chewy. The ice creams had ice crystals, although the flavours were fine indeed.
For a restaurant about a month old it was rather good and will get even better over time. Service was very good and the dining room was more or less full.
The bread was excellent too!

I think Jonsson is immensely clever in keeping it simple, cooking well within his comfort zone, and focussing on sourcing. Great generosity in the portions, too.


I agree. It will be interesting to see how good the food becomes.
We ate -

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Goujeres

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Umami flan, seaweed coulis

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Gazpacho, chilled dill flower cream

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Flame grilled Cornish mackerel, Japanese flavours

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Slow cooked hens egg, new seasons Scottish girolles, vine peach

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Steamed scallops, tender broccoli

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Dorset lobster, sea aster, cannellini beans, cocoa and red banylus vinegar dressing

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45 days black angus rib eye, grelots onions, pear shaving

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We also had very good cheese.

For dessert we took Raspberries, cinnamon ice cream, horseradish with aromatic vinegar and the Hedone chocolate bar.
Martin

#41 Matthew Grant

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:07 PM

Sablé, not gougeres :wink:
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#42 MaLO

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:22 PM

Sablé, not gougeres

Now you mention sable, I do believe that is what they said too.
Black currant powder as well I think.
They tasted very good.

I made up the goujeres bit, couldn't recall what they called them at the time.

I should really pay more attention.
Martin

#43 Man

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 01:08 AM

I can see why you remembered/made up gougeres even though the consistency was different: they had a wonderful cheese flavour! We asked if it was Parmesan by any chance, the waiter said no, it was something we didn't understand, and we didn't bother him any more. Does any of the aficionados know what cheese they put in them?

#44 Scottf

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 02:36 AM

Berkswell

#45 Man

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:38 AM

Berkswell

thanks!

#46 david goodfellow

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 12:29 AM

Its now nearly four weeks since our visit and it seems everytime I was about to write this review something else cropped up to engage my time.
Still, better late than never. Although most certainly things will have moved on quite a bit no doubt since our meal.

Berkswell Sable
Shortbread crust and ewes milk cheese from the West Midlands, with powdered blackcurrant.

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Barbajuan
A speciality from Monaco, where Michael lived for many years. Filled with beet leaves, spinach, ricotta, parmesan and marjoram. Deep fried.

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Slow cooked hens egg, girolles.

Water bathed egg cooked at 62 degrees for 45 minutes, crouton, wild rocket.

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Umami flan, bell pepper.

Essentially a red pepper coulis made with chicken stock, egg and cream.

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Gazpacho, chilled dill flower.

Red pepper, cucumber, and D,Antona potatoes.

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Grelots onions, greengage.

Sweated with butter and lemon, raw sliced plums

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Dorset wild Turbot, clams, fresh almonds, radish tadpols, sea fennel, bronze fennel and potato emulsion.

The turbot was steamed and served with a scallop stock.

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Squab pigeon, charlotte potatoes smoked over juniper berries, parsley and pistachio.

Breast and leg of Squab Pigeon, cooked in the oven, then seared in a pan. Parsley and pistachio paste, sauce made from the offal.

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[b]Almond Blanc manger, apricots.


Milk almond Blanc manger, served on crispy Arlette, roasted apricots and vanilla with fresh almonds.

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[b]Raspberries, cinnamon ice cream, horseradish, aromatic vinegar.


English raspberries, reduced red Banyuls vinegar, horseradish cream, plus cinnamon ice cream of course.

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Well this proved to be a very interesting meal, with no real downsides and plenty to reccomend. Quality of ingredients shone through, and I did feel that all but a hamfisted chef could not fail with what had gone into the pot, so to speak. That is not to take anything away from chef of course, sourcing is clearly a massive part of this operation, and I am somewhat dumbfounded to hear he has not worked behind the stoves for many years.


Just a quick run through the dishes for the stand outs.

The egg, girolles dish was a real winner. Velvety egg, achingly forest fresh girolles, wispy peppery rocket.

Turbot and clams, excellent. Although I thought the clams were the star of the show. I could have eaten a bucketfull of them. Michael himself said he would have preferred the turbot to have rested for a day, as he feels it is better served a day after being caught. It was good, although it did not entirely rock my boat. Having said that, I can not remember the last time that I ate Turbot,(to make a comparison) its not on that many menus really.

I could eat the pigeon dish again and again, shame the poor little bugger had such a short life, but it did not die in vain.

Blanc Manger was perfectly escorted by the wonderful apricots, another seemingly simple but extremely satisfying dish.

I was not entirely impressed with the bread. It was average, a little too dense, but no doubt it will have improved over the past weeks.

Although both packed to the brim with flavour, the Umami flan and Gazpacho were a bit too similar to be served one after another, but thats just my opinion, and others will disagree.


To sum up then.


If this place was my local I would be exploring more and more of the wonderful produce arriving at its door on a daily basis. Only at the end of the meal did I notice Andy Hayler dining alone at the bar, great for him as he only lives around the corner. Shame for us as its way, way away.

Needless to say we will try our best to give it another try soon.

Enjoy.




I had an all too brief chat with Michael after the meal, and found him to be unassuming (he refused a photograph), entertaining, and a very well travelled gourmet with an experience of fine dining that is truly amazing.
Very good luck to him.

#47 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:40 AM

....Squab Pigeon, cooked in the oven, then seared in a pan.

This is the reverse of the usual technique, is it not? Can you explain why it is done this way?
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#48 felixhirsch

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:28 AM

that results in more juicy meat as it gets heated up more gently and evenly in the oven first. After resting it you can then just quickly brown it off in a pan. Much better for pretty much any kind of meat you want to cook!

#49 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:18 AM

Thanks. Makes a lot of sense. A way of insuring that the meat is warm but remains blue, or the desired doneness.
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#50 felixhirsch

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 01:48 PM

yep, and it gets rid of the overcooked rim, provided you don't throw it into a pizza oven...

WOrks well in most cases!

#51 Gary Marshall

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 03:40 AM

nice review in weekend FT with some background..

http://www.ft.com/cm...l#axzz1VYiL6zcG
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#52 Prawncrackers

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 03:58 PM

After much anticipation generated mostly by this thread, I finally got to eat at Hedone last week. I went with the missus and another couple and had the 5 course lunch. We all found the the setup there really wonderful, it's a great space and the front of house are very warm and welcoming. Sadly for us we felt the food let the side down in it's inconsistency.

It started off well with the Berkswell Sablée, the smell of that hot cheese cooking is guaranteed to get the juices going. The taste of it was just as good, the sharp and rich Berkswell accented by the sharp blackcurrant. We were then served a little extra course of lightly smoked salmon with a beetroot foam. The roughly hewn chunk of salmon was for me a little insipid and the beetroot although vibrant in colour was again strangely insipid. It was just as well it was an extra because it was underwhelming. But then the first proper course of Grelots Onions picked it up a little. They were sweet and juicy, lightly treated it was a bold statement of simplicity.

Next, the hen egg with girolles was probably my favourite dish of the day. The mushrooms were amazingly fresh like they'd been plucked from the woods minutes beforehand and carried in a hot pan of butter straight to our table. There was a vinegar component to the dish that also starred, is this Banyuls vinegar? We asked the lovely French waitress but she was surprisingly coy about it.

The fish dish is where it fell down for me, the Mackerel with Japanese flavours. A nice bit of fish but of the four orders on our table mine was the most underdone. As you can see the centre was raw, a pretty basic cooking error that I mentioned to the server as he was taking it away. The frisee lettuce also was a little on the tough side, not all that crisp and like my dining companion said at the time "meh, it's frisee lettuce!". I'm puzzled by the Japanese flavours of the dish, this was presumably the dressing on the leaves. It just reminded me of the cheap table dressing you get in Tonkatsu chains in Japan for your shredded cabbage.

I'd like to digress and mention the bread, the hefty crusted sourdough was a delight. I'm distrustful of airy light sourdoughs that rise a lot, but this one definitely wasn't one of those. This one had risen maybe an inch and a half and was dense with bread flavour. The crust is substantial, at first I was reticent and feared for my gums. But it gave way wonderfully, the chewy crumb was perfect.

Our table of four choose two of each of the next course, Sea Bass with Fennel and Sika Deer with Smoked Potato & Apple, so I got to try them both. As I'd actually ordered the bass, I tried this dish first and my setting was a fish knife and fork. It's a another very simple dish, a portion of fish and some fennel, two elements that's all. The bass is as good as I've ever tasted, and just makes me want to live by the sea but the fennel was awful. I could not go through it with my fish knife, was I supposed to pick it up with my fingers? My wife had to cut it up for me into bitesize pieces with her meat knife much to everyone's amusement. But then when I actually got to chew on a piece it was as anticipated tough and completely devoid of any sweet fennel flavour. So for all the excellent work of the fish this two element dish was completely let down by the veg. The Sika deer was a hit all round our table, none of us had eaten venison that good. At once both rich and lean, bursting with meaty almost beefy flavour. The little smoked potatoes were a good accompaniment, the sauce light and unobtrusive.

To finish, my wife ordered the Peach Millefeuille and I the Hedone chocolate bar. Both were on the not so polished looking end of French style desserts but were delicious nonetheless. My chocolate bar had a subtle orange flavour and nice chewy consistency, I think helped by a layer of dacquoise on the bottom.

So all in all, there were some outstanding highs - the bass, girolles, sika deer and the bread, the BREAD! But some proper ropey lows too - Mackerel and Frisee was a disaster for me. I love fennel but the fennel that was served to me was bad. I can just imagine a lovely soft bulb of fennel, juicy and heavy with it's aniseedy liquor pairing up perfectly with that heavenly bass. Bitterly denied! Based purely on the food I'd come back but not in the hurry that everyone else seems to be in. Maybe in a year or two.

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#53 tim g

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 09:25 AM

'a revelation' - http://online.wsj.co...DNewsCollection

#54 Matthew Grant

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 03:59 AM

Another fantastic meal on Saturday, Cevennes Onion, turbot with cockles and Cavelo Nero, raw duck foie gras with raw cepes (a fantastic example of prime ingredients needing very little doing to them) Incredible salt marsh lamb, and if its possible even better quality pigeon than the last time.

So far finding consistently good produce doesn't seem to be a problem, I'm looking forward to the changing seasons. Truly fantastic, just the sort of dining my tastes are leaning towards these days.

How this place finished second to Pollen Street Social in the Timeout food awards is beyond me, an illustration of what a PR company can do for you? :hmmm:
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#55 marcusjames

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 04:34 AM

I have to say I'm not entirely on board with the Hedone bandwagon. Although I enjoyed my meal - the sourcing was undeniably brilliant - I was left a little befuddled by the lack of technique, was the simplicity deliberate or a necessity due to the size of the kitchen and the small complement of chefs? If I had to guess I'd say it's probably a little bit of both.

Call me old-skool, but I take great produce as a given in restaurants with this level of aspiration; sometimes it is nice to see the cooking skills of the kitchen shine through, elevating the produce as a result. I'm starting to think this current trend (so not just Hedone here) of, 'I'm a ballsy chef because I haven't tarted around with the ingredients' is becoming a bit of a cliche already. There's more than a whiff of the emperors new clothes about it all.

#56 Matthew Grant

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 04:50 AM

For me I don't think I would have appreciated this meal a few years ago due to the simplicity of it but my tastes have changed and I'm sick of non descript dishes with average produce. The simplicity thing is a choice, I'm pretty sure Mikael could turn out 3* style haute cuisine if he chose but certainly for the moment at least, he prefers to let the ingredients shine and serve them with complimentary flavours.

What other restaurants in London have produce as consistently high as Hedone? The thing I like about it is that they truly are serving the best produce in what appears to be a simple manner. Things like the jus have sometimes gone through a 3 stage cooking process so it may not be as simple as we would like to believe. This is unlike a multitude of other restaurants who are simply getting their produce locally (no guarantee of quality) or from the usual suppliers to the rest of the trade yet claiming to be serving the best of British.

How many chefs do you know getting up at 6am every day to select the fish he wants from his supplier? how about buying 6.5kg Turbots so fresh they haven't even got rigormortis and need a couple of days in the fridge before they are ready for eating. What about fully feathered/furred game? How about sending produce back to suppliers because it doesn't meet the standards Mikael demands? This isn't a PR stunt, it is Mikaels high standards, higher than anyone else I know.

Edited by Matthew Grant, 03 October 2011 - 04:51 AM.

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#57 nickloman

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:26 AM

Interesting Matthew. We had high expectations because of this level of sourcing. Which made certain decisions quite baffling when we tried it - for example the frisee lettuce served with the mackerel (see Prawncrackers' photos) could have been sourced at our local Tesco. And the fennel was tough as old boots. And how hard is it to cut a piece of salmon with a sharp knife?

Sorry this sounds like I'm carping, we enjoyed our meal and plenty of the ingredients were absolutely great. But I don't think the case for Hedone as "best restaurant in London" is at all clear-cut.

#58 david goodfellow

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 04:39 PM

Some interesting comments on this thread recently, and I have since had time to reconsider our visit back in July and make comparison with them.

Although we enjoyed the meal, I did not leave the restaurant on cloud nine, longing to inform the wider world of my experience. Hence the delay in the write up.

Its all very simplistic, with utter reliance on the product. Which is all well and good if all of the produce is of tip top order. But that does not always seem to be the case. So consistancy is an issue.

Some of the presentation leaves a lot to be desired, and quite frankly looks amateurish.

Comparing our meal to the one we had at say Roganic, does not inspire me to return to Chiswick, but I would dash back to Marylebone.

#59 Man

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 12:58 PM

Just to nuance the spectrum of opinions even more, I think Mikael does well in focusing on sourcing spectacular produce and keeping it simple, because his (or his associates') cooking is not sure-footed. I've had just a single experience but we've seen other examples in this thread.

That said, the flavours were such a joy that I wouldn't hesitate for a minute, given the choice, to return to Chiswick in preference to Roganic, which was interesting but also imperfect, showy and evanescent (one of the few times I disagree with David - and with almost everybody else :biggrin: ).

Hope next time Mikael can spare a lamb for us...

#60 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 03:03 PM

I haven't been, and don't see London in my near future, but I do understand the kind of cooking that has been described here by several astute diners. As in music, where it is far more difficult to maintain tone quality while playing exceedingly softly, it is infinitely more difficult to cook and present something with a minimum of handling, cooking and seasoning. It is much easier to augment a product, to add season and sauce and garniture to hide imperfections of sourcing and kitchen technique. Visit any of the more-is-more temples to see what I mean.
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