Scott - I did add the words 'locality and budget' in that statement and I have acknowledged their sourcing is incredible in an earlier post. I think you need to consder the point in context.
But! Hedone ain't cheap and has to be judged in those terms. I'd like to see anyone pull this concept off in a town or city beyond London. I doubt the pricing would fly so (with one or two notable exceptions) regional chefs simply don't have the option to go to these lengths.
OK, I don't think you were taken out of context at all. the words and implication are clear.
I also think Hedone *IS* cheap. it is incredibly great value for the level of ingredient provided. Go for lunch if you like, the tasting is still available and is incredible value.
And is the quality of the turbot really better than The Ledbury, or (since he keeps coming up in the thread), Ducasse, to name just two? Those are restaurants who, albeit with different styles, manage to produce dishes where there's a lot more technique going on around the main ingredient. Admittedly, they have much larger kitchen brigades, but that's part of my point - it's there to be seen on the plate.
Actually yes. that is the whole point, it is not just better, it is markedly and observably better. if I have one tiny criticism, is that sometimes Mikael serves his turbot too fresh, but hey, that's not the worst crime. and it is the teensiest of criticisms at that.
if you want to know the difference between good, great, and passable turbot I would recommend passing on a couple of meals out, flying to Biarritz, hoping in a car for 35-40 minutes until you arrive in Gataria. stump up about 10eur for a bottle of the local txacolina, and order the turbot at Elkano.
if you are feeling a bit extravagant, you could do worse that back to back meals at Mugaritz (all technique, passable ingredients), and Extebarri (cathedral to ingredient quality). between these 2 you have the finest technique, and the finest ingredients, and the borders of what each is capable of are illustrated beautifully.
NB. I am aware of just what a load of pretentious toss that sounds :D but its still true. honest, guv.
if you don't get ingredients, extebarri will fix that for you. Elkano is a masterclass in turbot. really. Go for the earliest table at lunch, when they have time to guide you through eating the damned thing. the 7 or 8 zones within the fish, the differences in flavours and textures between the flesh from the cheek, from the chest cavity, between the ribs, and dark vs sun side up.
I think there is a mistake commonly made that there isn't a difference ingredient quality between one decent restaurant and another, but its just not the case. if you eat a tomato (or basic rendition thereof) at Louis XV in Monaco, 'L'arpege in Paris, and Mikael's sublime gazpacho (using finest sardinian tomatoes, home ripen, and macerated in their juices) and then take a look at something else in London you will be shocked at the difference.
The vegetables on the riviera markets are still head and shoulders above what is farmed here. Now if someone goes to the effort of getting their hands on that, they are 1. taking sourcing to further lengths 2. providing a clearly higher quality product.
I once had a really interesting conversation with Theo Randall about sourcing, when he opened his new place (good food, shame about the room). He was telling me that it took him 6 months before opening to get his sourcing in line, visiting people all over italy, and the UK, and how there wasn't a magic directory where people can just buy what they want. sourcing is an art, and it is very, very hard work.
When I spoke to victor at Extebarri, I asked how his Spiny Langouste (god's own lobster) was so good, and so much better than what was served by the 3* restaurants around him, when the baseline quality all round was so good? his answer? with a smile "we try harder". before they settled on their milk supplier, they tried samples and visited over 60 dairies. people just don't do that, not unless you are a produce focused pyschopath :D
All that being said I have to admit, it's nearly a year since I've been to Hedone and should really give it a second chance.
you really should.
** also some of that pretentious, rambling nonsense was also in relation to Man's post below.
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?