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Matthew Grant

Hedone

102 posts in this topic

Some of the old timers on this board may remember Degusto (Mikael Jonsson), a man obsessed with ingredient quality and precise cooking? I'll start with a disclaimer and let everyone know that I am friends with Mikael, we meet occasionally in London and he sometimes makes reservations for me in France.

To anybody that knows him Mikael would be a very talented chef and after much encouragement (not that he needed too much) and a couple of false starts he has finally taken the plunge, changed career and is about to open a restaurant in Chiswick called Hedone. He has already spent considerable time and effort trying to source the best ingredients he can find in the UK and these will be supplemented from other sources whenever he believes they aren't good enough. I haven't got any menu details just yet but hope to be able to give a sneak preview in the next week or so.

This restaurant will be one of the most ambitious to open in London in a long time, I hope people will give it time to settle in, Mikael will be the first to admit that the best he has to offer may take a little while to develop and numbers will be limited until they feel comfortable with what they are doing, to this end I will not be revealing the opening date at this point. Mikael is one of the few chefs I know that is hoping the critics don't come straight away.

Hedone

301 Chiswick High Road

Gastroville


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Quite right not to want critics in straightaway, a new restaurant like a new show needs some time to bed down and as long as prices at the time reflect this 'testing' phase it's fine.

I cannot understand bloggers' obsession with being 'first in'. Seems less to do with enjoyment of food and more to do with some kind of 'twitcher' mentality.

S

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Hedone had a soft opening last night and I have to say that this would already rank as my number 1 meal in the UK this year and I'll predict that it will only be surpassed by other meals at Hedone. It was a fantastic debut and made all the more exciting as Mikael (as any of us who know him could have predicted) wasn't happy with everything so things will be getting even better.

Ingredient quality was key and they were allowed to shine, nothing overbearing or dominating other than the main ingredients. Gougeres and complimentary champagne (Froment Griffin) to keep us amused, fantastic home made bread (I was going to take him one of my own loaves but having tasted Mikaels I'm glad I left my now not so proud effort at home).

Umami flan with english peas was enhanced with the use of bonito flakes. An intense gaspacho with dill seed sorbet (more of a cream) was fantastic especially as it incorporated English tomatoes (supplemented with some from Italy).

A Sashimi of scallops was super, served simply sliced with a little radish and a dressing of White Banyuls vinegar, the following course was again scallops, this time cooked in the shell with seaweed butter, not just any old nori but nori Mikael himself bought in Japan.

Wild Dorset seabass was probably the best piece of seabass I have tried, a tranche from a lovely large fish served with tomatoes and fresh almonds. One slight criticism acknowledged by Mikael was that it was a touch undercooked but given the quality of the fish they got away with it, it could probably have been served raw for all I cared. As an indication of how particular Mikael is with fish, he wants it within a day of being caught and it shouldn't be stored on ice.

Our table was also sent a dish only being served to the non meat eaters, a lovely lobster, the tail meat was excellent but the claw was perfection, as good a piece of Lobster that I've ever tried, a lovely lobster jus.

Cheeses from Neals yard

45 day aged Black Angus beef was served with its juicers, onions, cabbage and Juniper smoked potatoes

French and English Raspberries were served with acinnamon ice cream, aromatic vinegar and horseradish cream - Who would have thought that they would come together in such a lovely way.

I hope that some other people who were there last night will be able to validate how good this was and how good it will be as they settle down.

Reservations: 0208 747 0377


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I'll take your word for it matt :wink:

Booked, very much looking forward to seeing what mikael has been up to, last time I saw him, he'd just finished telling heston where he was going wrong :laugh:


you don't win friends with salad

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You should see him in action in a Cafe Rouge! :laugh:


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Blimey, sounds amazing. I'm not far from Chiswick so it would be rude not to..

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If anyone has some pictures, it would be much appreciated if you'd share them. Mikael opened later than he thought and now I have to wait until October to try it! THus, some food porn would be most welcome.

Thanks

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Oh wow fascinating. That's a blast from the past all right.

I still remember him banging on about those black sea turbot back in the day! Hope the ones he's found in England are up to scratch!

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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Strange you should mention that Jon, I was there again on Friday and had excellent Turbot, it was from the UK, Mikael is trying to source as much as possible from the UK and it is admirable to see how much superior produce he has managed to find, its sad that other restaurateurs/chefs aren't prepared to go to such lengths.

The flan, which was already fantastic, was lifted to a higher plain with Nori replacing peas from last week, the dish took on an almost truffle like flavour. I also thought the Gazpacho better, the dill was more pronounced this time round. The turbot was an excellent piece of fish but I thought it could have done with a touch more seasoning, a minor quibble and Mikael acknowledged that it was served the way he wanted . Squab was served with an offal sauce and the smoked potatoes. This was fantastic, in this instance a superior french bird, delivered ungutted, we were left chewing on the leg bones. An Apricot dish with almond Blancmange highlighted superb apricots. Overall bloody lovely and still keeping numbers low as he ensures the best possible food before upping the numbers.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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He's not yet serving the horse fat chips, they will be there at some point though.


Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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So to Hedone, the eagerly anticipated first restaurant venture from the most committed foodie i've ever met, Mikael Jonnsson whose desire to find the worlds best ingredients seems to know no bounds, even re-locating to malta for a while just for the fish! (probably)

Easy to find on chiswick high st it's a good space, with a shiny open kitchen on the first floor with an as yet uncompleted wine cellar, private dining room and downnstairs bar, complete with the legend 'we only serve doubles' , i suspect that will not survive the refit!

Holding about 30 covers the industrial looking space evokes an atelier robuchon type aesthetic with bare brick walls and obviously the open kitchen with most of the kitchen bar the prep area (i assume) open to view. French seems to be the kitchens lingua franca so it has a continental vibe to it.

We had pretty much the same menu as matt, which under the soft opening is 9 courses for £60 and 5 courses for £45. After a long tube journey out at rush hour, we weren't going to have the lighter option!

matt has described the dishes and i would certainly agree there is already a clarity of flavour and precsion of cooking you would not expect to find in a new restaurants second service, especially in one where the chef has not spent the last 20 years doing service in a professional kitchen!

some of the dishes eg the scallops were perhaps a little too refined compared to the likes of the sportsman which is probably the nearest comparator in terms of ethos (and mikael is good friends with stephen harris and spends plenty of time there)but the skill and attention to detail was evident.

for me the standout was the beef 45 days aged from o'sheas cooked not in a bag but in a pan and a more ethereal piece of meat i have not had the pleasure of eating all year, and in recent memory, served with jersey royals smoked over juniper berries that were just the most potatoey potatoes i can also remember with just a hint of juniper but not smokey.

wine list is 140 bins long and is strong in the classic regions we had a good 1er cru montagny , a fanny sabre pommard vielle vignes and a tasty desert wine which escapes me , plus a glass of cremant de loire on the house with canapés.

All told a stunning debut, knocks pollen st social out of the park, going back Wednesday.....


you don't win friends with salad

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for me the standout was the beef 45 days aged from o'sheas cooked not in a bag but in a pan and a more ethereal piece of meat i have not had the pleasure of eating all year, and in recent memory, served with jersey royals smoked over juniper berries that were just the most potatoey potatoes i can also remember with just a hint of juniper but not smokey.

Probably worth pointing out that this isn't any old O'Shea beef, it has to meet Mikaels exacting standards, it wouldn't surprise me if he is going to get them to hang it to his own spec.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I went back last night for what i thought would be a relatively swift dinner (i'd promised a new colleague dinner and she lived nearby so seemed appropriate) booked in at 6.30, got there 6.20 left at, err lets just say a good six hours later!

Already in a week there's noticable improvement, especially the gazpacho, now it punches out tomato and dill flavour and i can still taste it.

as we wandered in mikael asked if i liked live scallops, like? don't know, never had one, and coming from York, for a long scallops were deep fried potatoe cakes! so i couldn't refuse , straight out of the shell trimmed and plonked on a plate, it was delicious the very essence of scallop (and hand dived off the south coast btw)

so quickly the menu was ..berkswell and blackcurrant biscuits, a monagesque deep fried beet thing (barbajan?), umami flan , gaspacho steamed turbot which worked far better than sea bass, roast duck with a lobster sauce! Slow cooked duck egg and morels with white peach, cheese, little millefeuille type desert and less successful soufflé – which is work in progress.

mikael is clearly loving it and growing in confidence daily, go and have a chat with him and the staff they are all very keen and i'm sure they'll cook a meal that will knock your socks off.

(some of you may know the excellent FOH Aurelie (sp?) ex -trompette, texture , poss chez bruce iirc.)

on the wine front got stuck into the 1er cru montagny and the fanny sabre bourgogne, all good stuff.


you don't win friends with salad

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Cue David........


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Thank you Matthew.

You know what they say about curiosity? It nearly killed the cat. Well this pussy risked life and limb for near four hours in torrential rain, on the M6 and M1, in F1 type conditions to satisfy my curiosity. It made for a late and tense arrival.

Did I get the cream? Well you will have to wait for a while as this is a late start for me and I've not even read the newspapers yet.

As a taster, I did take some photos of the venue. So for now, those who are interested can take a peek.

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Glad to see its not just me and Gary that enjoyed Hedone!

Andy Hayler


Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Blimey, it looks even better than I would have hoped for in my wildest dreams. Have to run there as soon as I can, once I'm back in the UK!

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I've had several astonishing meals here now.

Disclosure, I'm also a friend (from egullet days) of Mikael.

Went in for another few dishes last night and had an amazing meal, though I'm not sure why I was actually amazed. Things have been refined. Nothing is static.

Actually had three perfect dishes. Haven't gotten over them today.

One of Mikael's signatures (ridiculous to say signature after such a short time open, but still) is his flans (horrible word indicating divine set savoury custard). The umami flan with nori coulis has somehow gotten deeper in flavour. Mikael often juxtaposes elements with very different seasoning - one element seasoning another only in the mouth. He's made the umami flan bolder, I think with a touch of acid. I've had it now four or five times and last night was the boldest still. Wonderful. With the nori, perfect.

We argue about bread texture. I like a crispier crust, he likes it a little softer. Last night was great for me. Maybe too much for him. And the new raisin bread for cheese was beautiful. A nice lingering flavour without going over-long. Anyway, the bread has almost reached that place where I can't stop eating it. Not quite there, but close. I had too much.

The slow cooked egg with chanterelles and slivers of (forgive my Norman - FUCKING) peach was another perfect plate of food. A mix of butter and vinegar. The acidity of the peach. The savoriness of the astonishing mushrooms. The use of arugula to pepper the flavours. Just amazing. Having trouble not thinking about it even now.

Then the pigeon, another perfect dish. I don't know about people here, but I'm beginning to get a little weary of large lumps of well cooked protein and jus as an end to savoury courses. This pigeon came with a parsley/pistachio salsa verde that was beautifully seasoned and acidic, with the offal sauce that was much lighter than I was expecting, and a very indulgent new puree of smoked potatoes. It just made an unexpectedly subtle, complex, perfect mouthful of food.

Blissful. Obviously I'm biased, but I don't think any of you should go. Ever.

BTW, the bar is now open - or at least is occasionally. Has a kind of ALC. Very nice to sit and eat and watch them cook. Not for you, for me. You'd hate it. Rubbish experience.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I would suggest going now but I don't want any of you to go either. :laugh:

Once the reviewers get their hands on this place I'll almost guarantee you wont be able to get a table for ages. Wihout doubt the most ambitious restaurant to open in London for years, there won't be Michelin stars this year but I wonder whether this could be the first debut restaurant to earn 2 stars in the UK next year.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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This

Then the pigeon, another perfect dish...

and this

Once the reviewers get their hands on this place I'll almost guarantee you wont be able to get a table for ages.

were the final straws. I booked, back to back with Roganics. Looks like it will be an interesting London trip. :smile:

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You won't regret it. To give you some idea of how seriously he takes his ingredients he has dismissed the Poulet Noir used by lots of top London restaurants. When I say dismissed, I really mean it, Mikael thinks it isn't even good enough to make stock with :biggrin:

The quality of the Pigeon is stunning, a strangled bird imported complete with its guts, knocks socks of the squab normally served in London.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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