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Hibiscus moving?


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I think my sympathies are with M. Bosi, after all doesn't he cook a menu of his choosing everyday i.e. the 6 course tasting menu...?

Therefore isn't it rude to mail him and suggest that you deserve something better. I assume he already believes he is delivering his best via the aforementioned tasting menu.

Certainly the daily tasting menu is of his choosing. But clearly, what my friend was asking for was a situation where Bosi had carte blanche to cook whatever he pleases (and, for that matter, charge however much he pleases), an extended, more spontaneous menu. Surely you'll admit that if you've not asked for (or simply been offered) such a menu before, or at least read about it. I don't think it's at all uncommon, at least among the crowd that reads forums like eGullet.

Also, nowhere did he suggest that we deserved anything. This is the hospitality industry -- it never hurts to ask.

I know many chefs who would take this request as a compliment.   

Me too.

...but why use his personal email address?

Because he gave my friend his email personally, and specifically told him to make sure he was in the next time he came to Hibiscus.

At the end of the day, I'm sure it's Bosi's loss and not mine anyway, since it seems he has lost a customer in the sender (and yes, I'm fully expecting someone to make a snide comment like, "then the sender's not a customer Bosi cares to have..."), and, potentially, in tupac17616.

Surprisingly enough, I don't think he's lost a customer in my friend. But I'm pretty sure he has in me. As UE said before, I just found it incredibly inhospitable.

5. Why post the response on here?

Because, simply put, the chef's reaction rubbed me the wrong way. There are a thousand nicer ways he could have gotten the very same point across.

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I think my sympathies are with M. Bosi, after all doesn't he cook a menu of his choosing everyday i.e. the 6 course tasting menu...?

Therefore isn't it rude to mail him and suggest that you deserve something better. I assume he already believes he is delivering his best via the aforementioned tasting menu.

Certainly the daily tasting menu is of his choosing. But clearly, what my friend was asking for was a situation where Bosi had carte blanche to cook whatever he pleases (and, for that matter, charge however much he pleases), an extended, more spontaneous menu. Surely you'll admit that if you've not asked for (or simply been offered) such a menu before, or at least read about it. I don't think it's at all uncommon, at least among the crowd that reads forums like eGullet.

Also, nowhere did he suggest that we deserved anything. This is the hospitality industry -- it never hurts to ask.

OK a reasonable request but that wasn't how the mail was worded. If you had recognised he already did a tasting menu, and then asked if he could do a special "no expense spared" menu to show off all his talent and creativity on your one visit, then I suspect you may have got a better response.

You mail -"if you would like to cook us a menu of your choosing. Whether this includes traditional Lyonnaise cooking or more modern dishes, or both" - reads like a request for a tasting menu and the implication is that you don't know he already does one. If I read it like that maybe he did.

Fault on both sides?

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I think my sympathies are with M. Bosi, after all doesn't he cook a menu of his choosing everyday i.e. the 6 course tasting menu...?

Therefore isn't it rude to mail him and suggest that you deserve something better. I assume he already believes he is delivering his best via the aforementioned tasting menu.

Certainly the daily tasting menu is of his choosing. But clearly, what my friend was asking for was a situation where Bosi had carte blanche to cook whatever he pleases (and, for that matter, charge however much he pleases), an extended, more spontaneous menu. Surely you'll admit that if you've not asked for (or simply been offered) such a menu before, or at least read about it. I don't think it's at all uncommon, at least among the crowd that reads forums like eGullet.

Also, nowhere did he suggest that we deserved anything. This is the hospitality industry -- it never hurts to ask.

OK a reasonable request but that wasn't how the mail was worded. If you had recognised he already did a tasting menu, and then asked if he could do a special "no expense spared" menu to show off all his talent and creativity on your one visit, then I suspect you may have got a better response.

You mail -"if you would like to cook us a menu of your choosing. Whether this includes traditional Lyonnaise cooking or more modern dishes, or both" - reads like a request for a tasting menu and the implication is that you don't know he already does one. If I read it like that maybe he did.

Fault on both sides?

Perhaps, but I think that's splitting hairs a bit.

Either way, Bosi's response - though not intended for the recipient - was just not cool.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I know the concept seems almost foreign here, but reverting back to discussing food, I'm curious to know whether certain dishes reappear on the menu from time-to-time? I'm not necessarily referring to classics, per se, but seasonal favorites.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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  • 9 months later...

I am hopeful that someone can give me an update on dining here recently, as this thread is surprisingly quiet

We have not been here for quite a long time, but when we were there we thought it very good indeed, in fact excellent.

I noticed on another thread that Polarbear dined here and The Square the same day?

How do they compare?

Who's cutting the mustard?

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Hibiscus hands down.

Very unique and informal. The food has gotten better and better.

Claude has retained his 'out of London style' even whilst he's in the midst of it, deffo contender for a future 3 star restaurant.

Thank you Mr Bear, thats another one thats been upped on my list, thanks to you. :smile:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Ditto, we had a truly stellar lunch back in August taking the private dining room downstairs. I know - I have been crap at writing meals up of recent - but briefly. We started with Chilled water melon soda, tomato foam with tiny globules of pineapple that popped in the mouth, was a genius and refreshing way to start.

Mackerel was served two ways as a tartare with begonia and bergamot oil and then a divine smoked mackerel with a rich almond butter.

Ravioli of spring onion and lime, with broad beans, mint pureee and carmelised cevenne onions was summer on a plate.

A requested dish of my favourite foie gras ice cream with slivers of green mango and warm brioche emulsion elicited the response I was hoping for with one of our party declaring it to be " so wrong but so right at the same time".

John Dory waas spot on served with girolles and then perfect shropshire veal, with aubergine and miso caviar was stunning. Service was top notch, especially from the new young female sommelier who explained everything beautifully. A joy from start to finish (unlike Le Gavroche the night before). Better get down there David.

Edited by Bapi (log)
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Ditto, we had a truly stellar lunch back in August taking the private dining room downstairs. I know - I have been crap at writing meals up of recent - but briefly. We started with Chilled water melon soda, tomato foam with tiny globules of pineapple that popped in the mouth, was a genius and refreshing way to start.

Mackerel was served two ways as a tartare with begonia and bergamot oil and then a divine smoked mackerel with a rich almond butter.

Ravioli of spring onion and lime, with broad beans, mint pureee and carmelised cevenne onions was summer on a plate.

A requested dish of my favourite foie gras ice cream with slivers of green mango and warm brioche emulsion elicited the response I was hoping for with one of our party declaring it to be " so wrong but so right at the same time".

John Dory waas spot on served with girolles and then perfect shropshire veal, with aubergine and miso caviar was stunning. Service was top notch, especially from the new young female sommelier who explained everything beautifully. A joy from start to finish (unlike Le Gavroche the night before). Better get down there David.

I will, I will, try and stop me :smile:

Now what about that Le Gavroche post while were on the subject? :laugh:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Simultaneous business trips to London on my wife’s birthday provided the excuse for a visit to Hibiscus earlier in the month.

I’d booked it a couple of months ago so turning up and discovering the tasting menu available midweek was exciting, discovering the prices had been increased since booking wasn’t. Not that it was a huge increase (£5 per head on the à la carte) but did have Fiona pondering the notion of prior advice of the change, especially as they had my email address; what can I say – she’s a lawyer.

Anyway, that was a talking point and certainly didn’t detract from the meal; predictably we opted for the tasting menu which was adapted from the àlc with a few augmentations and kicked off with a chilled Hibiscus soda with spherified pineapple and black pepper; it reminded both of us (pleasantly) of an unnamed drink from childhood holidays in Brittany.

Then came a single, monstrous scallop with a granny smith and hazelnut crust and a pork pie sauce; all lovely though there could have been more of the unctuous sauce. In fact, I would happily have had a glass of the sauce on it’s own. Next up was a ravioli of cevennes onion with a salad of grelot onion, granny smith and a spherified potato “gnocchi”, I’m a huge fan of the onion/potato combination and the addition of apple enhanced the flavours; I was also impressed by how distinct the two types of onion were, both sweet and oniony but also individual and complimentary.

The following course was red mullet accented with an onion salad, bone marrow and onion toast, smoked butter and civet sauce which stood up to the sprout leaves which tarnished the plate (entirely a personal prejudice, Fi happily relieved me of the offending leaves, strange woman). The bone marrow/onion toast was amazing and went far too quickly – I’d have loved more but Fiona wondered if it may be too rich for a larger portion, no matter the course was a triumph and left us looking forward to the next.

Which was a disappointment, Fine de Claire oysters poached in their shell with a shallot and sherry vinegar gel and lemon caviar; I have no idea why anyone feels the need to cook oysters but I also don’t have Claude Bosi’s accolades so we tried with an open mind. I really wish we hadn’t bothered. The oyster was fine, spoiled slightly by the poaching but the gel was horrificly acidic, the flavour dominated everything else with the shallots and lemon caviar undetectable. I hope the gel was made my some commis on a stage as whoever did make it has a problem with their palate.

The next course resumed the otherwise excellent balance of the meal; roast foie gras with fig compote and raspberry vinegar purée. It was great – though I think I’m getting a bit bored of foie gras; that really does sound louché doesn’t it? Ah well, on with the Grouse...

Which was what was next, roast Scottish Grouse with a sourdough puree, sweetcorn and curry gel and black pepper oil; the grouse was cooked to perfection and not too high, the sourdough puree and the gel complimenting it perfectly.

For desert there was a granny smith puree, sweet celeriac jelly and cream of chestnut which wasn’t bad but didn’t make as much of an impression as the preceding courses and then came a mystery desert. To be honest I’m a bit over the whole “we’ll tell you what it is once you’ve finished” thing but this time it was fun. So, we had a mystery tart with a pear sauce and a vanilla & smoked caramel ice-cream; the accompaniments were good but the tart was perplexing, slightly grainy in texture but beautifully put together. We wondered on chestnut but as it was in the course before I decided it must have been nutmeg; turns out it was parsnip, just not like any parsnips I’ve ever had before.

Throw in a couple of Kirs, a bottle of dry Aussie Riesling and a lovely Savigny les Beaune and we have a lovely evening; I’m still not sure about the room, it felt uncomfortable slightly but I’m not sure why, it didn’t spoil anything though. Interestingly my wife’s now keen on spherification and gels – she’s always been unsure at my home attempts – so it looks like I can get the algin etc. out again.

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Been there for lunch today. Very accomplished, interesting cusine; and also great value at lunch. But.

True, we didn't go for the fireworks of full tasting menu, so we may have missed something. Anyway, our thoroughly pleasant experience was definitely not at 3* level, as somebody sugegsted it might become. It's a solid 2*. We were impressed by an elegant Warm Royale of toasted rice and walnuts, by a delicate scallop and brown crab raviolo, by a powerful but judicious warm pithivier of pheasant & foie gras, and by a great combination of chestnut parfait with sharon fruit sorbet.

We were happy even about something we never find satisfactory in French restaurants: the espresso coffee, which a supernice waiter offered to repeat after we judged the first sample merely 'fair'.

Friendly staff. But some details lacking in the mise en place, leaving a huge gap to perfection. Only one type of bread. All good and almost memorable, but just almost.

More details and pics at our place in due course.

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  • 2 months later...

Hibiscus…hmmm

First, let’s lay to rest some of the criticisms I’ve seen crop up on the Board but which certainly didn’t manifest (for us at least) in practice.

I thought the room worked fine – certainly of a standard.

And the service too was good. Pleasant and professional, helpful in steering wine choices through a list that wasn’t just “painting by numbers”.

But the food, which read symphonic on the menu, I found totally schizophrenic on the plate.

Foie Gras with Apple and Szechuan Pepper compote and Sea Buckthorn gel, tickled all my “esoteric ingredients” buttons. But the foie was barely on speaking terms with the tartness of the gel, leaving the compote a subdued and awkward child completely overshadowed but two parents having an almighty domestic on the plate.

My hare with truffle jus and onions lay alongside a separately cooked leek and somehow failed to bind or integrate – a disjointedness that was echoed by the Pork Belly sharing a space uncomfortably with a tranche of eel.

This, of course, was followed by the sausage role with salad as a “deuxieme service”. Sausage roll and salad?! Can we just do a sense check on that one, please? And the idea of labelling it a “deuxieme service”. It was a bit like putting Martin Johnson in a tutu and asking him to play for France.

Now, lets just pause here a moment.

Even as a Welshman I’ve got to admit (however grudgingly) that Johnson was one of the finest players of his generation. And if this wasn’t the best sausage roll I’ve ever eaten, I don’t know what was. Similarly I’ve always shied away from hare (call it culinary alopecia…) but, dear God, that piece of hare was cooked fabulously – rich and gamey without being high; totally unctuous. Technically accomplished and very, very tasty. But, for me, the meal as a whole was characterised by a determination to keep being too…well…interesting. A chef who could clearly cook Beethoven is choosing, instead, to treat us to Stockhausen.

And, at the end of the day, I’d rather be comforted than confused – no matter the technical brilliance of that confusion.

Gareth

p.s. One final point – and this feels niggly but isn’t intended that way and Hibisuc is far from the only ‘offender’ in this regard – but some of the “very pleasant and professional” staff could do with coaching in diction! On two or three occasions I had to ask for a description of a dish to be repeated because the French accent was so heavy I couldn’t understand what was being described. And it does seem a very great pity – even if I wasn’t wowed by the combinations – for a kitchen to put all that work and thought and execution into something only to have it lost in translation front of house!

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