[London] Hedone

#1

I had a nice dinner at Hedone, a restaurant in Chiswick, which is a little outside central London. It’s run by chef Mikael Jonsson, a former lawyer and food blogger who changed careers to become a chef. They received a Michelin star a few years ago.

There’s no a la carte option for dinner at Hedone, only a tasting menu at £95 and a “carte blanche” tasting menu at £135, with a wine pairing available as well. I went for the “carte blanche” tasting menu without the wine pairing and just asked them to recommend a couple of glasses to go with. This is what was on the menu:

Tuna Tartare
First amuse bouche was a crunchy cone filled with tuna tartare. Tasty.


Beetroot Crisp with Foie Gras and Miso
Second amuse. Delicious. Crispy beet shell with rich foie and a salty miso paste.


Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce
Third amuse? A play on fish and chips, with a nice firm and delicate tasting piece of I think halibut inside a crispy thin potato shell. It came with a tartar like dipping sauce on the side.


Rock Oyster
Topped with a cucumber gelee and some sort of foam. The slightly cooked oyster was large and meaty but kind of tasteless. Not very oyster-y and a little too subtle for me. Maybe this is just how rock oysters taste. I think this was my first rock oyster.


Bread and Butter
Good bread.


Sea Plankton, Eel Jelly, Caviar
I forgot to take a picture of this, which is unfortunate as it was one of the best bites in the meal. It was a green custard made from sea plankton, topped with eel jelly, and then topped with caviar. The custard had kind of a chawanmushi like consistency. Caviar was salty and briny, with the eel jelly adding a bit of meaty flavor.


Claw of Crab
With diced apple, horseradish oil, and some sort of mayonnaise. The warm broth was crab flavored and delicate, with a subtle kick from the horseradish oil. The little apple cubes were sweet and crunchy. Very good.


Summer Vegetables
With a hollandaise sauce and some carrot and pea (and maybe corn?) flavored sauces. I thought this was excellent. Sublime vegetables that were lightly cooked. Light hollandaise sauce. Very pretty presentation.


Scallops
From the Isle of Man, with courgettes and I think sorrel. Large meaty sweet scallops, maybe could have been a little less cooked. The sauce on bottom was a little tangy and sour.


Sea Bass
Inspired by the south of France, the fish was served on a sauce made from fennel and olive, with some beans from Brittany. The fish was cooked perfectly, and had a crispy skin. The olive and fennel sauce was very nice with a meaty olive-ness.


Veal Sweetbread
With apricots, carrots, and mushrooms. Good. Was nicely seared and served on a rich demi-glace like sauce.


Grouse
Before the meal started, chef Jonsson came by and asked if I liked grouse, with the warning that it could be a little bitter for some people. Apparently grouse season was just beginning. I’d never had it before but said that I would like give it a try.

This was served with a soubise and beets. The breast of the grouse was cooked very rare and a little bloody. It was not super gamy but indeed had a little bitterness. Tasted a bit liver-y. The leg of the grouse, artfully presented with claws draped over the edge of the plate, was more well done. It was pretty funky and gamy tasting. Not sure I like grouse. Maybe it’s an acquired taste.


Lemon Meringue, Clementine Sorbet(?)
Light and refreshing creamy things and a sorbet on top of an airy meringue wafer.


Chocolate Millefeuille
With pistachio cream, cherries, and cherry sorbet. Didn’t really work for me. The millefeuille was kind of tasteless and shattered into little bits when biting into it. I found the pistachio cream to also be kind of tasteless. It tasted like - and had the texture of - frozen whipped cream with a hint of pistachio. The cherries and cherry sorbet were good though.


Raspberry Pâté de Fruit, Macaron, Milk Chocolate
Just in case two desserts weren’t enough.


A piece of nougat came with the bill.


Overall quite a good meal, albeit a little pricy (it was a lot of food though) and with a couple misses. My favorites were all of the amuses, the sea plankton, the crab, and the summer vegetables. I also discovered that I’m currently not a big fan of grouse. It came with fair warning though, and I’m glad I tried it.

Service was excellent and friendly.

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#2

I last ate here about 4 years ago (pre-Michelin) and really enjoyed my lunch - the best I had had in London for many years.

At the time I thought it very good value for the quality of the food - although the prices do seem to have climbed steeply, albeit with more courses.

I always think this style of cooking, a style that often pushes the envelope, will have a dish o two that don’t gel with the diner. Typically when my wife eat this style we will have different favourites and different “miss” dishes - sometimes ones miss in another favourites.

I always remember a meal at Mugaritz with when six of us all had different misses and favourites which made for great discussion and conversation.

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(June Pickering) #3

We also ate there about 4 years ago, and I loved almost every dish served. And the bread… oh, my it was delicious. It’s quite far from where I live, so we haven’t been back but one of these days. I don’t think, if I remember correctly, that the prices have changed all that much.

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#4

We had a meal here a couple of years ago that we really enjoyed. It was around this time of the year and grouse was also on the menu - it’s less than a month into the season so I guess it’s still exciting produce.

One of the things that stuck with me afterwards was how accommodating Mikael Jonsson was. We didn’t want to splash out on the wine pairing leaving it a bit hard to judge the wine with a tasting menu. He suggested two bottles that would go well in our budget and sold us half of each bottle. I’ve not experienced that before, Carrafes and half sized bottles yes, but not half of two random bottles on the menu. I thought it was a nice gesture.

Not been back for the same reason as June, but interestingly enough there’s a natural wine shop in Bermondsey that’s open on a Saturday that sells Hedone’s bread and croissants.

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(John Hartley) #5

Lex - we used to have a nice place in Greater Manchester where they would serve you a glass of, literally, any from their extensive bottle list. And, IIRC, it was very reasonably priced - I think at a fifth of the bottle price.

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(John Hartley) #6

Hardens Guide reports that Hedone closed on 1/6.

One of those places that i always fancied but never got round to.

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#7

Sad news but as restaurants go it had a good long run. I did read he had set up a separate bakery at another site so assume he will continue with that part of the business.

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#8

They’re still selling Hedone bakery’s bread in the Dynamic Wines railway arch in Bermondsey so I think you must be right.

Shame that he went out on a low of financial pressures as the media suggests he never intended the restaurant to exist for this long anyway.

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