Hedone, Chiswick

If someone asked you where your favourite restaurant of 2015 is, would you be able to come up with a quick answer? How would you judge it? For me, there are 2 tests. The first is where I would most like to spend my hard earned cash for a reliably great meal. The second is where I’ve taken most friends to eat this year. In my case, both answers are quick and easy – Hedone in Chiswick

I’ve been a fan of chef Mikael Jonsson’s restaurant since it opened in 2011. I love his slightly quirky journey to Michelin star fame in 2013, overcoming serious food allergies and having no professional kitchen experience prior to opening Hedone – you can read about his journey by clicking on his link above. His restaurant location also appeals to my affinity for hidden gems in as much as a Michelin starred restaurant can be hidden, but some people can’t be bothered to make the journey to the suburb of Chiswick and it’s definitely their loss. Come on, people – the restaurant is a 5 minute walk from Chiswick Park underground station, which is in zone 3

Chef Jonsson’s passion is for the quality of his ingredients and he goes to great lengths to source the best of everything, and you can definitely taste the quality of those products on your palate. His other unique selling point is developing innovative ways of cooking. Not in a Heston Blumenthal crazy Mad Hatter kind of way but developing new methods to coax full flavour or new properties out of the food that you’ve never tasted before. On my first visit, I was blown away by an oyster dish where the oyster was served in its shell with a smooth texture I had never come across before. Chatting to him across the counter of the open kitchen at the restaurant, he told me that the oyster had been sous vided whole in its shell to achieve that texture. Over my many visits over the years, I’ve found there’s always something on the menu that makes me say,’How did he do that?’

 

Chef Jonsson at the pass

I love the open plan kitchen that dominates the restaurant space and I love watching the chefs cook and plate. Chef Jonsson keep the quality and standards tip top at the pass but does pop into the dining room too. His passion for cooking is clear in his conversations and he’s been generous enough to share his exact recipes of  some of my favourite dishes at his restaurant

His dishes are seasonal but if the following dishes are available at the time of your visit, make sure to order them. They blew my mind and palate and I still drool just thinking about them. Suckling pig with the crispiest skin and deep, moist porky goodness. Lamb cutlet cooked to melt in the mouth perfection with grassy sweetness. Giant asparagus, which was so tender and given nutty and creamy foils on the plate. Sweet butter poached lobster, always cooked to the quality that proves that it deserves its place at the top of the seafood tree

The restaurant had a refresh this year and the refurbishment actually resulted in fewer covers, an intentional change by chef Jonsson to cook for fewer guests but to attract those who truly understand and appreciate the direction and intention of his cooking. The menu has also had a makeover with some of his signature dishes no longer on the menu – liquid Parmesan ravioli and a warm chocolate mousse & raspberry dessert having been ever-present since opening. Freed from this constraint, he now has a free rein to create. There are now only 2 menu choices – a 7 course tasting menu for £85 and a 10 course carte blanche menu for £125, both available with wine pairings. I don’t drink but I’ve been reliably informed by friends that the pairings are spot on. Based on food intolerances and preferences, chef Jonsson will customise a menu specifically for each table

Dining room

 

This review is from my latest visit, on their last service before their 2 week Christmas break. There was a festive atmosphere and it was nice to meet the maitre d’s mother, who was in for a celebratory meal

As usual, canapés arrived while we were perusing the menu. The first was the lightest zingy lemon crisp with rich foie gras parfait and shaved button mushroom. The second was a Nicoise mini cornet – the flavours of a Niçoise salad packed into a single-bite crispy cone. Yummy and some mojitos (virgin version for me) to start off the meal

 

Lemon crisp, foie gras parfait, shaved button mushroom

 

Nicoise cornet

 

Nicoise cornet

 

Virgin mojito

 

The meal proper kicked off with chef’s take on fish and chips. In this case, monkfish encased in the thinnest layer of crispy potato (how did he do that?) and served with the brightest, sweet pea purée. The meaty monkfish lent body to the dish and left me wondering if fish and chip shops should start offering this option on their menus. All of us on the table later confessed that the only thing stopping us licking out the pea purée bowl was decorum and being in a Michelin-starred establishment

Fish and chips

The next course was all about umami, the 5th flavour so beloved and revered in Asian cookery. Chef Jonsson names a Japanese restaurant as his favourite in the world and it’s no surprise to see some Japanese influence in his food. In this dish, the Parmesan base with chia seeds leaves a lingering depth of flavour, which brings the best explanation of what umami is that I’ve yet tasted

Umami

Then Hedone’s famous sourdough bread arrived. Amazing crust meant our table got a refill of bread when the first basket was wolfed down. The restaurant has started a bakery business on the back of this bread and they also supply other Michelin-starred restaurants. Sorry but I forgot to take a photo

Crab came next. Wow. I’ve only ever tasted this quality of crab very rarely. The white meat from the claws flaked beautifully and was complimented surprisingly well by the hazelnut mayonnaise and radish sauce

Crab & hazelnut mayonnaise

 

Next up was the sweetest tasting giant scallop from Scotland served in a dashi broth and topped with Amantillado sherry foam. I’m generally not a fan of foam as it has usually collapsed by the time it arrives at the table and doesn’t look very appetising. In this case though, the foam left the flavour lingering without making it seem that you had a mouthful of sherry, perfect for teetotal me. The dashi was clear, precise and a taste of the sea

Scallop in dashi sauce with Amantadillo sherry foam

 

The next dish was the genius dish of the menu. Simple but with nowhere to hide with its simplicity. Large onions cooked to lose its sharp onion quality but to bring out its sweet flavour (how did he do that) and paired with a smooth lemon sauce and shavings of pear

Onion with lemon sauce

 

The meat course was hare, roasted and served with a chestnut purée and chestnuts. The portion size was perfect for the strong, gamey meat and I did enjoy my first taste of hare

Hare with chestnut

 

The pre-dessert palate cleanser was a work of art. Thin layer of fresh mango encompassing cubes of fresh mango, yoghurt ice cream, white chocolate, passion fruit and meringue was palate-cleansing in the best sense

Mango palate cleanser

 

The dessert was a bar of chocolate praline  topped with rich, luxurious chocolate ganache. This was accompanied by the most vibrant raspberry sorbet. An indulgent end to the meal

Chocolate with raspberry

 

Although we didn’t order coffee, a tray of petit fours arrived. There was a chocolate shell with liquid apricot centre, a traditional French pastry called a canelab and a lemon and ginger marshmallow.

Petit fours

 

When you receive your bill, have a careful look inside the tin as there are home made toffees in there to sustain you for your trip home though mine has never made it out of the restaurant!

Whenever friends come to London and request a fine dining meal, I bring them to Hedone and they’ve never let me down over many visits. That makes Hedone my restaurant of 2015

Ratings

Food: ★★★★★ Service: ★★★★★ Ambiance: ★★★★★ VFM: ★★★★★ Overall: ★★★★★

Price: Fine dining prices make this a special occasion treat but well worth every penny

www.hedonerestaurant.com
301-303 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London W4 4HH

Square Meal Hedone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

3 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s