I came to Hedone in November of 2018, a restaurant that “had” been operating since July of 2011 and sadly trotted-on in 2019 – their last service was June the 1st of that year. It could be argued that reviewing a restaurant where they’ve called it the day already might be a hollow task, however, the memory of eating here is still lingering on, so I want to share it with you. The man who was behind it, Mikael Jonsson, ironically was a food blogger who chose to be a lawyer then chose to be a chef. Shortly after opening the restaurant, he received global acclaim for his passionately dogged approach for sourcing the best ingredients our world has to offer – they got a Michelin Star the following year and gilded recognition in Restaurant Magazine’s top 100 UK places to dine in as well as The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. That was a lot of action to be had in a former Labanese night club in Chiswick! Mikael’s original aim was to run the restaurant for 3 years and use his knowledge gained from consulting restaurants in the past on where to get these said ingredients and his dining out reviews recorded on Gastroville – his site which I believe has tottered on too. Mikael is runs Hedone Bakery which makes some of the very best bread and baked goods that I’ve blessed my mouth with.
There wasn’t an a la carte option, but a deep dive 7 course tasting menu that we had at the chef’s counter with champion views of the action.
If you have truffles with a pong as sweet as these, then why wouldn’t you want to bring them out and tantalise your customers? I’m pretty certain the diners in the main dining area a few yards away got a good nose full too, they were that pungent. We didn’t order them in the end, otherwise I would have drowned when the bill arrived.
First came the striking and unique foie gras parfait canapé; a vivid red pepper casing dotted with fino sherry purée piped with fluffiest foie. It was an amuse bouche worth revelling about according to my dribbling tongue.
Then we were introduced to the langoustine lollipop, I suspect it was languidly cooked with the utmost timing and precision to get this prime specimen tasting so sweet. They thought that all it needed was a viscous emulsion of wasabi on the side for dipping, if you wanted, I couldn’t agree more. The convincing clout of seafood sweetness was like no other I’ve tasted.
This is the Hedone bread which I first encountered at Frenchie, it’s that good that other restaurants want to serve it.
And if you’re a delicate soul, gluten free is available too.
Impeccable fronds of delicately assembled autumn leaves came next with sweet pumpkin purée and the balanced citric hit of beurre blanc.
A slither of seabass was the fish course, probably sectioned from the most tender part of the fish as only the best will do. The skin was crisp and the buttery white flesh flaked apart from my heavy perverse breath. A pan roasted baby artichoke as did an emulsion made with green olives from Sicily came to the party in my mouth too.
Dry white wine doesn’t get better than this Gl Bandol £16.50.
Here a golden nugget of veal sweetbread was served with peppery watercress purée, the finest chanterelles and butter infused with pan drippings. It was another fiendishly striking moment of the meal and a really good idea to put all of these ingredients together.
Lamb is from Agneau du Bourbonnais in Central France, where lambs are pampered and reared for their sumptuous flesh famed for their firmness and white veins of perfect marbling. It was cooked in a salamander right in front of us. Then rested well, served with pickled onions, confectionary sweet carrot sauce, a glaze made from dehydrated carrots, Jerusalem artichokes and wilted spinach.
First from the deserts was the apple sorbet, a homage dish to Chef Michel Trama who was famed in the 80’s for making a version with green apple. They use crystalline apple slices that delicately dissolve from the heat of you tongue is a true marvel, as are the intense apple flavours you get from the sorbet.
This was the white chocolate and mascarpone ice cream on lime permeated, deftly chopped cubes of mango and papaya.
My breathlessness got more acute when the lemon tart arrived with torched meringue. It was a tart with pastry so short that it just crumbled from my heavy breathing and the filling tasted incessantly of lemon.
We skipped post dinner drinks.
The petit four were worth pining for too, first came the cube of dark chocolate with a crumbly toffee centre. It gives “Hedone Chocolatiers” a compelling reason to exist.
What is key with the canelés is that they have nailed the virtuous combination of sweetness, chewiness, crispness and caramelised custard flavour.
When did I go? September 2017
The damage: £150ish per head with wine
The good: It’s rare that you have a meal with striking moments in every course, Hedone does just that with ballasts of flavour, obsessive consummate flair and precision. You can’t help but to give Chef Mikael kudos for giving 8 years of his life to the industry and giving us captivating food. We did see him pop his head out from the back from time to time.
The bad: It’s extinct.
Would I go again? I wish I could!
Address: 03, 301-303 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 4HH