Hedone (named after the Greek name for “pleasure”) has just been named the 70th best restaurant in the world in the St Pellegrino World’s best restaurant awards. It also recently was awarded 1 Michelin star, and the Hardens guide ranked it as one of the best newcomers when it first opened 2 years ago. The story behind Hedone is quite fascinating, the main chef, Swedish Mikael Jonsson, first trained as a chef, then as a lawyer, then was a food blogger and then one day decided to open his own restaurant, Hedone. But what he is really good at is ingredient sourcing. He has advised many Michelin star restaurants in Europe on ingredient sourcing, and there are many anecdotes how he spends a long time trying to find the best ingredients for Hedone (European where he could not find good enough British suppliers) and only the best will do. His skill is sourcing good quality food not so much cooking it in some strange molecular way.
I had booked a table at Hedone (you need to give your credit card details when you book and they charge you if you don’t show up) for a Tuesday evening for 4 people, and my boyfriend and I were joined by Josh and Marieke. We had a table booked for 7.30 but due to work commitments Josh was a bit late, which gave me a bit of time to watch the chefs (and Josh also was super sweet and paid for our meal due to the wait, which means we owe Josh and Marieke a meal).
It is not easy getting to Hedone in Chiswick, if you don’t live around there, and it took me 40 minutes to get there from central London. The restaurant from the outside looks very smart and the sign Hedone outside the door is not very obvious and could be missed if you did not know the street number. The inside is very stylish with interesting art work, wooden tables and an open kitchen on one side of the room and our table was located right next to the open kitchen, so I could see Mikael Jonsson plating up all the plates (I was too scared to take a picture of him as he was so close, but that was before I knew he was a blogger, and as he probably has done things like this himself, I assume it is safe to take pictures of him, the chefs and the kitchen). When I first arrived and sat down the waitress gave me a small savoury cheese biscuit with a cherry top, and I thought the biscuit was nice but I was not a huge fan of mixing sweet and savoury together like this. As I had to wait and was hungry, I asked the waitress to bring me some bread, and it was dark bread with lovely butter, enjoyable.
When Josh arrived (Marieke was still running late due to work) we decided to have the tasting menu which I thought was very attractively priced at £65, considering it had 7 different dishes. As it was already quite late I tried to ask the waitress if we could have the tasting menu in less than 2 hours (time designed for it), and the waitress said she could not answer this question and called the manager, who I thought was quite rude and said it is the tasting menu and it takes 2 hours and did not try to help at all. Also I found it quite strange how there were so many waitresses but they could only bring the food to your table, and whenever you asked them any questions they said they could not answer and called over the rude manager.
Before the tasting menu we were given 3 snacks, including one more cherry and savoury cheese biscuit, fois gras in between 2 crunchy savoury biscuits and a small crème amuse bouche, all interesting. The first dish from our tasting menu was “poached Cornish rock oysters, granny smith, shallots”, which I personally did not have as I don’t eat oysters, but my boyfriend and Josh thought it was lovely, and they were so pretty when they arrived decorated with flowers. My friend Katrina went to Hedone a while ago and she still remembers this dish and says it was amazing. Instead of oysters the waitress brought me this creamy consistency that was topped with miso flavoured liquid, and it was lovely. The next thing we got was “Broken duck’s egg, green asparagus, green peas, fresh morrels, red bell peppers”, and the yolk of the duck egg was placed on one corner of the plate and all the other ingredients were separately scattered on the plate. It was a pleasant dish, the ingredients tasted amazing, it was not complicated but tasty. The next smaller course was “Scottish hand dived scallop, potato skin emulsions, beef juice”, and the scallop was placed on one side and all the other ingredients were made into this foam and placed on the other side of the plate. This was probably my least favourite dish of the meal, as I am not a huge fan of foam which restaurants like to create, but the scallop was nice.
By this time Marieke had arrived and was advised by the rude manager not to get the tasting menu, as she won’t be able to catch up, but eat a la carte. The a la carte works such a way that you have to have 3 courses (no less), a starter, main course and a desert and it costs £47. Marieke ordered the oyster dish my boyfriend and Josh had had as the first dish of the tasting menu, as her starter, and instead of 2 oysters which the boys got, she got 4. At the same time when Marieke’s oyster dish arrived our last smaller dish arrived which was “Liquid parmesan ravioli, Roscoff onion consomee, mild horseradish”, and this dish was just sensational. The ravioli were superbly delicious, and would be in the top 3 best pasta dishes I have had. The liquid parmesan was so lovely and warm and just exploded when you put the ravioli in your mouth, and I loved eating them with the onion consommé and wish they would have given me more ravioli, although I was not a huge fan of the horseradish foam, but as I was not eating that, it did not spoil the fact this was sensational.
Our main dish was “Roasted breast and leg of squab, beetroot five ways”, and if you did not know, a squab is a young domestic pigeon. This dish totally took me by surprise. I don’t really like pigeon and have never had a pigeon dish that I thought was amazing, but Hedone made me love pigeon. This is without any doubt, the best pigeon I have ever had in my life. It was very interesting in the way it was presented with a little leg of pigeon sticking out, and I would not usually put pigeon and beetroot together but it worked so well. Only afterwards when I started reading more about Hedone and how Mikael Jonsson is obsessed with great ingredients, I understood that the pigeon was probably so amazing because it was quite expensive and the best pigeon you could find, so I am now totally sold by great ingredients in food. Also I loved the many different coloured beetroots that were on the plate and different shapes of them. Marieke had chosen a chicken and asparagus dish for her main course which you can see in the picture.
I thought deserts at Hedone were equally incredible and definitely a strong point. Our first desert was “Fresh gariguette, mint and rhubarb sorbet”, and we got strawberries (or gariguette which are small, soft and aromatic strawberries, reminiscent of wild strawberries), sorbet and small meringue type of things. It sounds quite simple, but the taste was incredible. My boyfriend absolutely loved it and was going on how great this was. After this desert we got another desert, equally brilliant, “Warm chocolate, powdered raspberry, passion fruit jelly, Madagascar vanilla ice cream”, the chocolate was dark and bitter and extremely delicious, once again you could feel that it was expensive, and it was so good together with the powdered raspberry on top, and so pretty with the bright pink and dark brown colours, stunning desert both in taste and presentation. After our meal we also got 3 small petit fours and also some soft caramel type of candy with our bill which you can see in the pictures.
Hedone is extremely memorable, and the ravioli, the pigeon and the deserts are dishes I won’t forget for a long time. I also like the simplicity of Hedone, it does not over complicate things but with their ingredients and just by being simple and creative they create fascinating dishes that surprise you how amazing they taste, as I did not ever think simple things could taste so good
Price for 4 people with alcohol and service charge: I don’t know as super sweet Josh paid for us