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Hedone [London]

Reports, please?

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  1. Are we saying that no one's been?

    10 Replies
    1. re: mangeur

      I am not certain anyone on the board knows where Chiswick is. With its opening would W4 make it to "must live suburb" for a food fan?

      It is definitely one of the openings on 2011 - if I was in London I would be there in a flash. Already planning to have it on the itinerary for my next visit.

      Andy Hayler has a blistering review of it: http://www.andyhayler.com/show_restau...

      1. re: PhilD

        If only I had a next visit planned.... I had not actually planned to revisit Britain, although Seasalter is awfully tempting. But now...

        1. re: PhilD

          I could make it to Chiswick for this place. :-) It sounds fantastic. Interesting about the English language... I think to an American (at least this one), 'blistering,' may not connote terrific but just the opposite. I'll leave it to the young'uns here to tell me if I'm perhaps wrong about that and way out of touch.

          1. re: zuriga1

            Have got a reservation but not till mid-September what with holidays and all...but promise I will report back! In the meantime, there's a thread with pics and glowing praise on egullet if you haven't seen it already:


            What with this and Roganic also garnering superb reviews and the Sportsman just being, oh, My Favourite Place on Earth...I think you've got plenty of reasons to give into temptation!

            1. re: helen b

              We'll definitely be back to the Sportsman one of these weekends or in the autumn. I think it's one of my favorite places, too. We were tempted by Pollon Street and I booked there for DH's birthday in September. So I do give in to temptation. :-)

              1. re: zuriga1

                It's had mixed reviews but I liked it. A signed menu from Mr Atherton with 'I love you so much it hurts' is currently taking pride of place in our downstairs loo :)

                1. re: helen b

                  From what I could tell the negative reviews of Pollen Street stemmed either from critics pompously refusing to understand how the menu worked or from early-doors imperfections or from the set lunch menu not being great.
                  I thought it was excellent at dinner.

                  1. re: ManInTransit

                    I'm a fan of Atherton's, and I'm lookinjg forward to seeing what he's doing post Maze. I'll let you know what I think after I've been. I'm sure a lot of people wait with bated breath for my reports. :-)

          2. re: PhilD

            Sir, sir, please sir.....I know where Chiswick is.

            My trips to the capital are usually to visit the National Archives and I stay just down the road in cheapo Brentford. I like a nice, if solitary, dinner after spending the day ploughing through the dusty files of 100 year old documents. On me list!

            1. re: Harters

              I'm going for lunch at Hedone next week (after breakfast at St John Hotel). I will then slowly make my way back to Brum afterwards..

              (FWIW, I've had a great time at Pollen Street Social both times I've been)

        2. This looks amazing. Apparently Time Out are preparing a five star review so this might be the time to go before you start having to book way in advance.

          1. big fan of this place

            1. I went to Hedone for lunch on Saturday and I'm still trying to process just how incredible this meal was. Will write properly about it soon - Once I've found the words to do it justice!

              6 Replies
                1. re: YSL

                  OK, I have written a longer version in my blog, but will try to keep it short for here:

                  My lunch at Hedone was easily the best meal I've had this year, possibly ever. I knew of Mikael's obsession with finding the best ingredients but I never thought that I would be so affected by it. It's no exaggeration to say that the dish of mackerel, caught that morning from the Cornish coast flame grilled with "Japanese flavours" was extraordinary - from the fish itself being so fresh and barely cooked that the meat was creamy in consistency, yet you could taste every single ingredient without them overpowering or conflicting with each other. So in this case, you got the creamy texture of the fish, then the flavours of mirin, soy, sesame oil and it's rounded off by the oily taste of the fish. I actually employed delaying tactics because I knew that once I had finished the dish, I would be sad that there was no more..

                  I've never eaten a meal where I was able to clearly recollect not only each dish, but the taste of all the individual ingredients before until I ate at Hedone. Too often, chefs who talk about "letting the ingredients do the talking" still muck about with them and you get your sauce reductions, foams etc. But here, not only do the ingredients have to meet Mikael's very high standards, but he truly treats them simply so that their natural flavours shine through. I know that I may not know exactly what I'll eat there next time I go, but I am very assured in the knowledge that the ingredients will have to meet Mikael's high standards and will be truly cooked simply and in a way so the ingredients natural flavours are highlighted. For me, not only is that incredibly exciting, but it's as close to perfection as you can get.

                  1. re: YSL

                    This was my experience as well. I don't imagine that I will ever eat a more perfect specimen of squab.

                    1. re: YSL

                      Amazing! Am going for dinner in a couple of weeks, can't wait.

                      1. re: YSL

                        Your experience with the mackerel is very appropos. Last night, Rick Stein's visit to study Japanese food and techniques was shown again on TV. My husband who lived there many years recognized a few restaurants and most certainly, all of the foods. Their approach to cooking is amazing. It's wonderful to know you found this right here!

                        1. re: zuriga1

                          The mackerel at Roganic is also excellent. We had several mackerel preparations during our 2-1/2 week holiday, and Roganic's was indeed my favorite (although I also love The Ledbury's version as well).

                          127 Ledbury Rd, Kensington, England W2 5, GB

                    2. Dinner last night was fabulous. As everyone else has said, simple preparations letting the flavours show through. The only bum note was the grouse - even though I knew from reviews how it would be served, the claw was rather off-putting! The wines the sommelier recommended were wonderful and perfectly matched. A great night :)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: gembellina

                        Going tomorrow which I'm excited about.

                        I've generally avoided reviews but Gembelina this claw sounds like something we should know about! Do tell?

                        1. re: ManInTransit

                          The grouse came as breast and a leg, and the leg still had the foot attached: claws, feathery ankle and all! Fingerbowl strongly suggested that one was meant to pick up the leg and nibble. The review I read mentioned pigeon that came like this so I guess they treat all their game birdies this way. The table of older ladies next to us looked absolutely shell-shocked when their plates arrived. As did my dining companion... Tasted good though!

                      2. i went last week and it was hit and miss which saddened me as it's the kind of place you really want to succeed given how lovely everyone was and the appealing philosophy of the chef. we had the 5 course menu for £50.

                        my favourite dish was the amuse - fresh figs, raw thinly sliced ceps and shavings of a hard cheese (could have been parmesan) plus a drizzle of dressing. absolutely incredible flavours, which varied with each mouthful, and a dish that i ate slowly so it wouldn't end.

                        mackerel to start, with shavings of beetroot. absolutely beautiful. impeccably fresh fish with a lovely delicate flavour.

                        slow-cooked hen egg with grolles and apricots - this dish did nothing for me. the egg was served on a sauce which was flavoured with apricot, there was smear of apricot puree and a rocket leaf. i've seen rave reviews of various versions of this (he's done it with fresh peach too) and have no idea why.

                        plaice carpaccio with squid ink, chives and lemon zest - okay but nothing more.

                        45 day aged beef with endive and horseradish was my main - a few mouthfuls of the beef were melting and delicious but the rest was very chewy, sadly. my partner had the john dory with fennel and olive emulsion which was lovely (i didn't get much to try thogh!)

                        pudding for me was the chocolate bar which was nice but again, no more. however, the poached raspberries with lemon & faiselle (a type of curd/yoghurt) ice cream was absolutely amazing though. lemon madeleines with coffee were a bit dry.

                        good value wine list with some interesting things.

                        1. Firstly - Chiswick W4 is in West London...District Line

                          We went to Hedone a few weeks ago and can honestly say that our meal was completely fabulous. The service was wonderful - professional but friendly and unpretentious. Atmosphere just right. The food was excellent. I tend to be a bit conservative, and as usual was a bit ambivalent about a fixed menu, but was totally impressed. My co-diners went for the lot. None of us was disappointed. It's great to watch the kitchen at play as well.
                          My only grumble (very slight) was that the wine list although an excellent selection, was overpriced.
                          Co-Snuff can be very picky but was totally impressed, both with menu, provenance of ingredients, as well as the food itself.
                          Cannot speak highly enough of Hedone. Go wild and come to Chiswick! (Nearest tube station Chiswick Park.) Incidentally Chiswick is a bit of foodie heaven with excellent deli, greengrocers, fishmongers, butchers and a host of other very good gastropubs and restuarants.

                          1. Visited about a month ago. In short, had a fantastic meal - one of the most enjoyable I've had in recent years.

                            The incredibly mixed reports meant I was more curious than anything before visiting and approached the visit with an open mind. I was sat at the bar overlooking the open kitchen which I would strongly recommend if you are interested at all in the provenance of the ingredients. We were given a lot of attention from Mikael which undoubtedly added hugely to my experience - no matter what people think about his cooking skills there is no doubting his passion and love for the food. For me this definitely added a lot - whilst one can say this is a case of the Emperor's New Clothes, the simple fact for me is that I love to hear someone talk about something they are passionate about and who wants you to enjoy it as they do.

                            Highlights were:
                            - the much-heralded Umami Flan which succeeded in its simple aim of delivering a moreish savoury bomb;
                            - raw scallops - still moving on the cutting board. served with radish and squid ink, beautiful sweet subtle flavour rivalling those i've had in japan
                            - the turbot cooked to a pearly shine with cockles - subtle tastes but incredible texture
                            - the (hand-strangled!) pigeon - the finest tasting pigeon I have had. Incredibly rich and soft with a deep savoury sauce made from the birds offal. Not overpoweringly gamey. Subtley smoked potato alongside.
                            - Beautiful canele - perfectly crunchy on the outside and custardy within. Chatting with Mikael, these seem to be a labour of love for him and something he has made a lot of to perfect.

                            No real let downs through the meal. If being harsh I'd say the truffle served with the cevennes onion lacked punch but not the best season for them. The deserts were good but not something I could get overly excited about though I think this owes more to my taste than the dishes themselves.

                            Front of house (Auriele) was fantastic. End bill was c.£100 a head for the tasting menu, shared cheese board (good but hope one day he gets Bernard Antony on board!) and a couple glasses of wine towards the cheaper end of the scale. Not a cheap meal all in all but most definitely worth it and somewhere I am looking forward to revisiting - especially with the Spring/Summer vegetables to come

                            1. Initially (after opening) there were hit and miss dishes and execution was flawed. Ingredient quality was the best in London though. Now execution is excellent and ingredient quality is still best in London. One of the very best the city has to offer, no question.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Asomaniac

                                I went earlier this week and I agree with Asomaniac, this is definitely is up there with the best in town. I also thought that the quality of dishes had progressed since the last time I was there. However, if I was to be slightly critical I would say that the most complicated plates tended to be the more average ones. The carte blanche is excellent but is a lot of food- 11 or 12 dishes plus extras.

                                1. re: Asomaniac

                                  Nearly 3 years after my first visit, Hedone is the only place in London that I not only go back to on a semi-regular basis, but still very much look forward to every time. My most recent visit in January this year showed a step up in terms of execution which Mikael wanted, but was also interesting to see the evolution of some dishes - The new incarnation of the umami flan for example.

                                  And well, the carte blanche is just great for greedy indecisive people (such as myself)

                                2. I went before Christmas and had a desperately disappointing meal. The liquid parmsean ravioil is a stunning dish, worthy of any restaurant and the cod was the best I've eaten, but otherwise there were flaws in conception and execution and a real stiffness to the service.

                                  Does anyone know if Michael cooks at all anymore? I've heard a few reports of him acting as sommelier now. On our visit he wasn't even glancing at dishes that went out from the pass.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: ManInTransit

                                    Don't tell me this! I just book a table for my birthday dinner next month. It will surpass anything available in my neighborhood, so I'll be happy to give it a try. :-)

                                    1. re: zuriga1

                                      I'm sure you will have a great time June - there are undoubtedly some stellar ingredients, and there is fine cooking on display as well and the menu changes so regularly that I'm quite prepared to believe that had I gone a day later or earlier my whole experience would have been different. Let us know how you get on.

                                      1. re: ManInTransit

                                        Thanks, Mr. Transit. I'm sure we'll enjoy the meal. Our only decision is how to get to Hedone.. car or Tube.

                                    2. re: ManInTransit

                                      Well that is disappointing (and another restaurant we seen to have had opposite experiences at) and hopefully not a trend.

                                      During my visit Michael didn't really cook but was checking at the pass, and the sommelier was a women. He did spend a lot of time with a couple of bloggers and they spent a long time debating the wine choices (in between not talking and typing into their phones). I had understood he had recruited experienced chefs to do the cooking as he was more focused on sourcing.

                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        Well the liquid parmesan ravioli was worth the trip alone! I certainly think that I could easily have gone another day and had a wholly different experience so I'm careful to caveat that it was my one-off last year.

                                        The sommellier thing is quite strange, many top chefs might not actively cook many ingredients but they are glued to the pass - as with you Michael spent huge amounts of time talking to bloggers about wine choices while sub-standard dishes were coming out of the kitchen but in our case he didn't glance at them. Our wine service was perfunctory after ordering a cheap white - then after ordering an expensive red it was effusive. I know that's standard but it still jars when it's really blatant.

                                        They also line the tables so having the carte blanche menu we were eating 5 minutes behind the tables either side. No problem there although it meant nothing was a surprise but we were obviously at the end of the chain as they ran out of scallops - so we got exactly the same dish with cod.
                                        Then they ran out of suckling pig - so we just didn't get that course. Then we went straight to the main dessert missing out on the pre dessert. So £95 for 7 courses feels quite different to £95 for 9.

                                        1. re: ManInTransit

                                          Interesting and I am appalled that they did that to your tasting menu. I would expect that if they had stuffed up you would get extras rather than miss out on courses.

                                          My wine service was somewhat similar to yours. I was alone for a lunch and ordered modestly by the glass. The female sommelier was very good and suggested wine pairings from the menu but Michael ignored me, yet fawned over the diners either side of me, offering them interesting wines by the glass that were not on the menu....it took out some of the enjoyment.

                                          My food was great but there were only about 8 in for lunch that Friday so it should have been. That said I am very keen to return with my wife next time we are in London.

                                          1. re: ManInTransit

                                            Similar experience whereby we paid for the carte blanche. We were a couple courses behind our neighbour at the bar so could, like you, see what was coming. And like you, we seemed to be dealt duff hands whenever they were low on ingredients so our duck was replaced with sweetbreads and our scallops with something inferior which I cant quite recall.

                                            Together with quite snooty service, poor service from the sommelier and being ignored by Mikael we were let down badly. This was in contrast to my first meal there which i absolutely loved and was all the more disappointing for it..

                                            1. re: mjgauer

                                              Now I'm considering cancelling my reservation under my name and re-booking us as the unlikely couple of "Frank Bruni and Ruth Reichl".

                                              And hoping they recognize the names but not the faces so we'll get Andy Hayler quality service :)

                                              1. re: willyum

                                                You can't do that because I used the same names when I booked for April.. Choose again. :-)

                                                1. re: willyum

                                                  Oddly enough, Andy Hayler was also dining there with some chefs on my last visit and whilst Mikael chatted to them, he was actually *more* chatty with another table of regulars (who spend much more and constantly come back).

                                                  I can't fault the service I've ever received there and I usually go for carte blanche so whilst the dishes I receive will be mostly the same as everyone else's, I would expect some variations.