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Aug 18, 2013 07:47 PM

Ledbury or Hedone???? [London]

I am a longtime Chowhound user but first time poster. Chowhound has helped provide me with many memorable dinners. I have not been steered wrong. Need some help. We have two nights for dinner. One night we have reserved Dinner. The other, I am struggling with Ledbury or Hedone. Any clear winner? Also, I need a place for a solo dinner as my husband will be at a business meeting. We are staying at the Grand Hyatt Churchill. Walking distance is a plus but not essential. Many thanks. A greatful California girl.

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  1. How about sitting at the bar at Donostia for your solo meal? Just round the corner and great food.

    Not to put a spanner in the works but I'd say do Hedone AND the Ledbury and get rid of Dinner but if choosing between the two I can safely say you'll have a stunning meal at both.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ManInTransit

      Checked out Donostia, looks amazing but we will just be returning from a week in Barcelona and Costa Brava and may be Tapa-sed out. Any other recos in that area. Why are you down on Dinner?

      1. re: Tonic Girl

        I'm not down on Dinner - more the opposite that the other two are among the best restaurants in the country.

        Definitely don't go to Donostia given your travel plans! Vinoteca and 28:50 are both close by if you like wine and food in a nice setting and both casual enough that you could eat by yourself.

        1. re: ManInTransit

          Both Vineoteca and 28:50 look lovely. Thank you so much.

    2. I've only eaten at the Ledbury so can't make a comparision.

      What I can tell you is that the meal was faultless.

      You are looking at different approaches between the two restaurants. Ledbury is very much "Modern European" - and very worthy of its two Michelin stars. Hedone's cooking is, I believe, very much ingredient led

      If it was me, I would probably cancel Dinner, so I could do both Ledbury & Hedone. But then Dinner doesnt really interest me - I've done HB's "clever" food at the Fat Duck (yes, I know it's a different thing)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        Thank you Harters. Just checked on Ledbury and they are fully booked until October. So, that settles that. Would you still steer away from Dinner? Would it be good to try Ledbury for lunch or is it too heavy?

        1. re: Tonic Girl

          First things first. Get your reservation in at Hedone. Now! I'm somewhat envious as it's probably going to be well into next year before I'm down south and can try it.

          As for Dinner, I think that as you'd marked it out right at the beginning, perhaps now stick with it. It's certainly going to be a one-off experience. And, yes, I'd pass on Ledbury for lunch - it's going to be too much before those two dinners. As for what you might do for lunch, it's is going to depend on what plans you have for the day and where they are going to take you. Maybe look for a cuisine that doesnt figure too strongly at home for you but we do well here (whatever that might be)

          1. re: Harters

            Good advice. I have booked Hedone and Dinner so that's done. Thank you again.

      2. I have been to both Hedone and The Ledbury, but not Dinner - the so-so reports put me off a little. That said I would go if I had more time in a london.

        Harter's is right they different. I would say the Ledbury is slightly more classic with multiple complex elements on the plate, whilst Hedone is simpler more purist with far fewer elements, and each element seems simpler - but a sort of perfection in its simplicity.

        I liked my Ledbury dinner but have eaten similar food in numerous places. Hedone, to me, is in a different, almost unique league with some really interesting food. And it's getting better as its success is allowing Michael to hire more talent into the kitchen which (reportedly) has lifted the execution from since its early days.

        7 Replies
        1. re: PhilD

          Simple, pure and perfect is right up my alley so I am glad I was able to secure a reservation at Hedone. I really enjoy when a chef is able to bring out the best of exceptional ingredients without overpowering them. It seems my palate is getting less comfortable with very rich foods. Thank you for your input.

          1. re: Tonic Girl

            For what it's worth now that you've got your reservatioins, I've eaten in all 3 over the last 3 months and in order of preference I'd go Hedone, Ledbury and then Dinner.

            Dinner gets dislike because it can come across as contrived and formulaic. That may sound odd in a restaurant that is Heston and a bit out there but essentially the concept of Dinner is to package it up and put it in many places over the world so they need things that can be replicated. The food is certainly different but it lacks some soul to me as a restaurant and feels like you're someone on a conveyor belt to feed the money into the corporation.

            I've been to the Ledbury several times now and maybe my height of expectation was too great. I also know that Brett was out of the kitchen when I was there which may have meant that dishes were kept to the standard and as I say, having been there previously it lacked that step forward to me. The food is executed fantastically well although as Phil says, what was new at the Ledbury a couple of years ago, is now being replicated in other restaurants.

            Hedone blew my mind with the quality, complexity and simplicity of what they served. Although it seems to be an oxymoron to use those to adjectives after each other, the simplicity is in the lack of fussiness but the complexity comes in the process that have been used to maximize the key ingredient on the plate.

            1. re: AWaiting

              I've loved reading about Hedone recently - we went ages ago and liked but didn't love it. I've just booked us in for a few months time.

              1. re: abby d

                Abby - it will be interesting to hear if it has changed since your first visit. I nearly didn't go as I had read some early "emperors new clothes" type reviews but since their Michelin star I had started to hear the kitchen had kicked up a gear. I am glad I did.

              2. re: AWaiting

                Thank you AWaiting. I now have very high expectations for Hedone. I'm sure Dinner will be good as well. Excited!!!

            2. re: PhilD

              This is sooooooooo true Phil. Was totally underwhelmed by Hedone not long after it first opened, the execution was undoubtedly questionable. I've got to take it all back; I returned for the first time last month and it blew my mind. Was it on this board someone reported there's isn't a chef in the kitchen from anything less than a 2 star now? Either way, it's brilliant. Am still dreaming about the whole king scallop (the biggest I've ever seen) with the orach spinach.

              It's also developed a really relaxed neighbourhood feel befitting it's Chiswick location. I hope it stays that way when the inevitable bubble bursts and demand far out strips supply.

              1. re: marcusj

                You are all making me feel so fortunate that I was able to snag a reservation at Hedone. I can't wait to try it out.

            3. For your solo dinner within walking distance:
              - Original Tagines for their bistilla, tagines and cous cous
              - Lobster noodles at Royal China
              - Haven't been, but since you mention loving simple pure and perfect, there's great raves for the Syrian grilled chicken at Abu Zaad on Edgware Road:

              And make that one more lukewarm opinion re: Dinner -- there was an extraordinary pork chop when we ate there a while ago, but everything else seemed good not great. And priced higher than other places of comparable quality.

              4 Replies
              1. re: limster

                Yeah, that's pretty much my take. If you order well (my wife had the meat fruit) it can be borderline great, but it didn't manage spectacular, for me, and it charged as if it did.

                I would put it on a long list of recommendations if friends were visiting London and wanted something with a hint of celebrity about it, and money was almost no object, but I wouldn't go back.

                1. re: lacemaker

                  I have been reading alot of the meat fruit. Sounds like a must. Also the pork chop get rave reviews.

                  1. re: Tonic Girl

                    I think it's probably a must-try if you're there and not completely averse to pate. It's very good, but also sort of iconic.


              2. If you want a taste of Euro/Noma-esque avant garde just pop across the road to Texture.

                Otherwise Donostia also a good bet, as mentioned.

                Daisy Green round the corner is good for morning coffee (or try Workshop a little further along Wigmore St).


                1 Reply
                1. re: Jon Tseng

                  I spent some time in Copehagen, before the NOMA craze. Texture's menu looks great. Now that I have so many options I can see what I'm in the mood for at the time.
                  London Chowhounds you rock. Thanks for all your help.