Saturday, 22 September 2012
I first visited Hedone shortly after it opened, just over a year ago. A couple of friends of the chef Mikael Jonsson were singing his praises. One even had the audacity to suggest that his food was worthy of three Michelin stars? I'll have one of what he is drinking please.
During the early months of opening it had very mixed reviews. On one particular food forum which I contributed too, some of the reviews were scathing, citing poor produce, amateurish presentation, and lack of cooking skill. My own opinion was that we enjoyed the food, but it did not have me hop, skipping and jumping down the road.
Much has been made about Jonsson's obsessional desire to find the very best ingredients available, going to extraordinary lengths to source the best. I have been following the progress at Hedone in recent times and noted that the reviews have become stronger, increasing my desire to give it another try.
I am a bit off tasting menus of late much preferring three honest fulfilling courses rather than tiny bits of one bite plates. Having this in mind the latest lunch offering at Hedone is a bargain, at two courses for £19 and three for £25 (plus 12.5% service)
Browsing the menu which has a choice of three, three, three, it looked very interesting indeed. Slip sole, Rock Oysters, Duck egg/ girolles. Tamworth pork, Wild duck, Fillet of Hare. It all looked yummy. There were a couple of specials for a supplement. Razor clams, (£5.5 supplement pp) or Breast and leg of Grouse (£10pp) So that was me sorted then.
From here on in I am going to be brief in my description of the food because I really can't be bothered other than to say it was an improvement over our first visit. Presentation was much improved making the dishes a lot more appealing visually. The grouse and hare were delicious. The oysters were yummy. The delicate slip sole was over powered by the overuse of acidic lime. The crab amuse was not at all special tasting, (so much for the sourcing) Just very average. Bread was enjoyable. Desserts were decent.
So there you have it. Good food, not everything to our taste however, but very mixed service. Our main young lady server was lovely, as was the guy with the bread basket. The sommelier was an ignorant individual who chose to ignore us throughout the meal. This cost his employers lost revenue. He attended the table to offer an aperitif at the beginning of the meal but never came back to the table thereafter to ask if we would like any other drink. I remember him from our last visit as he up sold everything on the list that we looked at, greatly inflating our bill. Not this time though, resulting in a loss of profit for the restaurant.
Amellie was just about ok. She did not seem very friendly and was a bit curt at times.
Jonsson, considering he was once a blogger, does not seem to like or tolerate bloggers at all, with one notable exception that is. I know of two bloggers that he was personally objectionable too. He also seems unable to accept any criticism whatsoever, constructive or otherwise.
As I re-entered the restaurant from the downstairs toilets I took a photo of the fully open kitchen just as he turned towards me. He went ballistic, demanding that I did not take any photos of him and the kitchen. He stated that he did not even like people photographing his food but tolerated it. His staff seemed godsmacked. He displayed a nasty streak that I found particularly offensive. I suspect that he speaks to his staff like this, but paying customers, who does he think he is?
Still we won't be returning. There are thousands of restaurants in London who would love to take our money off us. They will also do it with good grace and a smile at no further cost.
Hedone will never get another chance, and I suggest that you do the same.
Give this place a wide berth. I can think of many more places your hard earned cash will be much more appreciated. A good restaurant is a lot more than just the food. This place failed today big time on the service front , which is totally unacceptable. Three Michelin stars my . . . .