Timeout London has this stamp sized rubrique that I love entitled “Lies to Tell Tourists“. This week it’s: “Hyde Park only has one corner, making it a mathematical phenomenon.” Submitted by@TomGoodliffe through Twitter. Even without Timeout, there are some pitfalls to navigate for tourists as many of them trying to get to ‘Liechester Square‘ (Leicester pronounced Lester) will know. Or take this restaurant in ChisWICK, pronounced Chisik. It’s called Hedone, from the Greek word meaning pleasure. I know how to pronounce Hedonistic but Hedone? Is the e silent or not?
My good friend Andrew of the blog LDNEATSNYC is always asking me why I go to Michelin restaurants? The answer is, because eating at a good one is a bit like getting a front row seat at a catwalk show. Sure, no one bar Lady Gaga wears that stuff but it’s the pinnacle of food fashion.I enjoy eating in them on occasion. The good ones, like Aqua last weekend, in particular. However the food venue (I don’t want to say restaurant because that format doesn’t appeal to me) that I have been building up in my imagination over the years is the polar opposite of a 3 starred Michelin place. In fact, it’s a lot more like Hedone.
It relies on exemplary produce and traditional preparation and cooking techniques. An idea and ideal that Mikael Jonsson explains very well on his Gastroville webpage.
I was astounded by our first starter; a small fillet of mackerel and 3 raw cauliflower florets, blindingly white, dressed in a little lemon and olive oil. Daring. Ha! I had seen nothing yet. Next starter, a quarter of an onion that has A.O.P denomination from Cévennes in France (from which it takes its name), one paper-thin slice of pear-collapsed over itself and a puddle of dressing. A quarter of an onion? In a menu of 4 courses for £50. What a statement. It would have been awkward if that onion couldn’t stand up to the hype, if it wilted in the spotlight. But it didn’t, it shined and was all the more incredible imbued with the confidence of a chef who saw its star potential.
My dessert was a joy, a flower with plums for petals. Nestled in each depression, mimicking the absent stone, a thumbnail sized macaroon and in the centre, a scoop of plum stone ice cream. It hit just the right note of ending with something sweet but not sickly, some fruit for freshness and a soft crunch with those macaroons.
My friend and I were the next to last customers in there. Jonsson went over to the adjacent table and asked them what they thought. I heard snippets of conversation. ‘The scallops were too rare for Chiswick.” From where I was sitting, it seemed that Jonsson was taking the criticism to heart. I wanted to interrupt and tell him not to take every Tom, Dick and Harry’s opinion too seriously. To stick to his visions and keep doing what he’s doing. People who ‘get it’ will come.
301-303 Chiswick High Road
London W4 4HH
020 8747 0377