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Hedone Review

Hedone is, according to the website of the Hedone exotic massage club in Tallin, Estonia, Greek for ‘pleasure’

Written by . Published on September 14th 2011.


Hedone Review

GORDO likes the sound of this, but should have been reading through the info on Hedone, the restaurant recently opened on Chiswick High Road in London, somewhere the fat feller can assure his readers is an awful long way from Knightsbridge. It’s getting an awful lot of column inches as the chef is Swedish and currently, because of Noma, the Danish restaurant rated number one worldwide along with a dead author, all things Scandinavian are sexy.

But, they have to be grey and miserable. Is Hedone?

It was a Marilyn Monroe of a mackerel fillet, dressed in a sauce of fluffy butteryness with a little acidic Japanese specialness blowing up its skirt.

Gordo, (aka SATAN according many of the food bloggers and failed freelance writers) is definitely a lazy, fat bastard. One of his bad habits is waiting for the mainstream food writers to discover somewhere, and then he gets off his arse and goes himself. This works well for the lazier writers as they can take quick notes but beef ‘em up using Fay Maschler and others as researchers when, several days later along with sixteen bollockings off the Editor, a fairly in-depth review has to be written.

So, today, Gordo can reveal that at Hedone, the pre-starter cheesy biccies actually were ‘buttery cheese sablés sprinkled with desiccated blackcurrant and juniper. The blackcurrant fizzes on the tongue…’

Thank you to Tony Turnbull for this help, writing in place of the bearded midget in today’s Times Magazine. And very well Gordo can tell you. The boy may not be able to grow hair, but he can’t half write.

Tony was correct about the biscuits as far as Gordo was concerned, but the strange Ruth Allen, Gordo’s companion for the night and sporting a black eye at the time, thought it was ‘a nice cheese twist with funny stuff on it’. And before the London Bloggerati start, no it wasn’t me, it was a bike wot did for Ms. Allen.

Gordo had commissioned a T-shirt for the occasion, with ‘It Wasn’t Me’ emblazoned across the chest, but it didn’t arrive in time. What did arrive in time was the starter proper, a mackerel fillet. But readers, it wasn’t a mackerel fillet as we all know them, that bit of oily repeating stuff with slimy skin and the very wrong dressing served in every restaurant across North Wales. It was a mackerel fillet that had committed suicide only several hours earlier, as is their habit when Gordo is out there fishing. It was a Marilyn Monroe of a mackerel fillet, dressed in a sauce of fluffy butteryness with a little acidic Japanese specialness blowing up its skirt.

It was handled in a masterful way, by a Joe DiMaggio of a chef called Mikael Jonsson. Mind you, Joe was a miserable, tight, jealous bastard according to Marilyn. Would Mikael turn out to be the same? As well as miserable?

The menu is not à la carte; you choose from £50 a head up to £70. Gordo chose the more expensive one, even allowing Ms Allen to do the same; it seemed a bit mean to make her stick with the cheaper option, black eye an’ all. The wine list is good and if Mikael is the architect here, he knows his way around France. In particular Burgundy.

“I’ll take a bottle of the domain Dujac burgundy,” says Gordo, smugly demonstrating his superior knowledge of wines to the couples right and left of him on the crowded, but comfortable banquette.

“Which Dujac would that be sir?” replies the very French wine waiter, two notches up on the smugness scale, “We do have two, sir.”

“Twat,” thought Gordo.

Good stuff this, and not just because Gordo is having his balloon-sized ego pricked, but because any list that recognises the Dujac family, arguably the best wine growers in the area, is going to be good.

Of course the great pity is great wine is mainly wasted on these ‘tasting’ menus; they need to be carefully matched and to seven course menus, it's difficult.

Chefs are trying to be artists, but there are very few Matisse’s. So you usually get a few misses. Even the sorcerer’ apprentice, Heston, misfires with his silly fish course.

And therefore, Gordo tries to choose a light burgundy of no great value, white or red, or both, normally. On this occasion though, he decided that Dujac was worth a go, simply because he so rarely sees it. It was lovely.

The next course was two little chunks of (very good) smoked salmon, with beetroot cream. Hmm. Beetroot. Do all chefs have their first born held in the cellars of the Beetroot Fanciers Association at the moment, by the way? There’s a lot of it about. Two simple, but extremely well executed dishes here, boys and girls. Actually, the second a step down from the first to be honest.

But this, according to Fay Maschler, is Mikael’s raison d’être. Supremely well chosen raw ingredients. Chef believes that less is more and stand out flavours are the most important. In the case of these two fellers he had succeeded.

LobsterDorset Lobster

The next was a cépe tarte fine with coffee thyme. The tarte was as close to perfection for a tight set crispy pastry base as you can get, the mushrooms sliced into silver dollar pieces and simple roasted in the oven with a waft of thyme, but no oil as far as Gordo could tell. At the same thyme (geddit?), bugger all salt ‘n’ pepper. Across that lay a little jelly blanket, which was infused with mushrooms. This lot needed a cream of some sort, it comes across as being a bit dry. The blanket is not enough.

Scallops again were totally about the raw material. But, the little darlings should be colder if served as sashimi. Room temperature is never good in Gordo’s not-so-humble opinion. They spoil in minutes.

The Dorset Lobster was a triumph with great use of greens, in this instance a chewy cavolo nero, the whole napped with an excellent coral sauce.

John DoryJohn Dory

A superb couple of john dory cutlets were simply steamed. Presented lying on their side like a pale, beautiful Nordic actress on a deck chair cruising to New York. Who then, later at lunch, bores the arse off you. Because this is possibly the blandest dish ever laid on a plate. Mikael is starting to show cowardice with seasoning and an over-reliance on superb ingredients.

Even Kirsten Dunst needs make-up and a good wardrobe.

And the final proof of this is the Grouse.

There. Is. Only. One. Way. To. Eat. Grouse. And it isn’t the way that Mikael serves it.

GrouseGrouse

This one came with a correctly undercooked breast, but apparently roasted in a wet oven. Gordo is unsure what a wet oven is, or if it exists even, but it simply heats up the meat, without flavouring it in any way. The leg was cooked until the skin was dry but in no way coloured. And this is a travesty. As grouse can only be roasted, served on croutons with a gamey pâté of its own liver, along with  muscular but clear-ish gravy, redcurrant jelly and bread sauce. Oh, and fabulously thin and crispy game chips. Grouse is no good any other way.

Cheese, at a supplement of a fiver, was great; there was a stand-out Stichelton, one that Gordo hasn’t had before.

CheeseCheese

Puddings were a chocolate bar of great finesse; Mikael suddenly remembers the need for texture as we are taught from the Chinese; there was a lovely base to this feller which crunchily helps off-set the very smoothness of the piece. Gordo’s rum baba was the dogs. And faithful to the original recipes; a cracker.

So what about the Swedish Chef?

Fatty had asked for a picture with the leader of the Norse Gods.

“Ooh,” says the delightful (and fit as a butcher’s dog) French waitress, “’e doesn’t like having his picture taken…”

Gordo finally gets Mr Personality at his table.

“No, I am a bit too tired to have my picture taken I am afraid. I don’t like the press; I have had a terrible experience ever since Fay Maschler and Lander wrote about us.”

“I read those,” says the balding fat one, “they were terrific and Lander in particular is a really good judge in my opinion.”

“Well, there is the problem,” replies Odin, “the phone never stopped ringing and we are now booked up weeks ahead and its terribly busy and I have no time to myself, it’s just all so depressing.”

I Wanna Be Alone...I Wanna Be Alone...

His shoulders slumped across the table like a Gerald Scarfe cartoon.

Gordo knows what most chefs will be thinking. Go and get a life you silly bugger. This man lives up to his Scandinavian roots.

Hedone
301-303 Chiswick High Road
London, W4 4HH


Rating        15.5/20

Breakdown   7.5/10 food
                     4/5 service
                     4/5 ambience

Follow @GordoManchester on Twitter

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1 – 5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6 – 9 get a DVD, 10 – 11 if you must, 12 – 13 if you’re passing, 14 – 15 worth a trip, 16 –17 very good, 17 – 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: We get carried away.

 

 

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AnonymousSeptember 15th 2011.

That Grouse looks a shocker

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