Dinner – Saturday, December 19, 2015
Mikael Jonsson seems like an interesting character – trained as a chef, he made his living as a lawyer while writing a pretty serious food blog (which I followed back in the “good old days”). Sourcing the best ingredients is his passion, and a number of people whose tastes I respect have spoken highly of Hedone. The restaurant’s schedule and mine never seemed to match, thus it’s taken a while to finally make it here. The timing on this trip was excellent, as the restaurant had just undergone an overhaul and reduced the number of covers served per night, allowing the small kitchen more focus.
Meyer lemon crisp, foie gras, button mushrooms
“Nicoise salad cornetto”
Tuna, celery, olive, egg foam, green pea feuilletine
Squid ink steamed bun, smoked salmon, Beluga caviar
Parmesan savory custard, umami gel, chia seeds
I did not expect this to work as well as it did – the viscosity of the chia seed “slime” actually played off the smooth texture of the custard nicely. Bravo.
Red radish juice, horseradish oil, dill, hazelnut mayonnaise
Very good crab, lightly cooked. The punchy horseradish oil paired well with the nuttier mayonnaise – both brought out the sweetness of the crab.
Oyster tartare, oyster leaf
Watercress puree, caviar, sunchoke
Hand-dived Isle of Man scallop
Beurre blanc, black truffles, sherry foam
Our table’s consensus dish of the night. The scallop was beautifully cooked, and the black truffles (both shaved and in a sauce) were of superior quality this evening. The aromatic sherry foam went a long way in preventing the dish from feeling too heavy.
Dorset lobster, pickled walnut sauce
Another example of superior product – the lobster was terrific, as was the sauce made with its innards. I was, however, mystified by the sheet of pasta (shaped like Swiss cheese?) draped over the protein.
Foie gras, steamed then grilled
Smoked eel, black garlic, miso, black date puree
Pré-salé lamb, grilled and shaved artichokes, citrus gel
The salt marsh lamb was absolutely top-class (perhaps some of the best I’ve ever eaten), and its roasting did the ingredient credit. The artichokes were a natural pairing, but the acidity from the citrus gel was unusual and quite alluring.
Apple tarte tatin, cinnamon caramel, ginger ice cream
The apples, cooked in balsamic vinegar, had a wonderful balance of sweetness and complex musky acidity. The pastry was textbook, and the ginger ice cream was a nice, spicy pairing to the warm apples.
Chocolate bar, sesame praline, cherry sorbet, speculoos
Lemon-ginger marshmallow, canele, chocolate caramel with passionfruit powder
I would not be surprised if someone told me that the Hedone kitchen uses some of the best ingredients in the country – the evidence on the plate backs up their reputation. I did, however, sense a gap between sourcing and technique – minor flaws in cooking here and there, and some inconsistencies between plates. One star actually seems accurate to me – the restaurant would undoubtedly be in a better place if it could only smooth out its operation. Our server pointed out a few regulars sitting at the chef’s counter (with their names engraved on the chair backs, no less) – they did receive a lion’s share of the attention tonight, and I can only assume that extra care was paid to their plates. Oh, it must be sublime to dine here as a regular!