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#16 Sneakeater

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:20 PM

I think balex (based on his experience) and Orik (based on close reading of reviews) got this place exactly right. Plenty of potential, often realized. Usually skirts blandness and austerity for its own sake -- but they're dangers. Nevertheless, a very exciting place to eat, because you sense that something's happening here.

The dining room follows the current Paris/New York model: open kitchen, dining counter around the kitchen, then tables. Unlike many places in London, they welcome solo diners -- and you get the comeraderie of the bar. I was sitting next to some Professional Food Writer (obviously known to the restaurant), and had a good time talking to him and sharing food.

The ingredients are, indeed, excellent. And unlike Blue Hill in NYC, the chef here doesn't appear to think that the way to spotlight top-quality ingredients (and believe me, the raw materials here are much better than what we see at Blue Hill NYC) is to make the preparations as bland as possible. Indeed, sometimes Chef Mikael Jonsson will go as far as to craft a dish to accentuate the qualities of his raw materials. So a grouse breast was served very rare, in a sauce made from the grouse's liver, accentuating the gamey, livery quality of the meat itself (and a canny way to overcome the circumstance that this was, of necessity, relatively fresh grouse that couldn't have been hung very long). That and the beef (which balex noted) -- nominally aged 48 days, although Chef Jonsson remarked that it was likely more -- were the high points.

Only sometimes do you get the feeling that you're merely eating ingredients on a plate.

Chef Jonsson (a former lawyer) and the FOH woman (whom I assume is Chef Jonsson's wife) are very open and friendly. I join Orik in worrying that this encumbers reviews.

So as I said, plenty of potential, much of it already realized. If this restaurant were in my home town, I'd be as excited as hell. This might be a result of the syndrome I warned about in the last paragraph, but it's nice to eat in a restaurant that seems to be thinking seriously about what it's doing.

MF POSTSCRIPT -- Nancy S. will want to know that she's well-remembered at Hedone. I didn't go out of my way to drop her name. But when my Professional Food Writer dining companion and I asked the FOH woman whether she'd yet tried the grouse, she allowed that she preferred the pigeon as less strong. Not wanting to seem like one of those Obnoxious Macho Foodies for whom food has to be weird to be good, I mentioned that a friend had raved about the pigeon. The FOH woman asked who, I said her name is Nancy, and the FOH woman was off and rhapsodizing about what a nice guest Nancy was, even pointing out the table Nancy and her husband had sat at (it's not yet been made into a shrine, though). I know someone who'll get a very warm welcome on return.
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#17 Nancy S.

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:39 PM

I think balex (based on his experience) and Orik (based on close reading of reviews) got this place exactly right. Plenty of potential, often realized. Usually skirts blandness and austerity for its own sake -- but they're dangers. Nevertheless, a very exciting place to eat, because you sense that something's happening here.

The dining room follows the current Paris/New York model: open kitchen, dining counter around the kitchen, then tables. Unlike many places in London, they welcome solo diners -- and you get the comeraderie of the bar. I was sitting next to some Professional Food Writer (obviously known to the restaurant), and had a good time talking to him and sharing food.

The ingredients are, indeed, excellent. And unlike Blue Hill in NYC, the chef here doesn't appear to think that the way to spotlight top-quality ingredients (and believe me, the raw materials here are much better than what we see at Blue Hill NYC) is to make the preparations as bland as possible. Indeed, sometimes Chef Mikael Jonsson will go as far as to craft a dish to accentuate the qualities of his raw materials. So a grouse breast was served very rare, in a sauce made from the grouse's liver, accentuating the gamey, livery quality of the meat itself (and a canny way to overcome the circumstance that this was, of necessity, relatively fresh grouse that couldn't have been hung very long). That and the beef (which balex noted) -- nominally aged 48 days, although Chef Jonsson remarked that it was likely more -- were the hight points.

Only sometimes do you get the feeling that you're merely eating ingredients on a plate.

Chef Jonsson (a former lawyer) and the FOH woman (whom I assume is Chef Jonsson's wife) are very open and friendly. I join Orik in worrying that this encumbers reviews.

So as I said, plenty of potential, much of it already realized. If this restaurant were in my home town, I'd be as excited as hell. This might be a result of the syndrome I warned about in the last paragraph, but it's nice to eat in a restaurant that seems to be thinking seriously about what it's doing.

MF POSTSCRIPT -- Nancy S. will want to know that she's well-remembered at Hedone. I didn't go out of my way to drop her name. But when my Professional Food Writer dining companion and I asked the FOH woman whether she'd yet tried the grouse, she allowed that she preferred the pigeon as less strong. Not wanting to seem like one of those Obnoxious Macho Foodies for whom food has to be weird to be good, I mentioned that a friend had raved about the pigeon. The FOH woman asked who, I said her name is Nancy, and the FOH woman was off and rhapsodizing about what a nice guest Nancy was, even pointing out the table Nancy and her husband had sat at (it's not yet been made into a shrine, though). I know someone who'll get a very warm welcome on return.

Thanks for the postscript.

#18 Sneakeater

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 12:09 PM

No, thank YOU for the recommendation!
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#19 Wilfrid

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 02:28 PM

Oh it's grouse season. How depressing.

#20 Sneakeater

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 10:54 PM

Only if you're a grouse.

(Grouse and oysters dinner at Wilton's tonight with balex & balex's girlfriend = FUCKING FANTASTIC.)
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#21 porkwah

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 12:12 AM

a restaurant whose name will be made accurate when it closes

ABCDEFGHIJKLNMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

bob marleycorn must die 

this food left intentionally bland

and i swear that i don't have a pun

 

originality is a bitter


#22 Nancy S.

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 12:19 AM

Here's the latest article regarding Hedone: http://online.wsj.co...DNewsCollection

#23 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 03:28 AM

And here's a recent Guardian review that I think gets it just about exactly right.
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#24 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 03:32 AM

I wish I could go back here next week.
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#25 balex

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:31 AM

I wish I could go back here next week.


It's starting to get busy -- I couldn't go back there last week when I wanted to.

#26 g.johnson

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 04:46 PM

HEdonay?
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#27 Wilfrid

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 04:03 PM

Hedon-ee. It's Greek, innit. Should rhyme with Athene, Ariadne, Zorba.

#28 balex

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 04:12 PM

HEdonay?


I think that is how they answer the phone.

#29 Nancy S.

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 11:38 PM

I just read that the owner/chef of Hedone was stabbed over the weekend by a gang. Apparently, they were peeing outside of his restaurant. He needed 12 stitches.

#30 Sneakeater

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 05:06 AM

Maybe Wilfrid will want to rethink his "posh suburb" thing.
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