The cream of the crop

Mikael Jonsson serves food of unparalleled sophistication and elegance in his restaurant in Chiswick.

The idea behind Hedone is to bring to the UK what Mikael feels most strongly about: product-driven cuisine, in the literal sense of the world. There is no talk about great British, or local produce here, no misleading rhetoric of changing the world. Rather, Hedone aims to bring the very best products one can find to its customers, without masking the flavours. Whilst this might sound simple, the attention to detail, technique and maturity in the composition of dishes here are quite sublime.

For what you get here is perhaps the most basic food you could possibly imagine. Take a dish of raw scallops with radishes and citrus. There isn’t an awful lot going on, on this plate. Nor is there much seasoning on this dish. However, what this plate shows better than many others is the focus on purity of flavour at Hedone. The scallops are so beautiful and fresh that they keep on moving on the plate if you touch them with your knife. Such a sweet, and clean flavour of scallops has very little in common with what the vast majority of people would associate with this product.

Even more exciting is a turbot. Whilst served with nothing more than cockle juice and cabbage, this piece of turbot is quite simply captivating. Forget the stuff you get in the vast majority of starred restaurants, for this will blow your socks off (at least Mr. Ducasse seems to have been impressed by it). The steaming here is so perfectly timed that the term cuit a la nacre can really be applied here. The fish shines like a pearl, revealing flesh that has both texture and bite; flavour and balance. It is such a pure and rewarding piece of fish that the other elements on this plate nearly seem to distract one’s attention. With quality this good, one could nearly just serve the fish alone.

Whilst such dishes are incredibly delicate and subtle, Jonsson can cook more hearty fare equally well. The best example for this is beef that he chooses and dry-ages for around 60-80 days. The results are unlike any beef that you will have tasted. Not quite as marbled as the best wagyu, the beef is nonetheless so tender and richly flavoured that you will have trouble forgetting it. Cooked to absolute perfection, it seems to nearly melt on your tongue, whilst retaining texture. All you need with it are his potatoes and a little pan-jus; nothing more. It is another lesson in product quality one that goes even further than the previously mentioned ones, as it also appeals to our hedonistic tendencies, with its rich and deep flavour.

Those are in essence the two sides of Mikael’s cooking: The very subtle and clean seafood dishes, and the equally pure, but more hearty and hedonistic meat and game dishes. No matter what you eat here, rest assured that you will have serious trouble finding better produce anywhere in the UK, if not large parts of the world. For this is what makes Hedone a truly unique place: Produce and technique.


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