Review of 'Hedone (NOW CLOSED)'

Hedone is, surprisingly, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in somewhat up-market Chiswick and as such as been on my list of places to visit for some time now. Our anniversary came up so I took the opportunity to book us in. I had tried to book it last year but as our anniversary is so close to Christmas I was unable to get a table but this year I was more careful and booked it as soon as I was able to (one month, precisely, ahead of time when reservations are open).

A small unassuming restaurant on the Chiswick High Road you could be forgiven for mistaking it for just another kebab shop or pizza joint were it not for the frosted glass and distinct lack of posters in the windows. The cool, modern, exterior makes way for a…cool, modern interior. We were early for our 7:00 pm reservations, only the third and fourth diners for the evening. A small bar-styling seating area looks directly into the kitchen area which occupies one corner of the restaurant open for all to see and, indeed, I spent much of the evening watching them prepare the orders which the efficient staff delivered to the tables.


Modern art adorns the plainly decorated walls with the interior lit by small bulbs in the ceiling which gives quite a harsh and cool light. The wood floor means that it can get quite busy and, indeed, by the time we left when it was a full house it was getting difficult to hold a conversation.

Having taken our coats we were then seated against the far wall with a great view of the preparation area and given the rather large wine list and extremely small menu – There are only two options: A tasting menu (seven courses; £95) and a “carte blanche” menu (10 courses; £135) both of which had optional wine pairings. There were other options as well: Shortly after being seated a platter with two enormous black truffles under a glass dome was brought to the table. With the dome lifted and the heady smell of the truffle wafting over us we were asked if we wanted to have, for an extra £30 (each) truffle added to one of our courses (I accepted but my companion demurred not being a huge truffle fan). This is a bit of a cynical ploy but effective for those willing to splash out a bit on, let's face it, a tremendously indulgent treat. Before our dessert course(s) we were also offered a cheese course for another £14.50 (though this we declined as at the time we did not want to be overly full).

The head chef, Mikael Jonsson (originally from Sweden which sort of explains the food philosophy of Hedone), took a chance a few years ago to completely throw away a traditional menu and going with set menus that offer seasonal dishes specifically selected based on what is available and is best on the day. This to the point that when asked at the end of the evening if we could have what we had eaten written down so we could remember our request was declined – “The menu is different every day and we do not provide sample menus.” A bit odd but, ok, let's go with it. So, bear with me as I attempt to describe what we had with my somewhat fallible memory.

After selecting the tasting menu each (along with my truffle) we were brought two separate “amuse bouche”: The first a small seaweed cone containing a creamy savoury, perched on a bed of black rocks and the other, incredible, rectangular block of fois gras in a crispy coating. Both were delicious and set us up nicely for the evening.

First up was a modern “Fish & Chips” which consisted of a rectangular piece of monk fish impossibly covered in a potato wrapper served on a irregular piece of rock with a lovely tartar sauce in a small bowl on the side. The fish was very flavoursome and meaty while the tartar sauce was deliciously zingy and creamy.

Fish & Chips

The next dish is difficult to describe: Served in an unsual broken-egg-style cup this was a savoury custard topped with an unusual topping with small balls of flavour. No idea what it was as our waiter, as he did throughout the evening, speak with a heavy accent and only very quickly describe the dish to us…once. Most were so complicated the best we could hope for was to catch the main ingredient. In this dish we failed even at that.

Savoury Custard

The warm salad proved to be the course they chose to accent with copious amounts of black truffle which was absolutely lovely and, despite the strong, heady, flavour was actually quite mild. The crispy chard (I believe) on the top was a wonderful contrasting texture to the soft leaves of the salad and creamy sauces.

Salad with Truffle

The scallop course was the highlight of my evening: Fresh Scottish scallops that the chef came over to explain were cooked extremely slowly so that they are an even texture and colour throughout, not browned. Deliciously creamy and unlike any scallops I have ever tasted before. Delicious and sweet. Wonderful. Each of the three pieces was delicately topped with herb leaves.


I found the sea bass quite fishy for my taste though perfectly cooked with crispy skin and a delicately soft flesh. The coconut foam on the side was surprisingly good with it along with a light thyme (?) sauce. Served on a large round, flat textured plate looking like it came out of a museum, beautiful.

Sea Bass

The meat course consisted of two pieces of wonderfully tender lamp in a light jus. Served perfectly pink it was absolutely delicious and served with a side selection of slightly deep-fried tarragon offering a delightful texture variation as well as very strong flavoured but tender artichokes.


We were now onto our deserts with the first being a deconstructed lemon meringue - a thin sliver of light meringue topped with drops of lemon curd and a dollop of ice cream.

Lemon Meringue

The next was one of our servers favourite dishes: A small amount of passion fruit puree covered with a chocolate mouse and topped with a crispy chocolate wafer and a scoop of thyme ice cream. Very nice, quite rich and I found the fruit so acidic it was quite overpowering (though I am a sucker for passion fruit so I can easily forgive this).

Chocolate Passion Fruit

It was our anniversary and it was nice to see this acknowledged as we finished off our meal with a special plate delivered to our table…

Anniversary Treats

At £290 for the two of us (including two glasses of wine, two bottles of sparkling water and a 12.5% service charge) this was not a cheap meal but quite a wonderful experience trying some unusual flavours presented in innovative and sophisticated ways. I can see why they have the Michelin star however I can't say it was an overly welcoming experience with the staff somewhat distant, though, yes, pleasant, throughout. I did not feel comfortable in the dining room as I did at, for example, Le Gavroche or The Waterside Inn which is in the same price range.

Extravagance, to be sure. Accessible, perhaps not so much.


Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2017-12-20

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 301-303 Chiswick High Road London W44HH

Public Transport: TUBE Chiswick Park

Location: London (England) - Chiswick



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Telephone: +44 (0)20 8747 0377