Chef and owner of Hibiscus Claude Bosie has successfully maintained his restaurant in Mayfair as one of the few in London which holds two Michelin stars – and he’s done so for over five years now.
The dining room is a simple affair; it had undergone a refurbishment since I last went a few years back (they’ve added a private dining room and a chef’s table) and it now looks much more modern. Small and understatedly beautiful; it allows the food and the exquisitely good service to take centre stage – and they really do.
The nibbles were all pleasant little mouthfuls with a foie gras ice cream being a particular highlight. As was the bread, which they buy from Mikael Jonsson of Hedone fame – it really has to be the best bread in London.
We opted for the full tasting menu priced at £120 for eight courses. A very reasonable lunch menu was also available at £49.50 for three courses, half a bottle of wine, coffee and petit fours.
Our first course was Norwegian king crab, sea leaves and smoked haddock consommé. I first tried Norwegian king crab at Beast and I loved it. Here it was served cold which I was slightly dubious about but I needn’t have been as it was incredible. The sweet soft crab flesh was exquisite and the jellied consommé was its perfect companion.
Cevennes onion and cinnamon dumplings with pickled onions was next. A warming salty mushroom broth was poured from a teapot over the little dumplings – it was the sort of dish you want to eat on a freezing cold day to warm your chilly cockles.
Hand-dived Scottish scallops with barbecued ceps was possibly my favourite dish. Simple but such a perfect balance of flavours; plump scallop with both cooked and raw ceps made for a divine couple of mouthfuls.
Cornish John Dory “a la Grenobloise” (your guess is as good as mine on that one) came drenched in the most bubbliest of sauces I’ve ever come across – and one of the tastiest too. Next up, the Adour foie gras was most enjoyable along with the figs but I’m not entirely sure the turnip brought anything spectacular to the table – perhaps that’s simply because I always find turnip to be a bit bland.
Our final savoury course was Scottish grouse which was served as bloody as you’d hope for. The separate dish of pommé boulangère was a rich pot of buttery potatoes with a crisp top – it was a grouse lover’s heaven.
Our first trip to the pudding department was a meadowsweet panna cotta with Golden Delicious apple. It was a glass of sweet/tangy heavenliness and the panna cotta’s consistency was just right – neither too bouncy nor too sloppy.
Our final pud was a chocolate millefeuilles unlike any millefeuilles I’ve ever had before. Each layer of chocolatey crispy pastry was insanely thin – it felt like if I sneezed the whole thing would blow away. Yet it was so rich and punchy – it shall go down as one of my favourite puddings ever. Not to mention the Indonesian basil ice cream that went with it.
Our lunch at Hibiscus was quite simply spectacular. If you go for the full works it ain’t cheap but for cooking at that level – and the service, oh the service is just some of the best you’ll find in London – then you can’t help but think it’s worth every dime.
I dined as a guest of the restaurant