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Hibiscus

29 Maddox Street, London, England, W1S 2PA, United Kingdom

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At this particular meal we went for the set lunch, which is very reasonably priced at £49.50 for three courses, half a bottle of wine, coffee and petit fours. As a general rule I find these cheap lunch menus a good way to sample the cuisine of a restaurant at an affordable price, but as a diner you should not expect them to be quite at the same level as the full priced menu. For food to be about a third the price of dinner clearly some compromises have to be made.

The lunch began with an excellent little cornet of foie gras with mandarin sherry vinegar and caramel. The cornet was delicate, the liver flavour nicely balanced by the vinegar (17/20). Bread is these days supplied by Hedone, and is by a wide margin the best bread to be found in London.

Cevennes onion and cinnamon consommé with Cevennes dumplings was most enjoyable, the lovely sweet taste of these onions a world apart from that of the humble supermarket onion. They come from a mountain range in south-central France, and are the only onion to have be classified with as appellation d'origine protégé (17/20). 

Pork pie ravioli with sweet and sour chestnut and dried pickled eggs was an original idea, the pasta carefully made and the dish balance fine, though for me greater flavour intensity would have been useful (16/20).

Partridge came with curried capers, caper and raisin sauce, purée and “couscous” of cauliflower, with the confit leg of partridge.  This was another good dish, the hint of spice lifting the flavour of the bird (16/20).

Whisky crème Anglaise came with coffee sorbet and a garnish of pistachio, with chocolate Madeleines to the side. The sorbet had plenty of coffee punch and the flavours of the dish worked harmoniously together (16/20).

Service was excellent, attentive and friendly. The bill came to £58 a head in total via the special offer menu, which was very fair indeed given the standard of the cooking. Some of the cheap lunchtime menus in London feel distinctly dumbed down, but this one felt as if a lot of effort had gone into it, and it was easy to see why this Tuesday service was virtually full.

Further reviews: 22nd Nov 2011

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