301 Chiswick High Road, London, England, W4 4HH, United Kingdom

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Editor's note: After eight years, Hedone closed on 1st June 2019. It will be missed.

To make great food, start with great ingredients. This may seem self-evident, yet it is something which seems to elude many high-end London restaurants, and why I head off to the continent if I want to eat really top of the range food. Hedone is interesting in that its chef and owner, Michael Jonsson, is an ingredients expert rather than a chef by background. After training as a chef many years ago in Sweden he switched career and became a lawyer, but always with a passionate interest in food. The Gastroville blog that he wrote was highly influential, and he has advised some Michelin starred restaurants in Europe on ingredient sourcing.

Now he has switched to the other side of the counter and is behind the stoves of his first restaurant, in modest premises at the unfashionable end of the Chiswick High Road that were previously a Lebanese nightclub. Michael spent over a year travelling the UK searching out artisan suppliers, from producers of flour to unpasteurised butter to shellfish, and supplements the best British ingredients he can find with produce from Europe where necessary. The menu, which has no a la carte option, changes on a weekly basis, and often is adjusted daily in the light of what ingredients are best that day, a similar approach to that taken by Astrance in Paris. A ten course tasting menu is currently available at £70, four courses at £50. A three course lunch is £35 on Thursday through Saturdays. For the ultimate experience the carte blanche tasting menu at £95 uses the very finest produce that the kitchen can obtain. Given the high quality of the ingredients here this is actually good value - this price would not buy you a starter in some top Paris restaurants, where similar and in a few cases identical ingredients are being used.

The dining room has exposed brick walls and an open kitchen, with a few seats at a bar looking into the kitchen in addition to the main dining area, and has carefully thought-out lighting illuminating the tables well. There is a downstairs with a private dining room, and this houses the wine cellar. The wine list had around 200 choices, with a lot of French wines but also selections from elsewhere, at fair mark-ups by London standards.   Example wines include Crawford River Riesling Young Vines 2009 at £39 for wine that will set you back £27 in the shops, the lovely Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2008 at £70 for a wine that retails at £34, up to Javillier Corton-Charlemagne 2007 at £179 for a wine that costs around £70 in the shops.   

I have now eaten 74 meals at Hedone, and have not recorded every dish of every meal, though there is now an extensive photo gallery. What distinguishes Hedone is the relentless focus on the highest quality ingredients. An example of this is the beef, supplied by Darragh O’Shea, probably the best butcher in London at the moment. The chef spends time at the butcher selecting just a few of the choicest cuts of beef with a high degree of marbling and has them individually aged to order. The beef that is served in the restaurant has been aged from between 55 and 80 days, and has the kind of texture that you encounter in Japan.

Another example is the bread, where the chef spent training time with perhaps the finest baker in France, Alex Croquet, in order to perfect his technique. Now produced in specialist bread ovens, the sourdough, white and other loaves produced have now reached the stage where they are as good as you will find anywhere. Mr Croquet himself acknowledged that the bread is of a similar standard to his own. This is bread that any three star Michelin restaurant would be pleased to serve. There are many further examples of the degree of effort made here: the puff pastry is made from scratch and not bought, and one particularly good sauce that I tried took the kitchen three days to make, incorporating four separate stages. I could go on, but suffice it to say that this is serious cooking using serious ingredients. The style is deceptively simple with few garnishes, the idea being to let the ingredients speak for themselves. 

Here are notes from a previous meal. 

It is now over two years since Hedone opened. The meal I had today reflected continuity in the sense that the chef’s obsession with top-class ingredients continues unabated, and also development in that the dishes have become more polished since the opening. This is partly because, since gaining its Michelin star, the restaurant has been able to attract more experienced staff.

Ingredient quality could be seen in the stunning sea bass at the meal today, whose flavour was quite remarkable, flawlessly cooked; as good a piece of sea bass as I have eaten. Another example was the peas served with the pigeon. The peas came from Italy and were of exceptional quality, carefully selected pod by pod to be the very sweetest, up there with the best that can be found in the lovely markets of the Mediterranean. No kitchen in London today pays quite such attention to ingredient quality as Hedone.

The technical skill can be seen in the ever-improving bread and the lovely chocolate dessert: chocolate ganache topped with a chocolate disk topped with raspberry powder, with passion fruit and also vanilla ice cream. The sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla had the acidity of the passion fruit and the raspberry as balance, the textures of each element exactly as they should be: a really accomplished dessert. The cooking continues to develop here, and over the dozens of meals that I have eaten here it has been fascinating to watch the progression, the dishes getting steadily better and better.

Here are notes from my first meal here.

The meal started with dazzling goujeres, made with a Swiss cheese called l’Etivaz in this instance.  Their texture was remarkably light and airy, and above all they had plenty of cheese flavour, which many goujeres lack, even in Michelin starred restaurants. These are some of the very best goujeres I have tasted (19/20). Umami flan and English peas consisted of a Spanish style flan i.e. custard, in this case flavoured with chicken stock and a Japanese secret ingredient, given additional flavour by excellent peas. This was a very appealing dish, with a real savoury sense to it, which was of course the idea (strong 17/20). This umami flan is also made at the restaurant in other styles, in one case with red pepper, in another case with seaweed topping.

Gazpacho with dill seed sorbet was stunning, the tomatoes used in the gazpacho tiny ones from Italy with intense flavour, the gazpacho carefully seasoned and the sorbet also working well, the dill a lovely pairing with the tomato; I have only once had a better gazpacho than this (19/20). The main course was the star – 45 day aged beef from the top butcher O’Sheas of Knightsbridge.  The beef had more marbling than is usual to see in British beef, and indeed was reminiscent of black wagyu beef in Japan; the additional fat meant the beef had tremendous depth of flavour (19/20).  I have only eaten better beef than this a handful of times. The beef was accompanied by excellent juniper-smoked potatoes and cabbage.

A dessert of apricots came with a light almond blancmange, the apricots having striking flavour, the blancmange having smooth texture and providing a balance to the acidity of the fruit (18/20).  A deceptively simple “chocolate bar” melted in the mouth, the airy, light chocolate topping (the chocolate itself from Venezuela) resting on a base of dacquoise made from layers of almond powder, crunchy biscuit and crepe (18/20).

The coffee, a blend supplied by The Monmouth Street Coffee Shop, was excellent.  A bill of £100 a head for eight courses, plus nibbles and good wine was a bargain given the quality of ingredients on display here.  This review is based around a dinner, but in fact I have had four meals at Hedone already in the opening two weeks, as I am aware that to score a brand new restaurant at this level will be controversial, and I wanted to be confident that the level of cooking was consistent. It is.

For example, a further lunch saw a particularly impressive pigeon dish; the pigeon was imported from Paris whole (most UK butchers provide pre-gutted pigeons to restaurants, but this can result in some drying out of the bird), and the meat, cooked rare, had tremendous depth of flavour. This was preceded by two scallop starters: sashimi of scallops was a very simple dish relying on the quality of the main ingredient. The scallops were alive when prepared, and were so fresh that the thin slices of the flesh were still moving when sliced in the kitchen (17/20). The same shellfish were now cooked in their shell with seaweed butter, the scallops still attached to their shell having been alive moments earlier. Again a very simple dish but showcasing lovely fresh, sweet scallops, in this case from Devon (18/20).

I have complained on my blog for some time about the lack of ambition of most London restaurant openings in recent years.  So many chefs seem content to open profitable bistros serving capable but unexciting food based on serviceable ingredients. This is understandable from a financial viewpoint, but is frustrating for a diner looking for world-class dishes, with few London openings aiming for the very highest standards of food possible. Hedone is an exception, bringing a level of quality of ingredients pretty much unknown even in multi-starred London establishments. For this reason alone it is to me the most exciting London restaurant opening for years.


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User comments

  • Sam

    Boy, what a bummer that this restaurant has closed. My one visit was so memorable that I was intending to visit again this year. This was no one-star restaurant.

  • Prof. Felda Hardymon

    Hedone has reigned as the best restaurant in London. Period. No exception, no qualifiers, no regrets. It is a blow to London’s culinary reputation worldwide that it is closed. RIP

  • Tanya

    I so agree with all these comments. How this restaurant still only has one star staggers me - the quality and consistency is superb. Like others, I am quite happy for the chef to stay away from the diners and deliver his marvels from the other side of the counter!

  • Nina K

    How friendly are they to dietary requirements? I have been before they turned to a no choice menu model, and I greatly enjoyed being able to pick my own four courses composed mostly of fish, as I don't eat red meat. I looked into going again and emailed them with some questions, twice and they never got back to me. Shame as I enjoyed it, though for that amount of money I would expect them to provide better service by giving me a response!

  • Ewan

    Finally made it in here per your recommendation. My only regret is waiting so long. This blows every other one star I've been to out of the water. Only had time for the lunch menu but that was a gracious plenty - I may have had an entire bread basket to myself - and with the amuses and petit fours I'd call 45 a bargain for the quality. First amuse was a cornet of some kind with fine tuna tartare, the second a foie gras flan with red pepper - my hearing isn't great and the chef here was quiet so I didn't get the dill details, but the foie in particular was a rich but playful start. Parmesan custard with umami gelee was texturally softer than I expected but flavorsome without being overpowering. Then the asparagus with asparagus vinaigrette and avocado emulsion. Wow. Stunning quality, especially for the time of year. Best green asparagus I've ever had. Cod with green olive sauce and fennel was a bit less successful - the cod was cooked perfectly but the fennel dominated, plus it was all a bit lukewarm (probably because the cod was so lightly cooked.) I didn't catch all of what came with the lamb, but it was, again, by far the best lamb I've ever had, gloriously meaty while being almost offensively tender. The vegetables came with a nutty, slightly acidic emulsion which, again, I didn't catch. Bitter chocolate dessert was a small step down but only a very small one - the almond milk ice cream was of perfect texture and the overall effect was very comforting. Petit fours were pleasant, especially the pistachio marshmallow, and as I'm not a coffee drinker I had an assertive peppermint tea. 75 quid for four courses, a glass of Riesling, a bottle of sparkling water, and a peppermint tea. An absolute bargain for the quality, in my view. I will return as soon as possible, and for a celebratory meal sometime I will definitely have the Carte Blanche menu. Also, the service was great. Due to problems on the Piccadilly Line I was running late, but they were more than happy to hold my seat for 20 minutes. The staff couldn't have been friendlier - informal and welcoming. Chef Jonsson cut a brooding, determined figure at the pass, but as long as he keeps the food coming out like that I don't care if he declines to kiss and cuddle his guests. This is a guy who knows exactly what he's doing. Long may it continue.

  • Bernard

    This is a great review! Definitely must sample Hedone and The Ledbury when I visit London around May. I also managed to book Fat Duck (never been there) and Dinner so hopefully it will be a memorable experience. Thanks again Andy

  • Alan fowle

    Had begun to feel a bit guilty that we had not made the effort to go here - it is only 9 miles from Hampstead so no excuse really . As Andy might say glad we did ,we were greeted warmly by a very pleasant lady and sat on one of the few round tables for 2 by the window from which you have a view of the restaurant and the kitchen area - so a very good table . The little ameuse Bouches were light and delightful , Having eaten and also drunk a little too much at the ritz the previous night we had no wine and took the lunch menu of 4 courses for £45 . Flamed mackerel to start a picture with some frozen seaweed which sounds a bit pretentious but was very refreshing then the liquefied Parmesan and ravioli ,perfect ,next the pig noir with aubergine coated in black garlic ,the pig so tender , to finish the strawberry dessert - light and delicious .to finish a double espresso . As I said to them every dish we had was unique the ,Hedone ,we will return to try the £95 menu. The staff are all personal and personable - as nice as the food .(almost !)

  • Mark Lawrence

    We have eaten at some of best restaurants in London and the highest praise we can give Hedone is that is that it is without a doubt the best. Our only regret was that we went for the tasting menu and not the Carte Blanche menu, but this will be remedied with a return visit. A note to C.Elder, below, we were asked both when we booked and when we sat down at the restaurant if we had any dietary requirements so they seem quite happy to accommodate diners requirements. I would suggest giving them a call.

  • Robyn

    To c.elder - Somewhat off topic - but if you are avoiding seeds because you have something like diverticular disease - you might want to set up an appointment with your family doctor to discuss your diet. There are new findings/recommendations that - among other things - pretty much debunk the old ideas about avoiding seeds and the like. We will be dining at Hedone for the first time later this month - and are really looking forward to it!

  • Lance Hirsh

    Hedone is fantastic! I eat there every time I travel to London. It clearly deserves a second Michelin star!

  • c.elder

    I fully understand the lack of a menu in advance. But in a situation with "no choice" of dishes i.e. no a la carte, I feel awkward about trying a restaurant like this as there are things that I cannot eat. Nothing extreme, just no seeds in any dish(sesame;tomato seeds;grains etc). So, I tend to stay away. But you write so much about H, that I wonder- should I give it a go? Would they accommodate my problem or should I just pass? Any advice?

  • Julian

    You are so right about the Carte Blanche menu. Have eaten here three times before but only tried the Carte Blanche at an amazing lunch before Christmas. We did it in style with the wine pairings and frankly I would rather eat out once a year like this than endure the mediocrity of most restaurants. A truly amazing experience.

  • Kevin

    Finally made the 50 minute tube journey from Finsbury Park to Chiswick Park!! Birthday lunch with wife and daughter so went "Carte Blanche" with matching wines. Service was exemplary without being intrusive or fussy, the sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and generous and Chef Mikael was considerate and and happy to talk when not at the pass. The scallop dish, liquid parmesan ravioli, hare royale with truffles and the chocolate dessert were stand out and were easily 2* plus. We spent more per head (£200) than we had ever done before in London but felt we had outstanding value for money due to the quality of the cooking and ingredients. Will be making the journey up to and across London again in the Spring, if not before Outstanding!

  • Dskla

    Date of dining: 21st November 2014 Tonight we finally managed to eat at Hedone. We were lucky enough to have a counter table over looking the kitchen. Every course was beautifully created and presented. Service was excellent. We even had some of the raw ingredients shown to us prior to cooking including scallops that were so fresh that they still moved. The attention to detail is fantastic. We opted for the Carte Blanche taster menu. Total cost including drinks and service charge was £281.81. I can understand when Andy has eaten here so many times!

  • Tony

    Earlier this year I was advised to move to a gluten free diet. Hedone was the first top-end restaurant I visited with this limitation. The meal I had was absolutely outstanding. Furthermore it is only as time has gone by that I have realised how different restaurants treat people with different limitations. At most (even top end) restaurants I will be directed to a course that I can eat or there may be a substitute, often I am very happy, sometimes the lack of effort is clear; at Hedone a complete new menu was created for me separate from my other three diners that I was sharing dinner with. Not just substitutes but clear well thought out courses. I had dinner at Hedone pre-gluten diet and thought it wonderful, now gluten restricted, somehow its better and clearly that is because as a complete package this restaurant is the best in London.

  • Dilip Van Waetermeulen

    Thanks to your introduction I discovered this brilliant restaurant Andy...I have no chance of getting to 52 visits ever but given the fact that I travelled from abroad 4 times to Chiswick this year just says it all...worldclass to me...Personally, I don't need some of today's complex cooking styles...the heavenly creations of Mikael will do just fine for me...for a veeery long time to come!

  • Dave Reeder

    I ate there for the first time a couple of weeks back and was blown away by the attention to detail, the quality of ingredients, the unexpected flavor and texture combinations and by the sometime surprising but always intriguing wine pairings. I interviewed Chef Johnsson afterwards for my magazine and he came across as a passionate yet humble man, simply focused on quality. It's hard to see what more he can do to get his second star...

  • Penny Lindsay

    One of the best meals we've had for ages. Food at 3* level. Service/atmosphere/venue a little lacking. See my full review here:

  • Alan Spedding ( cumbriafoodie )

    Great write up Andy and your score of 18/20...Bang on. If i had to travel down from Cumbria right now and had the choice of eating in one restaurant only then Hedone would be the one....I love it. Chefs attitude and approach to gastronomy is an education to all of us...What a guy.

  • Jeremy

    Interesting to note Intransigent's comments re the inconsistencies in terms of value/ number of courses on the Carte Blanche menu, having experienced something similar when we dined there a few months ago. Felt that we were maybe a couple of courses short of the full deal looking at what other people had received (eg we had just 1 x dessert). From a comment made by one of the waiters it seemed that they were keen to move us out so they could start prep for evening service, which may have curtailed the experience, but is hardly fair if you're paying the money! We hadn't arrived late or taken our time, there were just substantial gaps between some of the courses; maybe there was some confusion over what we had or hadn't received..? That said, the food we ate was very good and would return, but would rather have a clear idea of what I was actually paying for...

  • Stefan Lejerdahl

    Had a great meal here in april. So good, maybe the best restaurant in London. I Guess, next year 2 star level restaurant.

  • Ian Westcott

    Had great meal here in early May. Thanks for introducing this eatery to me Andy. Agree with Luxeat that it is the only London venue that is seriously pulling me back to London. Gordan Ramsay and Dinner were very enjoyable experiences but not in the same realm as far as cooking excitement and one can go twice for around the same financial pain.

  • Marius

    Hedone was incredible. Marius from Oslo

  • BC

    Wow! Finally got to eat at Hedone last Friday. Absolutely amazing. It reminded me of L'Arpege! I think that's about the best compliment I can pay!

  • Luxeat

    The only address in London I want to keep returning. Michael is immensely talented.

  • Intransigent

    I find Andy's reviews very difficult to square with a recent meal. Some good dishes including the chocolate ganache and fantastic cod but plenty of misses too and the experience falls miles short of what you'd expect from this level of seriousness and this price point. I wonder does the chef cook anymore - on our visit he acted as sommelier and was not even looking at dishes which went out from the pass, which may explain some of the poor execution. I also query the carte blanche menu as I noted the next door tables had an extra meat course and an extra dessert and scallops which when the tables are lined up three in a row feels a bit strange. Overall I would say this is miles behind the Square as London's best food and the variety in the menu - undoubtedly a strength overall - means a hugely variable experience. Still recommended for hardcore foodies, but avoid for any celebration or if looking for an enjoyable evening out.

  • Simon S

    Excellent 7 Course tasting menu at Hedone on the 28th. Oyster was the best I have had, onion and pear demonstrated skill with simple ingredients. Only disappointment was the lamb which was flabby with the (thick) layer of fat undercooked and not reduced at all. Probably the most interesting meal I have had in recent years

  • Gordon Riby

    Agree with your views about this place. Wonderful food. The only downside (and I am being picky) is the absence of a proper cheese board - But that is true of many restaurants in the UK these days...

  • David W

    I've had a really good lunch here, so I would agree with the general sentiment. however, and this is from the man himself, Mr Jonsson has never been an ingredients expert who has advised other restaurants. He claims that this is something made up by the British media which is completely false! I'm sure he will tell you the same if you ask.

  • Alastair Bathgate

    Best restaurant I've ever eaten in - thanks for taking me. I've written up some notes on my site.

  • Name unavailable

    I had a pleasant meal on my own last week at Hedone. I agree the ingredient quality is high and is the strong sellIng point. In general however I felt there were some high points - exceptional oyster appetiser, fantastic turbot. I felt there were some inconsistencies. The Pigeon main dish was teetering on raw with a peculiar saucing of pistachio and parsley. Rose floating island had an artificial feel and taste. Bread was good, service was friendly. Tables are too small and too close together and overall the room lacks the comfort the price requires. I know it is one of your favourites but I still have to be convinced.

  • Name unavailable

    I concur! We had a wonderful dinner there last friday, and the thought behind each dish, its ingredients and preparation shows a dedication to quality and detail that is enviable. We also had the squab pigeon prepared two ways, ever so deep in flavour, rare, and tender. Normally I'm not an extreme fan of morels, but here I'm coming back for more. To quote a former governor of California: "I'll be back!"

  • Name unavailable

    A great experience. By far the best in Chiswick and by far the best meal I have had this year. It was our 26th wedding lunch [great train robbers got less!].we had the tasting menu with wines which expanded to 8 courses with cheese. Not cheap and certainly not to be rushed. We started at 12.30 and did not leave till 5pm but a great day. There was no work done afterwards!! We met Andy too and hopes he tries [and reviews] the Albertine in Wood Lane W12 which was new to him. Can fully understand why he rates Hedone so much- think his reviews are great. It is all very well deserved praise for Hedone. Keep it up. Looking forward to another visit.

  • Name unavailable

    I found the foams here outstanding. Much innovation made the meal memorable. Definitely worth a trip on the tube to Chiswick. My only reservation is that I did not find the quality of the fish (turbot and Dover sole) to be top notch. Perhaps a different fish supplier is in order.

  • Rohan

    I enjoyed visiting this place and had a lovely night out. But I didn't share the view that this was head and shoulders above many other decent restaurants in London. The beef came in two pieces - one was slightly more done and was rather flavourless and tough (so much so with the non-serrated knife really wasn't up to the job). The other piece was much better, slightly more tender with much flavour but still nothing to compare with a bone in sirloin steak at hawksmoor a couple of weeks before had more taste. This came with a small pile of what I thought was horseradish mash but there was again little flavour and some perfectly acceptable endive. A simple main course deer dish did live up to the billing with incredible flavour in the meat (no sauce and some buttered carrots with meat). Other dishes varied from lovely (egg, apricot and mushrooms, mushroom balls) to average (the onion was saved by a lovely butter sauce and lobster was unremarkable). It would be helpful to know if they've added a table as the space felt very tight against the back wall with tables needing to be moved to let diners squeeze in? Additionally service was really good until the place got packed out when the sommelier and wine service got overwhelmed. Glad they've got ambition but against very high expectations this is a work in progress as alluded to by the chef.

  • Alan Armstrong

    My research has not been as thorough as yours Andy, but I have been twice in the last week just to make sure! The second time was even better than the first! The beef last night was just amazing; on the first visit I really enjoyed the apricot dessert in particular. Great wine pairings and charming, friendly and enthusiastic service from the young French staff. Deserves to do well. We're so lucky with this and La T in Chiswick!

  • Matthew Grant

    I can only echo Andy's review, the quality of ingredients here is fantastic and they really shine through. When other restaurnts claim they serve the best seasonal produce they will easily be proved wrong by eating here, if only other places would take as much care to source their ingredients and then serve them in such a precise and sympathetic way. the most ambitious restaurant to open in London for years.

  • Peter Jobson

    i haven't been to this restaurant so can make no specific comment. however your frustration that "so many chefs seem content to open profitable bistros serving capable but unexciting food based on serviceable ingredients" is enraging. the restaurant industry does not exist to tickle the fancy of jaundiced food critics; it is a business, we need to make money to pay our mortgage, feed our families and other such mundanities. obviously you don't see yourself as a critic of business plans but it is overly one-eyed to make pronouncements on a restaurant offering while failing to consider whether the price you are paying is in fact being subsidised by (never to be recovered) lending from a bank or the deep pockets of a benefactor who made his/her money in another industry. you are not alone of course; was the salivating praise of El bulli ever ever tempered by the acknowledgement that this was a loss-making business for the whole of the last decade? the restaurant industry may be a whole lot more pleasing to you if this ability to duck the requirement to turn a profit was universal. i wish hedone well.

  • Kieron

    I can only agree with Andy’s comments. This place really is amazing. I have eaten the Umami flan, Gazpacho with dill seed sorbet and the pigeon dishes plus a few others but it was those three that really shone for me, and the reason I am going back Friday. It will not be long till its full every day. Oh and for the price amazing!