Friday night after a killer exam… what else is there to do but grab your foodie friend and celebrate in style… (I keep forgetting I still have another exam to go!) but revising can wait. Friday night was all about eating good food, so I chose to tick one that I have been meaning to try for a while off the “to-eat” list.
Hibiscus is a Michelin 2-star restaurant based in Mayfair. The head chef,Claude Bosi had worked in a number of well known French Michelin starred restaurants and the quality seeps through in his menu.
The restaurant is a little tucked away, in a side road off Regent’s Street and you could almost miss it’s simple, minimalistic entrance. The restaurant itself is not too big, probably serving about 50 people at a given time. The decor is beautiful, with a huge bouquet of flowers in the centre under a large chandelier of crystals, the simplicity and elegance just blew me away.
The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived, but we were seated one one of their plush green sofas. If that wasn’t enough to win my heart over (even before the food arrived) the lovely waiter introduced himself and gave my friend a hook for her bag *insert heart emoji here*.
The vibe was very relaxed, casual and the service matched it, the waiters did not once make us feel as though we were in a Michelin star restaurant, which I loved. Even after my friend spilled some red food on the crisp white linen, our waiter very casually covered it without saying a word.
We were presented with a rather small food menu and a wine list which took up half the table, we sent that back obviously. I had requested halal meat when I made the booking which the waiter confirmed.
The menu is really interesting. It is a 7 course menu (!) You can either go for a surprise menu which the chef selects himself, or go for the standard menu, also 7 courses.7 courses seems like a lot but we just thought it was be alot of amuse bouche’s, so we went for the surprise menu. The real surprise was that there was no a la carte menu, which was strange as you had to go for the set menu.
So out came the surprise menu… one dish after another after another! WARNING – this post involved alot of photos to match the meal!
Pre 7-course meal came the mocktails, nuts, and Gougeres, which are light fluffy cheese buns that melt in your mouth as the gooey cheese… crisp on the outside and soft and cheesy on the inside – just perfection!
There were only 2 mocktails on the menu so we got them both!
Course 1 got me so excited that I forgot to take a photo! The first starter was a fennel and onion finger bun.
Next came the Hibiscus Drop – a hibiscus flower infusion with cocoa butter, with oregano powder and zest. It was named hibiscus drop because it was exactly that – a drop of deliciousness, the outside was a shell of cocoa butter which exploded a fruit infusion in your mouth and awakened every tastebud you never knew existed.
Next, came the Miso ice cream with yuzu gel and topped with black sesame seeds. The waiter had to hurry me along from taking the perfect shot as he reminded me ice cream melts! This, again, was a great amuse bouche – the coldness of the ice cream and the strong flavours of the miso and yuzu gel really used all the taste buds in my mouth. It was a great little badboy! I loved the presentation, their size was just perfect given that the flavours wee so strong..
Next, we were given some bread and presented with an egg box which has in them 2 duck shells with an amuse bouche of mushy peas, coconut foam and topped with curry powder. It was so cute to look at but tasted divine too. The curry powder, although it took me back to my mum’s cooking, complimented the subtle flavours of the coconut so well, throw in some peas it this was probably one of my favourite little pieces of the night, I wanted more of this! This a whole tub it was that good.
Next came the Devonshire crab, one of my very favourites. The bottom was brown crab meat, and the white meat was infused with flower jelly in a salad on top of it. It was such a great dish, the brown meat had a soft jelly like texture and worked so well with the white meat and salad. I could taste every flavour and could differentiate between the 2 meats, which made the experience truly great.
Next came out a small dish of white asparagus (sourced from the South of France apparently) topped with sugar almonds, with black olive and lime puree. What an odd choice of a meal, I usually would eat an asparagus straight but making it into a dish of its’ own is just genius. The asparagus was so delicious and topped with sugar almonds was perfect. I loved the combination of the two flavours. The dash of olive puree was good, and also worked well with the asparagus. The lime puree on the other hand was so strong and literally felt like I was licking a lime straight. I did like the after taste though it was too bitter and almost ruined it for me
Next, what I imagined was the main course by this point, came the sea bream stuffed with giros and a fresh almond base. The fish melted in your mouth, the flavours were perfectly in sync and was a good eat overall.
Next was a seagull egg. Initially I didn’t hear what the waiter had introduced the dish as but heard egg of 3 weeks that had been prepared for the meal, so though okay that’s cool. Soon as I cut into it, a flood of red came flowing out and put me off. What I didn’t like about it was the texture, it was very goeey and had an oyster like feel to it on the tongue which made me think my insides were going to be regurgitated. Unfortunately, I didn’t eat much of it but the waiter was very kind and offered me another replacement, but at this point I was getting rather full and thought I’ll just wait for dessert.
Next, a dish was introduced to us as frog legs. My initial reaction was that it was probably a dish called frog legs but did not actually have frog legs (like random dishes like spotted dick) Upon asking the waiter he informed they were actual frog legs with mushrooms, he informed us it was delicious and a delicacy of the region. I politely declined. PLEASE NOTE FROGS ARE NOT HALAL. I did say to the waiter that frogs were not halal and he apologised profusely, bless him! Here is a photo just for your amusement though..
At this point, I imagine we are way past the 7-course mark and are on course 10! Next came out the chicken with tamarind, coriander and chicken jus and caramelised shallots. The chicken was halal as I had requested for halal options when I made the booking. This chicken was perfection, it was so tender that the knife just slid through it, the combination of caramelised shallots and the tamarind sauce was amazing, it was strong but not over powering in taste and the chicken was perfect in taste and went so well with the gravy. LOVE!
We had been eating for almost 2 hours at this point and dessert must be on its way by now I thought. And so it did, well a pre-dessert dessert. Any place that presents me with a pre-dessert dessert has totally and t=fully won my heart over!
Out came a little glass with Lemon Verbain Panacotta with Caragana Strawberries – what can I say about this, it was so refreshing. The crushed flowers just added to the taste and texture of the dessert. The pannacotta itself was smooth and so tasty.
And finally, last but definitely not least at what I counted as course number 11, came the main dessert – Asparagus Tart with Black Olive Coconut Sorbet and Lemon Puree. Very strange choice of ingredients, I thought. But I was proven so so wrong, the asparagus tart was beautifully created with just the right amount of sweet and savoury. The dollop of coconut sorbet was such a great combination to the tart, it was almost as though the ingredients weren’t meant for dessert yet it tasted like a dessert, and a damn good one at that! 10 out of 10 for this dessert!
It’s over we thought, until they brought out the final knocker – Nougat! It was way too sweet for me at this point and I was afraid my jeans would pop open if I had anything else..
And that was finally it folks! We ate constantly for approximately 3 hours, had almost 12 courses, 4 mocktails and way too many selfies. The experience overall was amazing. Each dish was carefully thought out and created to perfection. Even though I didn’t attempt to try a couple, I felt as though the experience was definitely worth it. But every experience comes with a price so be warned – our bill came to £340 in total for 2 people. Which considering the meal itself was priced at £135 per person, I was expecting it, however the service was great but £40 for service did feel a bit painful, but was definitely. However, given its reputation as a Michelin 2-starred restaurant I was not surprised. Thinking about the menu, the surprise menu was great but I would have loved it if they had catered for us haloodies a little more and actually brought on some more halal dishes rather than just fish ones, as there were some other options on the menu. Not sure why there was no a la carte menu for dinner, but I loved not having to chose what dish to eat. It was a different expereience and throughly enjoyable.
However, if you go for lunch the menu comes at a cheaper price of £100 per person, and they also have an a la carte option. An if you’re looking for something really special, check out the Chef’s workshop – a unique experience for up to 6 people where the head chefs cook the meal in front of you. A price of £155 per person would give you canapes and a 6 course tasting menu.
So in conclusion, Hibiscus is a great place, so romantic, such a perfect meal but maybe a bit too much (even by my standards) for a Friday night meal, and should be reserved for a special occasion. But is definitely worth a try!
The service was great – the waiters were attentive, accommodating, funny and so engaging. They even gave us a book full of fun ingredients at the end – I love a place that gives you a little souvenir to take away with you.
My ratings as follows:
Food 8 out of 10
Service 7 out of 10
Atmosphere 6 out of 10
Experience 8 out of 10
Giving Hibiscus a total TLH score of 8 out of 10.
Address: 29 Maddox St, London W1S 2PA
Halal Status: Available with 48 hour notice
Closest Station: Oxford Circus
Thank you for a lovely evening.
Lots of love,