So I had a couple of days left in my holiday allotment. Where I work, there is a use it or lose it policy. So I thought I would take some time out to enjoy London. That means eat London.
So that is how I ended up at Hibiscus. I entered having heard mixed things from various people, so decided I needed to sample it myself.
House bread. Very ordinary.
Then came this! A little amuse bouche. Custard and something in egg. Combining the flavours of cabbage, coconut and curry powder. Although presented very well, I found the dish very underwhelming. Well, it was free, so I shouldn’t complain.
Wild garlic veloute with buttermilk. It looked interesting. It tasted like licking a cow. Ok. Maybe that is a little unfair but as my dining companion noted to the waiter when he asked how the dish was, it was overwhelmingly creamy, overpowering the taste of the wild garlic. When mixed together (the way I assume you are meant to eat it, as trying to bite the buttermilk separately had “interesting” results) this resulted in a faintly radioactive looking light green sludge.
Leeks with brown shrimp. Again, very pleasing to the eyes. This was introduced as having Malaysian pepper. Which is news to my 3 other diners as they were all from that region of the world. It provided an interesting discussion point at least as we all tried to discern whether there really was any difference with pepper grown in Malaysia as opposed to other parts of the globe. The taste of the dish seemed to follow this theme, an impressive surface overlaying a rather average inside.
Chou farci, veal and foie gras, parsley root and goat’s cheese blanquette.
Just look inside. Looks like it promises a culinary adventure! I enjoyed the inside but not the outside. Similar to how my friends describe Durians. Note the capital letter there. If you smell it, you will understand why. The heavy goats cheese smothered the taste of everything else for me. I did wonder if maybe the cheese came from the same farm as the buttermilk. Maybe there might have been a bit of cross breeding between the cows and the goats. That might explain the similarities.
Confit pork neck, apple and endive, orange and smoked eel sauce. This was actually far more to my taste. Probably the best dish of the day. Although, that isn’t saying much. Just like you would say that a not ripe fruit would be fantastic when placed among all its rotten cousins.
Deconstructed sweet potato cheesecake. By this point I noticed a theme arising. Excellent presentation in the hopes that the feast for the eyes would compensate for the starvation of the tongue. This failed to impress my taste buds, seeming to be over-sweet, overpowering tastes of the constituent elements (I couldn’t actually tell what they were as the sugary taste overran everything). Although on the plus side, at least it made for an interesting photo.
Cheese board with celery, kumquats, grapes, bread and crackers. Quite a generous helping. As my dining companion remarked, there is not really much that can go wrong with cheese as long as you do not have a clumsy bumpkin presenting it. As with other courses, the waiting service was excellent.
Nougats to maybe calm the stomach down a bit.
The Russian roulette of squares. Dark chocolate, caramel and mint I think. I enjoyed the brown one (caramel) although the dark one (chocolate) was a miss for me. The white one (mint) was ok but eminently forgettable.
I cannot fault their presentation or their waiting service. The service was excellent, the waiter correctly gauging the correct level of humour to use with the table (I tend to be an extremely sarcastic diner), so I would heartily recommend it on this point. Although, unfortunately it seemed that such graces were not also present in the kitchen as the food quality was deserving of little mirth.
A quiet eating 4/10.
Lunch (3 courses) and coffee or tea was GBP35 , excluding service and other drinks.
29 Maddox Street
London W1S 2PA