The 3 course tasting menu that turned into 10 courses.
Oh what an evening. I think I may still be full a week after we devoured this delicious meal. After searching through Open Table trying to find a tasting menu in London for Andy's birthday that wasn't going to cost £200+, we stumbled upon Hibiscus hidden away in Mayfair. We wanted somewhere special but not so extortionate that we felt uncomfortable and let me tell you that Hibiscus fit the bill perfectly. The offer we had was described as a 3 course tasting menu for £55pp including a glass of wine (not including the 15% service charge). However it ended up being around 9 courses in total. As you can imagine I took as many photos as I possibly could - ahem, on my brand new Olympus PEN too I might add. So grab a cuppa' and let's dive into the mind of Chef Claude Bosi.
At this stage I will say that we went over the original £55 offer as we ordered a glass of champagne due to it being a special occasion. It was so worth it. I should probably also mention that we'd had a bottle of wine before we went to Hibiscus but that didn't cloud my judgement at all. I swear. We were offered a mix of nuts and a tiny parmesan roll followed by a delicious steamed bun filled with an onion gravy. The perfect little amuse-bouche. Next we were presented with an ice cold stand with a small spherical ball on top. Our waiter told us to swiftly pick it up with your thumb and index finger. The tiny palette cleanser was bizarre. Instantly bursting in ours mouths to reveal a subtle orange taste. I think this is why I enjoy fine dining and tasting menus so much (when my bank balance allows) as it's almost theatrical. The penultimate amuse-bouche was fois gras ice-cream cornetto with sherry vinegar sprinkles. Again, an entertaining dish packed full of flavour. But my favourite dish of the whole evening was the eggs. Not just any eggs, hollowed out eggs filled with creamy pea puree and topped with curry powder. Sounds disgusting right? Wrong. It was incredible and presented in such a fun and playful way. Even the bread and butter were to die for.
Onto the starters. The menu has two dishes per course so Andy and I decided to choose one of each and pinch a bit of the other's. We had lamb sweetbreads with buttermik, puntarella (similar to chicory) and seaweed butter for one dish and wild garlic veloute, lemon and black garlic as the other. I'm not big into my offal and wouldn't usually order sweetbreads but it was just plain exquisite. The buttermilk and seaweed butter were such an unusual accompaniment however it was divine. The veloute was an eye-catching dish. A bright vibrant green pool of garlicy caramelised goodness with 3 little spheres which unlike the palette cleanser did not pop in your mouth, just disappeared. I found myself watching Andy taste the second starter to see if he experienced the same vanishing act of the mysterious spheres. A fun dish, which got us really talking about the food, which as a foodblogger I adore but it's great to see others get animated about a unique dish too.
For the main we chose one Cornish cod "Grenobloise" and one barbecued poussin with tamarind, lemon and baby gem lettuce. The cod itself was outstanding and beautifully seasoned. The capers, lemon and buttery foamy sauce were honestly so good and all together a really refreshing, zesty dish. The poussin had a lovely charred flavour complimented by the sweet and sourness of the tamarind. Quite a peculiar combination of flavours but it worked. My only minor issue was the baby gem lettuce, it just wasn't for me and I don't think it added anything extra to the dish. Then along came dessert. One strawberry vacherin with Hundred year old balsamic vinegar and one chocolate tart with Indonesian basil. Beautifully presented, the strawberry vacherin was pretty much a fancy Eton mess but really tasty and light. The chocolate tart looked absolutely exquisite. The pop art design was very unique, something I haven't seen many places do. But why the 'BANG' you ask? Well, that's because there's popping candy sprinkled over the basil ice-cream. So very Heston. Again, a comical fun dessert to end the evening with well, a bang! The tart itself was very rich and by this point we could only manage a couple mouthfuls. A few small petit fours of nougat to round off the last few swigs of wine and we were done.
Queue: We visited Hibiscus on a Thursday evening at 7pm. All the tables were full by about 8pm and we had to book in advance.
Price: If you were going to stick to the offer on Open Table it's £55pp, however don't forget the added 15% service charge. Also our glasses of champagne racked the bill up quite a bit. The menu constantly changes, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a new offer and this one expires at the end of May.
Ambience: Wonderful, well-informed staff who left a birthday card ready and waiting for Andy on the table. They even brought us a little orange cake each with a Happy Birthday slab of chocolate. Beyond accommodating, extremely professional but very welcoming.
I would go back again and again.
Molly, 23, London.
A tiny food pornographer, with a minor addiction to burgers and sushi. Following a dairy-free diet not by choice, but forever choosing to eat cheese and chocolate.