Michelin-starred Hedone Wants More Chiswick Support
Chef Mikael Jonsson on his new award and attracting local diners
Hedone chef/patron Mikael Jonsson said he is “ overwhelmed” to be awarded a Michelin star after opening only fourteen months ago. But he said he wishes more people from Chiswick would visit his restaurant.
“People come from all over the world to visit Hedone, and we’ve had incredible reviews. But most of the people who come here are not local. There are some from Chiswick, but most are from outside the area. Maybe the Michelin award will encourage them to do so,” he told ChiswickW4.com.
Asked why he thought that local customers were not more numerous he said;
“ I don’t know, it’s hard to evaluate, but I think there is a perception that the restaurant is very expensive. I hope this will change, I would like to have more local support.”
He said that people in Chiswick often referred to Hedone as being located “on the wrong end of the High Road”, but this did not seem to bother customers from outside Chiswick.
“Some people in the area said I would not last until Christmas when I opened. This Michelin Star is the ultimate proof that I am doing something right."
The restaurant offers a seven course tasting menu for £75 (add a wine tasting for £55), or a four course menu for £50 ( five courses £60). There is a cheaper lunch menu on Fridays and Saturdays.
Following a review by Sunday Times restaurant critic AA Gill (who gave it a double five-star review for food and atmosphere) the restaurant was booked out for the next three months. Mr. Jonsson said Spanish publication El Mundo had recently voted Hedone one of the best restaurants in the world.
Swedish-born Jonsson, a former lawyer who wrote a food blog under the pen name Degusto, opened Hedone (the name taken from the Greek word for 'pleasure') promising to give a dining experience based on the best quality produce. He had never worked in a professional kitchen before opening his own restaurant.
He said the past fourteen months had been very hard work but the success was very gratifying. The secret lay in sourcing really good ingredients.
“ We have a really good product, and we have passion but no restaurant can please everyone.
“We are trying to offer quality food and do something different. What we do is maybe not for everyone. People need to understand the type of food we serve here, it might be a bit of an acquired taste”.
Hedone becomes the second Michelin-starred restaurant in Chiswick- the other is La Trompette.
Mr. Jonsson said it was very good for Chiswick to have two Michelin stars, though both restaurants were very different.
La Trompette was more of a “neighbourhood restaurant" with the majority of its clientele from the locality, while Hedone attracted a lot of attention from abroad, he said.
Asked for his opinion of the current restaurant scene in Chiswick, he said it was “sad” to see so many fast food places and chains and so few independent operators.
“It’s a tough business to survive in, and you need to work harder than anyone else, and be better than anyone else,” he commented.
September 28, 2012