Hibicus - True Love...

December, 2013

Right – the notion that my trivial little dating blog features Hibiscus is fairly ludicrous, I am aware of this. This restaurant is the absolute crème de la crème of the London - nay, world - restaurant scene. This is unequivocally not a restaurant for your latest Tinder squeeze, it’s more apt for a special wedding anniversary, or, dare I say it, a proposal…

The restaurant is, of course, very formal, yet avoids being stiff or unwelcoming. The staff at Hibicus are truly fantastic; they’re friendly, playful, and attentive. Their generosity and hospitality on this particular visit was extraordinary. The dinning room is small and intimate – especially if you have a table in a corner. Striking blue velvet chairs, interesting artwork, and colourful water glasses add pops of colour to the demure room, which allows the food and wine to do the talking.

After a glass of divine champagne, we were presented with several canapés, all excellent, but the cheese choux buns were exceptional. Pre-starters were so exciting… a little carton of eggs was presented, each hollowed egg filled with truffle custard, coconut foam and curry powder. This gem was followed by fois gras ice cream and mango coulis, presented in the tiniest little savoury ice-cream cones, standing in a bucket of ‘sand’.

Going forward, my linguistic capabilities will fall disastrously short of conveying the sheer beauty and flavour of each dish, thus please help me with the powers of your imagination in conjuring the delectable nature of all that follows..!

Isle of Skye scallops had a hazelnut, English mustard and crunchy apple brunoise crust, and were served with tart grapefruit jelly, and a hilariously imaginative pork pie sauce. What a take on surf and turf! Monkfish was paired with horseradish, cauliflower, coq au vin jus, a mulled wine reduction (inspired!), and a crunchy brussel sprout salad. A very clever combination of wintry, Christmas-y flavours. The micro florets of broccoli and cauliflower on the plate were adorable.

My dish of the night was an egg yolk and potato ravioli, served on a bed of creamy truffle purée, with truffle oil and freshly shaved black truffle. Utterly sensational. Yes, this is a two star restaurant, but I shamelessly licked my plate clean...

I’ll have to speed things up now. Fois gras was served with liquorice and pears. The pink duck breast had a cumin crust, and was served with pumpkin and passion fruit. The venison was very special – fully deserving of the over-used description of ‘melt-in-the-mouth’. It was flavoured with mace and orange, and paired with persimmon, roasted Jerusalem artichoke and quince aioli.

Pre-dessert was a silky panna cotta, with a sweet Golden Delicious puree. Yum. I simply cannot convey the indulgence and beauty of our main dessert… the crisp and buttery cocoa sable shell of each chocolate tart was filled with a secret warm, rich chocolate fondant, which seductively oozed out of its case when broken. This was offset with a basil ice cream and star anise tuille.

I haven’t spoken of the cheese course, a second pudding course, or the petits fours, but rest assured all were delicious. I also haven’t even touched on the wines, but each was fantastic. The sommelier suggested wines for several of the courses, and each paring was divine.

Hibiscus is simultaneously classical yet playful. It’s creative, imaginative, and in every aspect, perfectly executed. I quite simply, cannot sing its praises highly enough. What a talented group of chefs and front of house team.

Is it expensive? Of course. Is it over-priced? Not in the slightest. Just make sure they're the one.