On Saturday, myself and my friend Fera went down to London for a six-course dinner at Hibiscus, on Maddock Street – my prize for the Electrolux Flavour of Film competition. We had £500 to spend on anything we liked. There was no way we were going to spend that much – but we tried our best.
After a trip to Topshop and a few of the other shops, we headed down to Maddock Street for our afternoon treat. The road it was on seemed so normal – no sight of a restaurant at first glance, just a door, and a small sign. It was like we were entering a secret club. When you go into the restaurant it’s immaculate and quiet – lots of well trained and highly groomed bi-lingual (well, most spoke French and English) staff confidently serving tables and explaining each dish in great detail. No music.
We were sat on a table not too far from the entrance of the small main-restaurant room and were quickly served a rose champagne specially selected for us. The menu concept was quickly explained to us – all we had to do was select how many courses we wanted and anything we didn’t eat or like. From then on we were in the capable hands of the chef. We could have accompanied this with a wine flight – but with neither of us being huge drinkers, we stuck to our rose champagne and champagne cocktails. We didn’t like the idea of staggering around London later afternoon.
To be honest, we would have been happy with the bread that came before the first course – sourdough bread from South London with a creamy salted butter from Shropshire (Fera’s home county). It was delicious and packed with flavour. But then our first course came out – crab with melon and wasabi. It quickly put the bread firmly back its place as an accompaniment. From the crab to the delicious espresso coffee at the end – the rest is still a blur. The whole experience of no music and food designed to shock and surprises quickly lures you into a trance (which is why it’s taken me a few days to write this post).
Here’s what I remember:
My favourite course was next. A grilled onion ravioli in a creamy sauce with mint and broad bean – the rich flavours literally danced on the tongue, while the texture from onion and pasta made it all the more interesting. This was followed by sea bass with potato and crotons, lamb baked with liquorice, and duck with lots of coriander with a tomato purée – Fera’s favourite dish.
In among all of the dishes were aperitifs. The first was a hibiscus and elderflower drink – which we were advised to sip the froth at the top and shot the rest. The next was a tongue tantilizing mixture of strawberries, jelly and the same froth. This literally made our whole mouth tingle.
Finally for dessert we were served an unusual combination that somehow worked. A case made from chocolate biscuit, filled with a pea and mint mousse topped with candied coconut and served with a coconut sorbet. OH MY. It was tasty – and who would have thought to put pea in a dessert. I need to try making this. (I managed to sneak a picture of this course)
To top all of this off, and to wash down our Hibiscus Royal cocktail we had coffee, served with the tastiest chocolate that looked like sponge cake at first glance. The whole experience was relaxing and mesmerising at the same time.
Would I recommend it? Yes – I want to go again myself.
Hayley Jayne xx
PS. I didn’t take lots of pictures as it didn’t seem like ‘the place’ – hence why I used a pic of me as a rhino.