Some restaurants are fun, casual affairs where you might drop in to grab a quick bite after work; Hibiscus is not one of those places, writes Colette Doyle. You would no more grab a bite here than you would hope to snap up a bargain at a Gucci emporium, for dining at Hibiscus is a sacred experience.
There is no unseemly squabbling over who is going to choose what at an establishment such as Hibiscus; Chef Claude Bosi has taken all the guesswork out of interpreting any arcane menu descriptions by devising a truly outstanding tasting menu.
It begins with a tribute to the restaurant’s designation: the Hibiscus Flower & Pineapple Soda cocktail comes served with a mini-selection of mega-enticing amuse-bouches that includes peanuts and cashews coated in moreish malt vinegar and tangy cheese balls alongside an intriguing purée of liquorice and lime.
Smoked green asparagus with confit orange and black truffle purée served as an appetiser is delicious but vies for my attention with hand-dived Isle of Skye scallops that come with pork pie sauce (yes, you did read that correctly) and a gel of pink grapefruit. I’m a fan of scallops anyway, so don’t need much convincing to consume these with gusto in as elegant a fashion as I can muster given my classy surroundings.
Cornish Bream is up next, served with morels (scrumptious wild mushrooms) and a fantastic concoction of Kaffir lime, tarragon and, somewhat bizarrely, coffee. Then it’s the star turn, my favourite dish of the entire evening: Adour foie gras inventively skewered on a liquorice stick and served with Nashi pear – sublime.
There’s still one more course before dessert and that’s guinea fowl: succulent and moist, it is accompanied by an appealing quartet of kumquat, white asparagus, mint and coriander.
Not a restaurant to do things by half, dessert is a two-tiered affair: first up are Gariguette strawberries (by now, you may have sensed that the origin of food is almost as important to Chef Bosi as the preparation) with celeriac and Szechuan pepper; this may sound like an odd pairing but works a treat. Lastly, the richness of the tarte au chocolat is offset beautifully by the addition of Indonesian basil ice cream.
The standard of food and service here, along with its team of seriously knowledgeable sommeliers (each course is perfectly matched with a complementary wine), plus the availability of a private dining room for hire, all mark out Hibiscus as the kind of restaurant capable of impressing even the most demanding of executives.
Hibiscus, 29 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PA
020 7629 2999; hibiscusrestaurant.co.uk