Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
All rights reserved
The irascible and debonair Travelling Gourmet visits a 2 Michelin Star restaurant off celebrated Oxford Street in…
MERRY olde England’s capital, London. On a small and peaceful street I found Hibiscus Restaurant, to be warmly greeted by mon ami, cheerful Masterchef Claude Bosi who is French, but has made England his home for umpteen years. His restaurant is cosy and unpretentious despite its ‘haute cuisine’ status. As a general rule, many Michelin Star restaurants like 2 Michelin Star Le Cinq in Paris and 3 Michelin Star La Pergola in Roma, are veritable imposing and opulent temples of gastronomy. Nevertheless, Hibiscus has that striking cool, understated elegance and comfort in its decor and ambience. Surreal expressionistic artworks dot the walls while a grand glittering circular chandelier impresses. You may know that the Hibiscus flower is the National flower of Malaysia and Hawaii. The edible Hibiscus flower is different from the decorativebright red flowers you see in Hawaii, and is called the “Roselle”. In Malaysia, a dynamic company called Roselle Farms are producing lots of Hibiscus products including jams, syrups and more.
In a flash ‘amuse buche’ was presented. A very appetising assortment of Caucassin Almonds, Green Olives & Cashew Nuts in salt and vinegar whet my appetite for more goodies…The bread was akin to the Chinese steamed ‘man tou’ and together with the butter from Shropshire…tasted like the Shanghainese ‘Xiao Loong Pow”. Quite unexpected but very nice indeed!
A shot glass appeared unobtrusively…Hibiscus Soda & Elderflower Foam. The service is very good with an all French staff. Wine was served by the sommelier…2011 Chateau le Puy Marie-Cecile. A deep gold colour with hints of amber with a striking primary nose of musk Hami melon. The finish was medium to long with hints of spice. i know the owner of Chateau le Puy and they craft very good organic wines.
OMG! I love sweetbread, especially done with mustard and sorrel sauce a la Chef Claude. So incredibly plump, succulent and tasty…
Scallop was served…just pink and just a little bit raw in the middle with a lovely savoury Pork Pie sauce! It was a masterful combination of mouthwatering flavours and textures.
My Fontedictor red wine had 95% Carignan and 5% Grenache. Unfiltered and no sulphur also, its rich style and full body redolent with sour cherries and an earthy finish with hints of leather & cedarwood made it a perfect foil with…Confit of Grouse caressed with Curry Sauce. Yes, I was in the UK at the right time. Since the Game Act of Parliament 1831, the Grouse Season starts yearly on the glorious 12th of August to December 10. I love Grouse and game!
GROUSE (Lagopus Lagopus) is a totally wild bird that cannot be artificially reared due to its unique dependence on heather moorland. I love Grouse but I must warn you that it is, like Durian, an acquired taste. The meat is very fine in texture but the taste is very strong reminiscent of pork liver…and the dark meat form the drumstick and thigh has a slightly bitter aftertaste which some may find unpleasant. My grouse lay seductively on a bed of mushroomsand Boulangere potatoes…and I tucked in with my Onyx handled Languoile knife. The jus and sauce were ‘superbe’. Chewing happily, I bit on something hard…it was a 2mm diameter lead pellet from a shotgun cartridge. I still keep it to this day in a small bottle. Finding buckshot in game always means good luck Ha! Ha!
Desserts are really good and with a healthy touch, that is, they are flavoursome withour being overly sweet.
29 Maddox Street
London W1S 2PA
Tel: 020 7629 2999
To be continued…