Back to the Start with Toast to Roast – Hibiscus, London

Every blogger made the decision to start their blog. What we wanted to know was how they decided what would be their first post – and to reflect on something that has been hidden in their archives ever since. Sharking for Chips & Drinks are running the feature ‘Back to the Start’ over the next few weeks where we will introduce you to bloggers from Melbourne, Australia and much further afield. These are all great bloggers so I suggest you subscribe to their blog and follow them on Twitter.

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Here goes.

Why I started and why Hibiscus was first. Two years ago I rediscovered my love of photography when I bought a decent SLR before a family trip back to the UK. On the one trip I took well over a thousand photos and haven’t looked back since. I’ve always loved food and would happily photograph it but the camera on the iPhone 3 was garbage. Just ahead of a business trip back to the UK I upgraded to an iPhone 4S and then had the means of taking good sharp food photographs. But having decent photos meant I wanted to share them so a blog seemed a good way to go. Hibiscus was the first restaurant that I’d booked on that trip so it had to be my first blog post. I used to be uncomfortable taking photos of food but eat so often by myself on business trips that it became one more way of making dining alone more pleasant. I use the Epicure app to take notes so the blog is very much based on what I felt at the time.

I wanted to call the blog – Come to the Bar after a Pete and the Pirates song but the address was taken. I looked for a name that combined food with my love of music but it didn’t work. In the end I went for the Toast to Roast name because it could be seen two ways (From Toast to Roast or A Toast to Roast) and the web address was available.

I prefer to stay anonymous so the photo is my Twitter photo. It is a red squirrel that was helping itself to food that had been put out for the birds at an Osprey viewing platform in Cumbria. Nature photography is another of my enthusiasms. My blog banner is Allonby beach in Cumbria – I’m not sure where the original photo is.

My first post was lunch at Hibiscus in Mayfair

My First Post

1/11/2011

Hibiscus

Toast to Roast - Hibiscus London
Fresh off a flight from Philadelphia, it was straight out for a Friday lunch at Hibiscus, Claude Bosi’s 2-star restaurant on Maddox Street.There seem to be mixed opinions on Hibiscus. Reviews either seem to absolutely love it or don’t get it all. The website looks spectacular and representative menus always include dishes that sound fantastic so it seemed like a great place to kick off an intense culinary tour. Other guests at the lunch sitting were Tom Aikens & David O’Connor (Medlar).
The first thing to arrive at the table was a pork, foie gras & passionfruit dip with pork scratchings as an appetiser when reviewing the menu. This was a good introduction but set the tone for the meal. It was nice but not exciting.
Toast to Roast - Hibiscus London
Starter choice was ravioli of smoked chicken, cardamom, carrot & orange. The presentation on the plate was simple but attractive and it smelt wonderful. Cutting into it, the pasta was perfectly cooked, the smoked chicken was tasty but pockets of cardamom in the chicken was overwhelming at times and that killed the dish for me.
Toast to Roast - Hibiscus London
Game meats do not feature much in US restaurants so November is a great time to travel back to England. The main of Lancashire pheasant, English mustard & artichoke puree, smoked pork belly & barigoule sauce seemed a good choice for the season. As with other courses, the food was very good but not really exciting and ultimately not that memorable. Finding shot in the bird was pleasing because it was the first time it had happened to me, despite regular warnings – the waiter wasn’t impressed with my reaction.
Toast to Roast - Hibiscus London
The chestnut parfait with Sharon fruit sorbet & salad was probably the best course of the lunch. It looked lovely and used ingredients I’d not seen previously on menus to give a mix of nicely complementary flavours and textures. The little bit of risk taken with this dish elevated it above the other courses.
Toast to Roast - Hibiscus London
Overall verdict. 
The food was good, cooked very well but lacked a real wow factor.Would I revisit Hibiscus?  
Don’t know. I want to know why other people really, really rate it but I didn’t. However, there are many other much better places ahead of it to go back to.Overall Rating – 3/5
Hibiscus on Urbanspoon

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