Mikael Jonsson to make 'radical changes' to Hedone

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Mikael Jonsson is introducing new reduced working hours for staff as part of 'radical changes' to Hedone
Mikael Jonsson is introducing new reduced working hours for staff as part of 'radical changes' to Hedone
Mikael Jonsson will make radical changes to his celebrated Hedone restaurant next month including halving the number of covers, scrapping the menu and reducing the number of services per week from eight to six.

Hedone is set to close on 10 October and reopen on 22 October with a remodelled dining room that will seat 18 on tables and a further four on stools overlooking the restaurant’s open kitchen. The interior won’t change much but some of the furniture is being replaced. 

The Swedish food-blogger-turned chef restaurateur says the changes will allow him and his team to use more sophisticated techniques and make the food at the West London establishment more elaborate. 

“We’ve been planning this for some time,” said Jonsson. “When we first opened we could not have done this because I had no reputation and no customers. Now we have a large base of returning customers that understand our approach to cooking. The spirit of the restaurant will remain the same but halving the number of plates going through the kitchen will allow us to take the food to the next level.” 

Opened in 2011, the Michelin-starred restaurant goes to extreme lengths to secure top quality produce and is currently ranked number 60 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants' 51-100 list​. 

Reduction of hours

Jonsson and business partner Aurelie Jean-Marie-Flore are one of several restaurant owners to reduce the amount of hours their staff work including Sat Bains from Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham and London-based restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King. 

“Recruitment has always very difficult for us but things came to a head this spring. It was virtually impossible to employee anyone. The chefs are going to be very happy with their working hours so we’re expecting this to have a big impact on both recruitment and retention,” says Jonsson, who will open the restaurant from Tuesday to Saturday in the evening with lunch served only on Saturday. 

When Hedone re-opens it will propose to its customers two different tasting ‘menus’, though neither will be written down. Jonsson - who already refuses to publish a sample menu on his website because it changes so regularly - has yet to decide how much these will cost but anticipates the prices at the restaurant to go up slightly with one menu priced at a little under £100 and one just over. 

Turnover

He predicts that the restaurant’s turnover will dip slightly but that its bottom line will remain roughly the same due to savings in front of house staff costs. The restaurant’s successful downstairs bakery operation - which sells 1,500 loaves a week to some of London’s best known restaurants - will help to make-up any possible shortfall. 

The change will also bring about a significant revision to Hedone’s policy on dietary requirements.

Vegetarians will no longer be catered for along with a number of other 'awkward' dietary requirements that force the kitchen to make significant changes to dishes.

“We are specialised in doing certain things. We are not a vegetarian restaurant and - with a couple of exceptions - I am not especially proud of the dishes we’ve created for the vegetarians that come here. It’s not fair on them and it’s not fair on us to only show them 50 per cent of what the kitchen is capable of,” said Jonsson.

Related topics: Business, Venues, People, Restaurants

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