Opened in 2011, the former food blogger’s restaurant achieved global recognition for its uncompromising approach to the sourcing of fine produce, alongside the Swedish-born chef’s ability to create dishes of great clarity and originality.
It has held a Michelin star since 2012 and was a regular on Restaurant magazine’s list of the top 100 restaurants in the UK and on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 51-100 list, an impressive feat for a restaurant helmed by a chef that had barely set foot in a professional kitchen (although as the founder of the respected blog Gastroville.com he was an expert on ingredients, cooking and restaurants).
Speaking to BigHospitality, Jonsson said that he had only planned to operate the restaurant for three years and, after eight years in business, the time had come to call it a day.
Jonsson will continue to run his bakery - which moved to a larger site in Vauxhall early last year - supplying some of London’s best restaurants with bread and viennoiseries (clients include Claude Bosi at Bibendum and Corbin & King).
But he has ruled out a return to fine dining, citing the psychological and physical toll of running Hedone alongside a marked drop in covers over the last twelve months.
“The place is very reliant on me being there, which has been very tough on me personally,” says Jonsson, who runs Hedone with his partner Aurelie Jean-Marie-Flore. “To be honest, I don’t know why we have gone on for this long.
“The last year or so has been disastrous financially, the last four months especially which I would describe as dreadful. The margin has been okay. The problem has been the number of covers. We’re not the only ones. Ask any high-level restaurant and they will say that business is not what it once was.”
Hedone won a Michelin star just 15 month’s after opening and received several glowing reviews from high profile critics including a five-star write-up from the late AA Gill.
But despite this early recognition of Jonsson’s talent, the guide never saw fit to give Hedone a second star, a decision questioned by many in the industry given the degree to which the restaurant evolved over the years.
In 2015, Jonsson made radical changes to the restaurant including halving the number of covers, scrapping the menu and reducing the number of services per week from eight to six. The changes were designed to allow Jonsson and his team to use even more sophisticated techniques.
“I stopped hoping for two stars some time ago. Of course it would have been good. But I don’t think it would have helped that much, there are two-star dining rooms in London that are not fully booked,” he says.