Hibiscus, Mayfair, London Reviews

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“Probably best to avoid Hibiscus. ”


written by on 24/01/2011

Probably best to avoid Hibiscus.

I had dinner in the private dining room with 6 friends just before Christmas. Whilst the food was great, the service from the sommelier was the worst I have experienced and verges on dishonesty.

The minor issue was the water that was provided - 7 people were charged for 19 bottles of water. I doubt that we drank nearly 3 bottles each on top of 13 bottles of wine.

However, my main gripe is what I consider to be a flagrant breach of the trust that exists between the sommelier and the host.

The wines chosen for the dinner were all priced between £74 and £90, i.e. less than £100 (with the exception of the a dessert wine at £140). Later in the evening, I asked the sommelier for some additional wines and suggested he recommended some new world wine based on the sort of wines we had been drinking so far (i.e. style and price point). I was shocked when I checked the bill and discovered the resulting wines poured for us were £160, £175 and £325. Clearly, I acknowledge that I should have asked the price before agreeing to any of the wines, but in my years in restaurants of this calibre, the sommelier has always picked up on the subtle cues around what style of wine the guest would prefer, and most importantly the amount he would like to pay.

So a good restaurant spoiled by poor management and opportunistically ripping off the guest.

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“I visited Hibiscus a month ago and had a really...”


written by on 05/01/2011

I visited Hibiscus a month ago and had a really disappointing experience - I emailed the restaurant the week after to convey this and, three weeks later, I still haven't had an acknowledgement of my email or the problems I had before and during the dinner, which slightly sums up the experience I had. It is very expensive, but I'd be happy to pay the cost if I thought I had got the level of service and dining experience that merits michelin stars. My unanswered email to the restaruant is below.


I recently came to Hibiscus with my partner and was really quite disappointed and I wanted to pass this onto you as it seems this is the only method of contact on your website. Please pass this email on to the manager of the restaurant.

Before arriving, Hibiscus had great reviews from friends, however I had a slightly disappointing experience, which was missing a lot of simple touches you'd expect of a michelin starred restaurant.

Firstly, on arrival we were asked about allergies as you don't get to choose your menu at the weekend. I cannot eat coconut and passed this on. The first thing brought to the table was an amuse bouche with coconut cream, which my partner had to eat for me.

Secondly we decided to have the recommended wine with the 6 course tasting menu we had chosen. However the method for choosing what wine we had seemed very disorganised and there was no communication about how much this might cost. My partner chose to have five wines and was asked how he would like to split this and he chose 2 red, 2 white and one pudding wine. However no one mentioned that we would only be given 1 red meat course and so he was given 2 wines with one course. I had one glass of red with the course - however at that point the sommelier pointed to the second glass my partner had and said that " You would probably prefer that one". Not exactly what you want to hear, is it? And yes, I did prefer the other wine so the question is if the sommelier already knew that why was i given the first one?

I also booked online well in advance and 2 days before the booking a member of staff called me to take a card number to 'secure the booking'. I was quite surprised that this wasn't asked for earlier and questioned why they were calling at such a late date. The member of staff who called was not helpful on the phone - for example there was not even any communication given about what the penalty for not showing was and could have handled the situation a lot better. If this is a company policy it should be clearly on your website and when booking online. It puts people's backs up and if your staff can't handle questions on the phone then they should either not be given that task or walked through how to handle clients.

Finally, I appreciate the idea behind the "mystery tasting menu" - that you are shown the range of food available at the restaurant and potentially experiment with new foods, but spare a thought for the pair sitting next to another couple who get all the courses you wished you could order. Sometimes you want to know what you are eating as the anticipation and choosing of it is part of the experience. If, coupled with the fact that no one is able to tell you how much you are spending and there are issues with the service both before and while you are there, it ends up as a disappointing evening that should have been a great treat.

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“We were there yesterday, 27th March 2010. Both had the...”


written by yavuzmutlu on 28/03/2010

We were there yesterday, 27th March 2010. Both had the set £48 Saturday lunch menu, which includes 3 courses, a glass of wine, coffee and petit fours. The setting and the general atmosphere was excellent, very calm, relaxing, quiet, unpretentious. We both had the ballotine of quail with fois gras for starters which was good, but then that was down to the fois gras, the rest of it was a bit bland and tasteless. My wife's main was the fish, which she thought was alright, but very salty. My issue was with my main course, the roast blade of Somerset beef, white asparagus, leeks and hay butter. We knew the beef was going to be pink, and I like it that way, so that was not the problem. It was so chewy however, that the first mouthfull was impossible to break up, and I am afraid I had to discreetly put it back on the plate. I covered it up with the second of two equally stringy and inedible leek pieces. The plate was luke warm, as was the meat. I tried to find some tender parts, testing it with the steak knife provided, and managed a few very small bits, and left the rest. What I did eat was very tasteless. Even with the help of the Hollandais it was bland. When the waitress realised the problem, she offered me the lamb dish, and said that it would be ready in just a few minutes, but by then my appetite had totally vanished, and I turned her kind offer down. No-one came to see me about it afterwards, which I am a little surprised with, considering the status of the establishment. There was no choice for the glass of wine, except for white or red. We both had the red, I can't remember exactly what she said it was, apart from being a Chianti Classico, and it was excellent. For dessert, we had the coconut parfait, lychees and rose water sorbet. My wife liked it, and I hated it. Perhaps by then my judgement was being a touch biased. But, please don't take my word for it, go and sample it for yourselves, if you have £112 to throw away, and see if you agree with me. The tastes thrown together in the parfait just do not go together. Nor the textures. They do not complement each other, in fact they clash. We were in Paris recently, and ended up going to a particular restaurant three times, because the food was so tasty, and I still savour the taste of all we had to eat. When we left Hibiscus yesterday, there was nothing there which we had experienced to make me want to go back. The wine and the fois gras, I can buy myself. The rest, zero, empty, nothing. Even the petit fours, four pieces, one fudge and three chocolate pieces, white, milk and dark, with various fillings, which again simply do not go together. I appreciate taste is very subjective, but this is not the first restaurant of this calibre we have been to. The restaurant which replaced Hibiscus in Ludlow, La Becasse, for example, is excellent. We ate there four times, and on every occasion it has knocked us out. I can't wait to go back. What I really want to know is, does the chef not taste the food he serves? How can he not realise that the meat is inedible? Also, how do the Michelin judges award two stars to this place?

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