Few things beat a random, middle of the week day off spent doing very little other than having a long, leisurely lunch somewhere posh.
Hibiscus -- Michelin-starred and recently transported from button-cute Ludlow to snooty Mayfair -- fits the bill perfectly with its unbelievable £25 three course lunchtime set menu.
Inside, it is surprisingly small and very brown - right down to the browny golden hat-shaped glass plates on the place settings. Quite a few of the customers seem to be regulars, warmly greeted by the friendly and numerous waiting staff.
First comes a freebie of soup, served in an egg shell, with the runny yolk nestling underneath the delicate vegetable (I think it was asparagus) liquid. It looks stunning inside the huge white circle of the plate and taste brilliant save for the tiny bit of runny egg white left on the yolk.
There is also bread with very creamy butter.
The carpaccio is as good as any I've had, and I also enjoy the richness of the mango ice cream -- though perhaps not in the same mouthful as the meat.
A giant ravioli (raviolo?) is plump with delicate cod brandade with (luckily!) not very detectable liquorish root.
Next is Cornish silver mullet with crispy skin and
suffolk guniea fowl stuffed with mushroom with creamy mash.
I don't spot the advertised douglas fir, though it's probably just as well as I am not sure a 20 to 100 metre tree would fit in the restaurant, let alone on the plate.
For desert, we have an Italian shortbread with strawberries, strawberry gel, curd cheese ice cream... and an utterly amazing chocolate creation.
With a couple of aperetifs and a bottle of wine (a very nice Torrontes for just £16.75), the bill comes to £5 less than I paid earlier that week for an utterly average two course lunch for two in Chez Gerard.
Hibiscus, 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA; Tel. 0207 629 2999www.hibiscusrestaurant.co.uk