Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hix Soho

I dined at the new Hix restaurant in Soho earlier this week. We've had our kitchen ripped out and will be forced to eat out or order in over the next couple of weeks, loving it!

So, Hix was an enjoyable experience. I've not eaten at Mark Hix's other restaurants but was expecting good quality traditional English food. This was what I got.

After a mild bout of hysteria upon arriving and seeing Bill Granger sat at a neighbouring table, I regained my composure, selected a bottle of white and perused the menu. We were given some bread, a small white round loaf which was warm. I liked the bread a lot, the butter was a tad too cold, it's always an idea to allow it to come too room temperature in my opinion, it's better spreadable.

We began proceedings with the Blythburgh pork crackling with apple sauce which I thought was very good, incredibly crunchy, we munched away very loudly. It was not too oily at all but perhaps lacked a little flavour, there wasn't much of a meaty taste. The apple sauce was perfectly tart yet sweet and was more of a puree really, there was no chunks of apple.

For starter I chose the Cod tongue, I asked the waitress what she would recommend, this was her choice second only to the Heaven and Earth, a black pudding dish. She chose well for me. The cod was meaty and delicate, served with some fantastically flavoursome girolles, it was an ideal start to the meal.

Thomas' starter of crab with a breadcrumb topping was beautifully presented in the shell on a bed of seaweed, I preferred this to the cod but Thomas (not usually so easily perturbed) said the strong smell put him off somewhat. I thought it was pretty near perfect, served warm with a high brown to white meat ratio which is unusual.

My main course was a triumph, it was the thing that immediately jumped out at me when I checked out the menu online, I had the salt marsh mutton, kidney and oyster pie. It was perfectly sized, served in an individual pie dish topped with an oyster in the shell. There was a higher density of mutton, which suited me, and it was meltingly tender, the kidney was fairly mild in flavour and was not the slightest but rubbery as it can be if not cooked properly. The pastry was flaky, wonderfully buttery and prettily golden. I had some sprout tops on the side which were vibrantly green and delightfully strong and irony in flavour. I would highly recommend this dish, it was the star of the evening for me.

Thomas' main was the hanger steak with baked bone marrow. He liked this less the more he ate, it was very rich but the mouthful that I sampled was divine. Perfectly cooked medium rare and it looked nice with the marrow presented in a halved bone. Thomas chose sides of fries and some creamed spinach both of which were excellently executed.

We shared a dessert of bramley apple pie with custard which was okay, it didn't wow me like my pie had but it was a mightily generous portion, it would have been way too much for me. I liked that the custard came in a jug on the side for pouring as you wish, it annoys me when it comes poured liberally for you.

Some of our neighbouring diners fared less well, the gentleman to my right left almost all of his sausage, and told the waiter that he didn't in the least enjoy it. His companion raved about her cheese course.

The couple to my left chose the spectacularly elaborate looking trio of birds which put her off so much that they promptly left upon it's arrival (she was pregnant, and it was served very pink).

In all, I enjoyed the experience but I was left feeling rather underwhelmed by the whole thing. I feel at almost £60 a head there is better value available elsewhere but the room is lovely with low lighting, lots of mirrors and the bar downstairs is really rather fancy, a big open plan room encouraging lounging with plenty of low level seating and cushions. I would come back here and I think Hix will make a success of this new location.

66-70 Brewer Street, Soho

Hix on Urbanspoon


Laissez Fare said...

Hmm...a bit of a mixed bag, it seems. Can't say I'm chomping at the bits to go and try it after your review...think I will try out Hix's Smithfield restaurant first - went by there after a meal at St John the other week and it seemed like they have a very cool Sunday lunch service where everyone sits down to eat at the same time and you can read the papers if you turn up early...or something like that, according to the very pleasant woman who spoke to us.

Boo said...

Ooh that sounds much more like it. It's a shame because Soho is so convenient for me. I've read many good things about the Oyster and Chop House, think that seems like a safer bet.

Kerri said...

The food you ate all looks and sounds lovely but it seems you need to choose carefully. Hopefully things will improve as they settle in.

I love the presentation of the pie and the bone marrow.

Boo said...

Hi Kerri - presentation was good, the pie was the definite highlight but I think overall there's something not quite right, hopefully just down to the newness of the place.

Helen @ World Foodie Guide said...

I really liked my meal at Oyster & Chop House, although I thought my hare was a bit measly for the price. All the other dishes were excellent though and I've put Hix Soho on my wishlist because it's sooo close to my office!

Gourmet Chick said...

Interested to check this out even after a bit of a mixed review from you. Great excuse for eating out as well - kitchen renos!

Dan said...

Interesting review Boo, I visited the bar downstairs last night and had a rather nice cocktail custom made for me based on my drink likes and dislikes, which was pretty cool. (was pretty quiet when I was in there),I saw Mark Hix plumping up the cushion on a chair believe it or not. I also sampled the Pork Crackling as a bar snack, (You can't drink in the bar unless ordering an item off the food menu due to license restrictions apparently), I thought they were bloody nice - perfect to munch on whilst having a drink. Seems you had a bit of a hit and miss experience, which is a shame - I wonder whether things will settle down a bit as it hasn't been open that long and he has such a good reputation. Hope so anyway, as I really fancy eating there.

Boo said...

Helen - I saw your post on the Oyster house and your meal look fantastic, I'm keen to try that and compare the 2 venue actually.

GC - I'm having such a good week eating out to be honest, long may the work in the kitchen continue! It's a mixed bag at Hix I think, i've read some rave and some ranting review of the place.

Dan - that cocktail sounds good and I agree the crackling was excellent. Nice to see they man himself preening the place!
I'd perhaps leave it another week or 2 and they may have ironed out the creases.

meemalee said...

When I was having my new kitchen put in, I pretty much just ate crisps for a week :)

Boo said...

Haha - I'm doing pretty well in comparison. Have put on about a stone though!