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HIX Brewer Street


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Dinner here on Friday night with the two Steves, P and C. It's at the west end of Brewer Street, overlooking the hole in the ground that was the Atlantic /Titanic/Regent Palace. (Apparently they've dismantled the Atlantic, Dick's Bar and Chez Cup piece by piece and will be rebuilding them. Hurrah.) There's a solid wood door which is a bit off-putting, but once inside, with the Ivy-esque leaded windows it feels cosy and special. We liked most of the art, especially the up-side down cakes and the fish embedded in perspex. Again, taken in isolation it might sound pretentious but the room comes together as an interesting whole. The tables are too close together, so the waiters do have to squeeze round the more rotund punters such as Steve 2. And the wood chairs are not terribly comfortable.

The wine list is accompanied by a beer list. Steve 1 had the HIX ale served in a pewter tankard, which was a suitably warming choice after a dash through the rain. A quick skim of the wine list (it was P's birthday, so he got to choose, for once) showed some interesting choices from Spain and Portugal, and with reasonable mark-ups. The 2005 Les Terrasses Priorat was £50, compared to £21 from BBR. P chose a magnum of 2004 Geyserville Zinfandel, as we were mostly having game.

Starters: Steve 2 surprised himself by ordering the vegetarian option (squash) and surprised himself still further by declaring it 'delicious'. C had the rabbit brawn, but was rather silent on the choice. Steve 1 had anchovies with beetroot, which I thought was not terribly interesting. The anchovies were good, chunky and oily, but I hate beetroot, so that probably prejudices my view of the dish. P and I had 'heaven and earth', the black pudding with mash and onions. The pudding was wrapped in a light caul of something or another (didn't really want to ask what) and the filling was moist and very spicy. Another 'delicious' verdict, and a good match with the Zin.

Mains: 2 partridges and 2 venison chops, whilst Steve 2 (who is trying again to become less rotund) had the chicken salad. I thought the partridge was rather bland, but the venison chop was the best game I've had this year. About 3-4 inches thick and served pink, the bone gave it deep flavour and the grilling added nice dark crunchy bits. Sides of spinach and frites were fine; I think chunkier chips would have worked better with a menu based mostly around game.

Pudding: Steve 2 had a couple of small pieces of cheese, and looked moderately pleased. Sorry I can't remember what the cheeses were, but it isn't the sort of place you take notes. Steve 1 and I shared the chocolate mousse, which came free-standing on a plate with rather hard chocolate curls. Good, but again not outstanding. P looked rather mournfully at the mousse, having ordered the milk pudding. C was declared the winner having chosen the parkin and icecream which was marvellously rich and gooey.

Bill with a range of coffees, some glasses of champagne and a glass of muscat came to about £380. I thought this was OK value for a lot of excellent food, a large amount of alcohol and efficient, if not terribly friendly, service (they struggled a bit to serve from the magnum). Only very small gripes would be the underwhelming side dishes and the hard chairs. Will go back next time the Steves are paying.

Sarah

Sarah

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Had lunch here today mainly because everyone that has written about it has been positive.

I'm afraid you will have to wait a while for my take on it because we have just walked through the door having had a pretty horrible day of being stuck in various traffic jams, plus a nasty motorway accident. (no not us).

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Well, its quite easy to walk past this fairly nondescript frontage, however the massive wooden door is what to look for. Push hard its not for wimps.

Smiley meet and greet from young Brad who has remembered my table request, and he has done well.

I,m not quite sure that I like the room too much which is dominated by a bar running almost the full length of the room.

I,m really looking forward to this meal, as I have salivated over the menu online and have already decided on what to eat.

We have had some Hix inspired meals before at The Ivy, Le Caprice,and Scotts, not long after he left so we sort of knew what to expect.

The choice is excellent, about fifteen starters, and not a lot less mains, with oysters, fish, offal, beef, pork, etc, etc. In fact something for everyone.

Or, if you are in a party of ten or more you could chose one of the feast menus, starting with the Pigs Feast at £42.50pp, or even the Game bird, Goose, Shellfish, in fact six to choose from.

Perhaps I should mention at this juncture Hix at Selfridges, his third London restaurant is due to open in March 2010

We ordered a bottle of Chilean Merlot and some Thames tap water to get things started. The water arrived quite quickly but the wine took an age, and as I could see it sitting on the bar I was tempted to go and get it and pour it myself, as twenty minutes had now passed.

Finally it was poured, carelessly, dribbling down the side of the glass on to the table, with no concern from our server.

The menu had been changed a bit from the one on the website, so the dishes that I was looking forward to eating were no longer there. Fair enough, I should be used to that, and you are forewarned of course.

We ordered, Blythburgh pork crackling with crab apple sauce, Heaven and Earth, Steamed Sheringham Mussels with perry, Devilled mixed offal with girolles, Beef flank, porter and oyster pie, and as yet undecided, at least one other main plus perhaps a starter if we could sqeeze it in.

We left it to our server as to the order of delivery, and clearly this was a mistake as the mussels, offal, and Heaven and Earth arrived all at once.

Our main concern was that the mussels would go cold whilst we tucked into the other two dishes.

The best of the three was the offal, which was liver and kidney, the girolles giving it an extra depth of flavour, the jus was excellent.

Heaven and Earth is Black pudding sitting on top of some creamy mash, with a sauce that I can not remember. This is a signiture dish and we both enjoyed it, as we did the extremely plump mussels, which were well seasoned and perfectly matched with the perry. The generous sprinking of parsley added to the dish.

I have to mention the bread which was top notch, annoyingly though why is the butter frequently rock hard.

The pork scratchings had not arrived, and we had finished those courses described above, so we asked for them, in case they had forgotten them.

Service was now beginning to grate a bit and finally they arrived, and were worth waiting for.

The Pie arrived next, which was not piping hot, and we guessed it had stood around while we were served the scratchings.

On the website I lusted after the Salt marsh mutton,kidney and oyster pie and this was its replacement

The beef flank was as expected stringy, but thankfully the pie was on the whole tasty, containing two oysters, good pastry, with another oyster, in shell on top as decoration. In fairness it was not above gastropub standard.

The side dish of buttered sprout tops with chestnuts had not arrived by the time we had finished the pie, and this just about finished our will to carry on with the meal.

Whilst all this was going on the couple in front of us both had problems with their meals, he had the Hanger steak with bone marrow, and it seemed he objected to the bone marrow, being breadcrumbed, instead of it left intact in the bone. His companion complained about her dish, although we dont know the reason why.

Both dishes were taken off the bill.

All in all a pretty mixed bag, the service especially was poor to say the least, and this is the second time this weekend that the service has been poor.

In the main I tend to be forgiving, but now I,m not taking prisoners any longer, if service is sub standard, its simple.

NO SERVICE CHARGE.

I love reading Mark Hix,s menus, they are full of the stuff I want to eat, however I do want to feel comfortable when I eat them, but, unfortunately on this occasion there were too many distractions.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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  • 2 weeks later...

You may be interested in reading Telegraph critic Zoe Williams take on the place.

She rates it a glowing nine, will have to give it another go, but the service needs to be a lot better than on our last visit.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/restaurants/6661825/London-Restaurant-Guide-Hix-London-W1.html

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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  • 1 year later...

Dinner at the bar at Hix the other night - started with some extremely good oysters, the best i have had in a very long time - split between natives and rocks at a couple of quid each if i remember rightly. After that we had the Trealy farm charcuterie (which i had taken the night before in the new bar section of Quo Vadis around the corner and was pleased to see it appear on another menu so soon as it is delicious stuff)and the heaven and earth combo of black pudding and apples. We asked if it was possibly just to have some bone marrow as opposed to having as a steak garnish which they very obligingly did, it had been mixed with herbs and breadcrumbs and been baked and hit the spot, coffees and dangerously good chocolate truffles followed. We were there on a thursday and the restaurant was almost full as was the bar downstairs. My Negroni was well made and there was a nice selection of wines by the glass - the price of the bill escapes me i'm afraid, not cheap ( i remember that much!) but you do get excellent quality produce so worth every penny in my humble opinion!!!

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"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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