HIX - Soho
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About this restaurant
Mark Hix is one of the few ‘celeb’ chefs who really cuts the mustard when it comes to delivering great food in a convivial and clubby atmosphere. Hix Soho has a buzzy, boho vibe behind the heavy wooden door, literally from the ground up: basement Mark’s Bar features eccentric cocktails designed by cult mixologist Nick Strangeway, Hix’s own-brand Dorset beer and Tonix white wine. Young British Artists hang on the walls or from the ceiling in the main restaurant - their work, that is, not the artists although little would surprise here. You don’t come for quiet, intimate rendezvous moments: it’s like joining a brash and boozy Soho party where your fellow guests are already several sheets to the wind.
The keynote is seasonal British cooking built around seasonal British ingredients. Both technique and produce play their part in delivering dishes that confidently combine comfort with clever culinary twists. Prices are on the high side - a meal averages £45-55 without drink - but it’s excellent value for money. A pre and post theatre menu and the weekend menu is worth exploring if the times suit: two courses for £17.50, for example, might feature potted smoked salmon ‘Hix cure’ with soft-boiled quail’s eggs and Brookfield farm veal dumpling Savoy cabbage. The choice, quality and price are hard to beat.
Afternoon tea is served 3pm-5.30pm which is a real find when needing to refuel after a Regent Street spree: think toasted crumpets, Welsh rabbit, Amedei chocolate mousse and teas by The Rare Tea Company.
The menu changes regularly: this winter saw dishes such as fillet of Peterhead coley with Barra cockles and sea purslane (£19.25), roast redleg partridge with buttered curly kale and rowan jelly, and the fabulous roast Wooley Park Farm free-range chicken with baked garlic sauce (for two). The vegetarian choice is short but intriguing and there’s a wide choice of bar ‘snax’ ranging from Mottra sustainable oscetra cavira with hot buttered toast (£60) to Blythburgh pork crackling (£3.25), quail’s egg shooters with Bath Pig chorizo) and - how post-modern ironic is this? - chips with curry sauce.
The website clearly states Hix supports sustainable fishing, and provides a link to the Marine Stewardship Council website.
Although Mark Hix now has numerous outlets, the Soho branch is perhaps the flagship. As such, it provides a welcome template for his other operations.
Manx Queenies are diver-caught, haddock is Scottish, sea bass is generally line-caught off the South-West coast, the ‘De Beauvoir’ salmon comes from Loch Duart, and they only use sustainable Mottra farmed caviar.
We welcome the ability of staff to inform customers about the sources of the seafood - if waiting staff don’t know what they’re serving, then the customer has even less chance of knowing just what it is they are eating. By briefing staff twice daily on fish the restaurant ensures it can provide customers with all the information they need about sustainable sourcing.
The restaurant sets high standards and is a fine example that we hope others will follow.
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