Hix Soho

Posted on Sunday, 27th December 2009

My first impression of the recently opened Hix Soho, the latest offering from celebrity chef Mark Hix on Brewer St, was that it didn’t have a door. If you’ve been to the restaurant you’ll probably understand what I mean. But it obviously does as there were people inside – I could see them – but how they got in was a bit of a mystery to me. Inquiries made of the smokers standing outside the restaurant revealed that the door was in fact the colossal piece of wood (very tall and very wide) with no door handle anchored near the Hix sign. But no amount of pushing would budge it. “You need to push harder” the smokers advised. Obviously all those body pump classes at the gym hadn’t helped. I duly pushed harder and finally the behemoth gave. Clearly, you need some muscles to eat at Hix Soho.

But once I got in, I discovered to my delight that the place looked absolutely fab. Glamorous mirrors with an art deco touch line the length of the elegant bar which stands along one side of the room. The restaurant is finished in black and white, the tables are made from a warm walnut, and the lighting is fantastic. It’s soft, cozy and sexy, all at the same time. Only the various bits of ‘art’ hanging from the ceilings seem a bit odd. I couldn’t work out what they are meant to represent, although I am sure they are very expensive. This place dazzled and no doubt it’s been designed to cater to the well-heeled clientele.

We started with a dish of devilled lamb kidneys on boxty bread (a type of pancake) (£8.50) which was gorgeous. The kidneys, still pink, were firm and succulent with lots of flavour. The sauce, a beautifully reduced concoction of beef stock, red wine and cayenne pepper had lots of kick. It was finished with parsley and butter, which added further aroma and richness to it. The boxty bread also gave the dish a touch of sweetness. This was an excellent starter and highly enjoyable.

Devilled lamb kidneys

Devilled lamb kidneys

Herring milts (soft roe) on toast with capers and parsley (£6.75) were dressed with a hint of lemon juice and olive oil. The milts, pan-fried, were meltingly tender and worked well with the lemon, capers and parsley. The dish was well balanced and light, and the toast, which had been delicately charred, provided a rustic touch.

Herring milts

Herring milts

Webster’s fish fingers with chips and mushy peas (£14.50) were very tasty. (The dish is named after Stephen Webster, the jewellery designer, who created the flashing neon fingers at the top of the stairs which lead to the equally glam basement bar). The fish was perfectly cooked, moist, and coated with a fine layer of crispy breadcrumbs. But while it was delicious, it was a little under seasoned. The peas, finished with mint, were fantastically fragrant and the chips were morish. This might have been fish fingers, but they were very good fish fingers other than for the under seasoning.

Webster's fish fingers

Webster's fish fingers

Flat iron steak (from the shoulder) with baked bone marrow (£16.50), served pink, was extremely tender and flavoursome. The steak had been browned beautifully to give it a crispy outer layer. However it was again a little under seasoned. The bone marrow mixture of marrow, crumbs and herbs was pleasant, but the flavour of the marrow itself was overpowered by too many bread crumbs.

Flat iron steak

Flat iron steak

Breast of veal with celeriac mash (£18.75) came from Bocaddon Farm in Cornwall. Given the recent hoo-ha surrounding Hélène Darroze and how she was using Dutch veal – despite the fact that her waiters claimed that the veal was British – I was impressed that Hix was sourcing his veal from British suppliers.

This was a mixed dish for me. The veal had been rolled and braised slowly for about three hours and then sliced. The first few bites gave way to an incredible taste sensation – one of moist, soft, tender meat flavoured with thyme and married with a rich red wine reduction. But while the first few bites were wondrous (no doubt helped by the layer of fat that wrapped itself around the meat), as you neared the centre of the roll, the meat became slightly drier. I still considered this to be a very good dish, but the texture of the meat changed overtime and it became slightly less enjoyable. The celeriac mash was well made. It was creamy with lots of celeriac flavour, but personally, celeriac is not my favourite ingredient for mash.

Breast of Bocaddon veal

Breast of Bocaddon veal

We had no room for dessert which was very unusual for me, and I suspect that the recent excesses of the silly season was the reason for this. But I am sure the dessert would have been every bit as excellent as the rest of the food that we had. This was classy, skilful and refined British cooking. There was a great display of finesse, and from memory, the food was tastier than Hix’s Oyster and Chop House in Farringdon. The service was pleasant and reasonably efficient, but on occasions we were disappointingly kept waiting while some of the staff congregated in the back corner of the restaurant to chat.

Nevertheless this restaurant is a winner (in both design and food). It’s not necessarily cheap (a fillet steak will set you back about £35), but Hix Soho is well worth trying – if you can find your way through the front door.

And finally, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Happy eating!

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Summary information

Food rating: [xrr rating=4/5]
Service rating: [xrr rating=3/5]

Price range: £28 to £53 for 3 courses.
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Website: http://www.hixsoho.co.uk/

Hix on Urbanspoon

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7 Responses to “Hix Soho”

  1. kenr Says...

    thanks for the hix review
    funny place, ever overwhelms but i seem to return
    i like the smithfield one more
    wish they had better wine
    thanks for so many great reviews this year
    hae a great new years!!!

  2. Wild Boar Says...

    Celeriac mash sounds odd… the bone marrow mix sounds awesome on paper, shame it didn’t work out so well in reality.

    Hix is getting a lot of attention from the blogosphere lately.

  3. Krista Says...

    I hate that door! Love the fish fingers though.

  4. A Girl Has to Eat Says...

    Hi Ken,
    Thx for reading.

    Hi Wild Boar,
    Yes it’s received lots of blogger visits. It’s the kind of place that’s stirring up lots of interest.

    Hi Krista,
    Yes that door is out there!

  5. kenr Says...

    i really hope they change the marrow…i think it could be so much better
    smoked marrow with beef at the ledbury!!! thats a dish.

  6. A Girl Has to Eat Says...

    Hi Ken
    I havent been to the ledbury in a while. I’m probably due a visit soon.

  7. Hix, London « she, the epicuriousgirl. Says...

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