Fillet steak on the boneMore pictures
While I’m assuming that Mark doesn’t cook here all that much anymore, this being his 6th personally branded restaurant in London, the name Hix immediately fills my mind with England. English produce, foraged ingredients and good big flavours. Situated around the corner from Smithfields market Hix Oyster and Chop house has been on my radar since it originally opened with the very meaty menu something that put it in the Dad list, places to take your Dad. Unfortunately he can’t come here now but I popped along hoping for a nice meat based feast.
The location is going to somewhat reflect on the clientele and indeed when I came in there were a large number of suits and business dinners; but as the evening progressed their was also a pleasing number of ‘normal’ diners too. I had reserved a table but the room is cosy and the smaller tables are rather intimate so I thought I would instead have a seat at the bar where I order a British pint which comes served in a silver tankard. It’s a lovely thing to hold and rather a difficult thing to put back down without it making a pleasing metallic thud. I can imagine that on a busier night with the bar packed and the restaurant full there is a beautiful atmosphere harking back to classic old school medieval feasts with multiple thuds of tankers hitting the bar echoing over conversations – at least it would be if filled with lots of me’s. To go with my pint I couldn’t resist some pork crackling which as expected was super crisp, salty and lovingly fresh, I think I was lucky enough to get a fresh batch.
One thing I must say about the menu here is that it comes full with goodies, it took me quite a bit of time deciding on what to have. Oysters are clearly prominent as well as dishes containing veal, steak, salmon but very few vegetables (note – taking a vegetarian here isn’t going to please). I went for cider battered prawns, a fat prawn coated in a cider laced batter and fried to perfection. Though fried the taste of the sharp cider in the batter really came through and provided an added twist to what I thought would be a simple but tasty dish. One thing – I took a bite through the first apple battered nugget and died a little as I noticed the prawn hadn’t been de-veined. I ate all the rest in one and they all tasted great but my enjoyment had been a little bit tainted.
For mains the menu was again full of choices from seasonal game, beef and oyster pie and a large choice of grilled meats, which, if asked are presented at the table on a huge meat board before ordering. As I had a taste for meat I decided to go for one of the steaks, a 300g bone-in fillet steak. After eating a 1kg steak all steaks sound small but this was a good size, brought many a jealous glance and even a few verbal comments of approval from fellow bar-eaters; it was also cooked just as I wanted and cooking on the grill gave it a perfect char which only added to the taste.
I didn’t have a pudding as I was a bit full and a little disappointed that there were none of the classic puds I was expecting; nothing steamed, no sticky toffee or chocolate sauces. Maybe I was just there on an unlucky day…
I went to Hix expecting lovingly cooked and market-fresh meat and some classic English dishes and was actually surprised at the number of interesting dishes on the menu, certainly enough to warrant repeat visits when I’m in that part of town. This isn’t a place for dainty food-lovers expecting small portions, this is a place to go when you want to eat and eat well. Even if I’m not hungry I can see myself in there for some perfect pork crackling and a pint from a silver tankard, something I may need to buy a couple for so I can recreate the experience at home.Tweet