Restaurant in London
David Harfield and Simon Burrell gobble up a delicious feast of Jurassic proportions at HIX City.
With the latest instalment in the Jurassic Park series lighting up the silver screens this week, it’s only appropriate that our lunch takes place in a jungle. Well, perhaps ‘jungle’ is a little strong, but the giant ferns and swaying bushes that are dotted in between the terrace areas of the shops and restaurants that take up residency in uber-trendy Devonshire Square make us keep one eye peeled for circling velociraptors as we sit down for lunch at HIX City. Chris Pratt, eat your heart out...
The genial bar manager recommends a couple of gin cocktails to get the afternoon party started and shortly presents us with a gin punch and another unique creation that blends bitters, orange peel and a few other mystery ingredients into an absolutely perfect aperitif.
We take a few sips and sit back to admire our surroundings/listen out for the rhythmic thump of an approaching T-Rex, staring skyward at the weatherproof glass roof that posits the entire area as a gigantic greenhouse protected from the sun’s rays and the rain’s pitter-patter (we note both during the afternoon – gotta love London in June!).
Although we chose to eat al fresco, the main restaurant and Mark’s Bar are inside. The bar, which is located in the basement area, has a cosy club-like feel to it with wooden beams, comfy leather chairs and sofas, whilst the main restaurant upstairs offers a stylish yet relaxed dining atmosphere.
The menu has something for everyone, offering a tempting selection of raw starters for oyster and caviar lovers or something altogether more traditional such as their Atlantic prawn cocktail, which is generous in size and comes with lashings of delicious Marie Rose sauce covering those large Atlantic prawns. The Portland crab rösti, our other choice, had a small mound of shredded Portland crab placed on top of a yellow rösti that is soft enough to be chewy without losing any of its flavour; the dish is topped with pennywort and chives and is a classic summer entrée.
Following our more delicate fishy starters, we thought it only fitting to man up and have some meat for our main course. So a rather juicy and perfectly cooked Chateau fillet steak appears with a healthy wild watercress and shallot salad and a choice of three sauces to try: the good old reliable Béarnaise Sauce, an English Mustard, Dijon style and a celeriac salt with garlic. Our other choice consists of cooled segments of Howbarrow Farm spring lamb, dotted around a Wye Valley asparagus and broad bean salad, a mustard dressing offering a welcome tang while a scattering of mint leaves provide a sharp, nettley yin to the meat’s soft and tender yang. This one is our main lunch dish of the summer so far.
A bottle of 2008 Bourgueil Domaine Des Chesnaies is recommended by our friendly waitress, a light and fruity little number (the wine, not the waitress, although...) that matches very well with both dishes. The wine list is not overly daunting and offers a good selection of labels from France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, South America, Australia and New Zealand as well as Lebanon. There is plenty to choose from by the glass or carafe but we felt the prices were a little on the high side with only one bottle under £30. The cocktails on the other hand are more reasonably priced.
It’s rare that a threesome is quite so blatantly on offer at a fine dining restaurant outside of Amsterdam and especially not for 12 quid, but there it is on the menu; we nervously order ‘A cheesy threesome’ and are pleasantly relieved when generous wedges of Guernsey Goddess, Alex James’s Blue Monday and Montgomery’s Cheddar arrive with the appropriate pairings of Corbrey Farm rhubarb jelly, a Hix oyster ale cake and a healthy dollop of Yorkshire chutney. The gigantic biscuit tin that’s served on the side is a nice touch. And whilst the Crème Brûlée is a favourite and some may be drawn to the ever popular Eton Mess, it was the Bakewell pudding topped with a tasty almond ice cream that also made an appearance on the table to round off a superb lunch along with a shot of excellent espresso each.
We’ll be back for many more long, lazy lunches throughout the summer; provided that we can locate the restaurant amidst the dino-packed bushes, of course.
David Harfield is a freelance food and travel writer and Account Director for Our Man On The Ground, Simon Burrell is Editor
Photographs courtesy of HIX City and Simon Burrell
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Need to book||Advisable|
|Clientele||Locals, business folk and friends|
|Restaurant good for||Couples, Bar scene, Small groups, Large groups, Doing business, Meeting up with friends, Outdoor seating|
|Cost per head||High|
|Dress Code||Smart Casual|
|Dining Options||Lunch, Dinner|
With a cosy club-like atmosphere and what has to be the smallest (but most immaculately clean) toilet cubicles we have ever seen, Mark Hix has created the perfect place in the City to stop by after work for a relaxing cocktail with friends or work colleagues and enjoyable lunch or dinner.
Oysters from £15.96 for half a dozen; Starters from £7.25; Fish Mains from £18.95; Meat, Steaks and Chops from £18.50; Sides from £4.75; Puddings from £6.50; Farmhouse Cheeses from £9. Cocktails start from £9.75; Sparkling Wine from £11 a glass; Wine by the glass from £7.50 or £21.50 for a Carafe. Wine by the bottle from £26.75.
Last updated on 02-07-2015