About six months ago I entered a competition with London On The Inside (a must follow site that is super up to date with awesome London news, including events, restaurant openings and really fun London freebies) that I miraculously won (I never win things) and left me with £100 to spend in a restaurant with Velocity, a new app that allows you to browse 100’s of the worlds best restaurants from Michelin-starred classics to hot new openings and neighbourhood gems. With the app you can snap up last minute reservations that you wouldn’t necessarily otherwise have access to. You can pay in app, and it makes it super easy to split to bill with your dining companions. It’s a must have for any tech savvy foodie, and the more friends you invite along to use the app, the more dining credit you can get.
So I had £100 worth of credit from the competition win and a further £20 from a few referrals to spend, and a lot of choice on where to spend it. I was torn between a few amazing restaurants that have been on my ‘to-try’ list for quite some time including Mayfair’s Gymkhana and Sake No Hana, but it was a long standing desire to try out Hix of Soho that lead me to finally make a reservation there.
Hix is always buzzing on a weekend evening and so on the multiple occasions i’ve tried to get a walk in reservation, i’ve been unsuccessful, hence why the experience had elluded me for so long. I’ve tried a few of Mark Hix’s other restaurants, including Hix Oyster & Chophouse in Farringdon and the currently closed (due to a kitchen fire!) Tramshed in Shoreditch and enjoyed both, so was really looking forward to this meal.
The dining room is nothing out of the ordinary if you’re used to the decor preference of Mark Hix. Strange mobiles hang from the ceiling; fish suspended within plastic boxes bob over the bar, which is backed by a mirror taking up the entire wall which, to be frank, could do with one almighty polish.
We started the meal with my absolute favourite bar snack… a bowl of salty, snappy, juicy crackling alongside a cute bowl of apple sauce. The sweetness contrasted with the saltiness from the crackling was mouth-watering. This is a great opening snack, but our real starter was the half dozen oysters with a splash of tabasco and lemon juice. They oysters were a bit hit and miss, with some being creamier and smoother than others, and a few rogue shells joining the meat as we knocked them back, but that aside, these were delicious and fresh.
Hix recently catered an event I attended in Knightsbridge with Gin Mare where they served stunning, large Irish oysters with a splash of gin. An insanely gorgeous combo that I never thought would work but did, with a gentle marriage of flavours from the Mediterranean botanicals within the gin and the salty tang from the oysters and shallot vinegar. While it may be a little uncouth to request a shot of gin aside your oysters, if you fancy something a little different, I’d definitely recommend you give it a try!
For my main course I chose the St Mary’s Bay monkfish tail curry with apple pakoras, served with rice. For me, this curry lacked something. It was in need of either a kick of deep spice or a hit of sweetness. Without both it fell a little flat, though the monkfish was chunky and delicate. The pakoras, crispy and delicately formed, provided the sweetness the dish so desperately craved, but not to a big enough extent that they could be relied upon to rescue this somewhat lifeless curry.
The showstopper came with dessert. The menu says that these puds are for sharing (if you must) and are priced at £4 each so we assumed they’d be quite small and ordered a few. Our waiter was a little taken aback when we ordered three different puds for the pair of us, which is a little odd because as expected, these are small puds! The waiter had recommended the cheesecake and the chocolate mousse, and we chose the rhubarb pie ourselves. We also ordered a few glasses of the Muscat dessert wine, because when you have credit to burn, you really treat yourself!
We were disappointed with both of the waiter’s recommendations which were simply ok, but nothing particularly show-stopping or innovative, however the Rhubarb Pie was a small plate of genius. With a satisfyingly crisp, sweet buttery pastry casing that was structurally sound (until our spoons came crashing down on the lid) and a filling of gorgeously smooth stewed rhubarb that had a subtle sharpness amongst the sweet, almost gooey sauce, everything about it was perfect. The luscious creamy custard glooped over the top, sinking into the cracks and nuzzling into the rhubarb to create a marble of pink and light yellow… rhubarb and custard really are the couple goals we should all aspire towards!
Because these puds are meant for sharing, and because we are both piggies aren’t that good at sharing our food, it meant that this corker of a pud didn’t last long… so we ordered another! (queue another perplexed look from our waiter as he scuttled off to ring through our forth pudding of the evening)
The plate was scraped clean almost within moments of it arriving on our table, like ravenous lions fighting over the last scraps of a gazelle, and the last remaining glugs of creamy custard were poured directly onto our spoons to wash it all down.
This pudding is what made this meal memorable for us, but as a whole the Hix Soho experience was reasonably average. The service was polite, prompt and friendly and the food (up until and including some of the dessert) was good but not particularly earth shattering. The bill came to £131 so with my £120 Velocity credit it was really only the service charge left to pay. We left full and satisfied after a lovely evening ticking off another London restaurant from my ever expanding list, though i’m not sure we’ll be rushing back anytime soon… other than for a few rounds of Rhubarb Pie which we definitely won’t be sharing next time!
If you’d like to try Hix Soho or any number of other wonderful London restaurants, make sure you check out Velocity App and grab yourself some dining credit when you use my code GEORGIP11