Well, it’s only taken approximately 12months of working pretty much right next door to Hix restaurant in Farringdon, to actually sort my act out and get in there for a meal.
Having been informed, by a reliable, carnivorous, source that they serve up one of the best steaks in London, I’m surprised I have managed to restrain myself for this long.
As appears to be the choice sitting, we booked ourselves into Hix for a weekday lunch. Not that they don’t serve dinner of course, however on reflection I must note that I personally found that the cold, stark, tiled decor might feel a little too sterile for a nice cosy evening meal, so probably would recommend sticking to a daytime visit.
We elected to sit inside for lunch (I’ve often been bemused at the sight of people dining in Hix’s ‘outdoor seating area’ – aka: a couple of tables on the pavement next to the bins behind Fabric nightclub and overlooking the drains). As our party of 5 settled down to wish a colleague farewell on her imminent departure to pastures new, we perused the menu.
Having received this notable recommendation from my carnivorous friend, I needed not to look at the menu for long and decided straight away that I was going to choose the fillet steak on the bone. My colleagues all ordered their dishes which included 2 other steak choices, a fillet of Newlyn hake with Atlantic prawns and sea aster (which I was informed is the ‘new samphire’ – shame as I’m quite fond of samphire) and the Moyallon sweet cure bacon chop with laverbread and cockles. Portions of chips, parsnip and cobnut croquettes and steamed purple broccoli were all added into the mix and we got stuck into the wine whilst we waited.
NB: Regarding the wine, we started with a bottle of the Valpolicella, which I must admit was a mistake. I would avoid it if you can as it’s really quite far from being a decent bottle of wine. There are much better wines on the menu. Don’t make the same mistake.
The service in Hix was what one can expect from a busy City eaterie. It’s quick, professional, formal and almost completely devoid of character and charm. A shame really as it could/would add a lot to the experience if the staff could crack a smile.
The food however stood up to reputation. There is a little voice inside of me however that always cries out a little whimper of disappointment when just a single steak arrives on an otherwise bare plate. I know the ‘simplicity of the meat’ is the key focus in ordering a damn fine steak, but please, could you not even present it on an interesting plate? Just a plain, white, dinner plate really dampens my spirits.
It was delicious though. The steak was cooked to absolute perfection, I’m not sure I’d be ready to title it one of the ‘best steaks in the London’ just yet, but I can see where my carnivorous friend was coming from with their recommendation.
The chips were devoured hungrily (even by the carb-avoiding dieters around the table) and the non-steak dishes were well presented and I’m assured they tasted as good as they looked.
When it came to dessert there were yet more wide-eyed, excited faces around the table as they delivered a damson Bakewell pudding, a lavender burnt cream with raspberries, a credit crunch ice cream with hot chocolate sauce and 2 cheese boards. The desserts were all very good. I also must at this point, pay enormous thanks to the guys in the kitchen as upon ordering the cheese-selection I announced I was unable to have any wheat/gluten (will explain another time…) and would it be possible for them to find me an alternative or provide some fruit etc. I was delighted to see that they had found some nice wheat free bread for me, which had also been warmed through slightly. That was very much appreciated.
All in all not a bad experience at Hix, but I must be honest and say it wasn’t a fantastic one either. The food worked well to warm our hearts and our tummies, but the ambience and service just left me with a bit of a chill. A decent place for a working lunch with colleagues/clients, but I couldn’t ever see myself going there for a romantic supper or with friends. There’s an abundance of places I’d choose instead for that.