I don’t spend every Friday going out for lunch, honestly I don’t, it’s just happened that way over the past few weeks.  So, on Friday, Nicola and I went to Hix in Soho, for our annual birthday lunch.

I’ve been there before, but it was a first for Nicola, so I really hoped it would be good, as I’d recommended it.  We were seated at the far part of the restaurant, which meant that we had a good view of the room.  Our waiter was a lovely young man named Jacob, who was very knowledgeable about the restaurant and the food.

We couldn’t decide what to drink so we opted for Prosecco, as it was a special occasion – we were celebrating both our birthdays.  Lots of chatting and catching up was taking place, so Jacob suggested that we might like to try the Cockle Popcorn while we were making up our minds.

“What’s that then?” we asked.

Cockle popcorn and pork scratchings
Cockle popcorn and pork scratchings

Jacob explained that they were Carmarthen Bay cockles coated in a gluten free flour and deep fried.  Such a simple idea and yet so tasty.  Nicola liked them with vinegar, I preferred them without, but then I’m not a huge vinegar fan.  Still chatting, and looking at the menu, we then chose the freshly cooked Moyallon pork scratchings with Bramley apple sauce.   They were good.  We were still chatting.  We had another round of both, which was actually a huge mistake because we were starting to get full before we’d even ordered the mains.

Still undecided about our main courses (clearly, we were not having starters after all those cockles and crackling), Jacob came to the rescue.  He suggested Dover Sole, which Nicola chose, with new, buttered potatoes.  I’ll be honest, I always think sole is a bit over-rated, so Jacob suggested I go for the griddled St Mary’s bay scallops with chanterelle mushrooms and Maldon sweetcorn, with fries on the side.  They were lovely but not hot enough for my taste, even the second time round.  Sorry, but if it’s meant to be hot, it’s meant to be hot, in my book.  The staff were very gracious about it though.  We had a garden salad with the main course, which was interesting, if a bit earthy in flavour.  It tasted as though it had nettles in it; maybe it did.

Dover Sole
Dover Sole

After all that food, we had to have a bit of a rest before dessert, although the menu did look enticing.  The young lad at the next table had the Peruvian Gold chocolate mousse, which looked, well, gold.  In the end we shared cheese – Nicola doesn’t like blue cheese, I do, so it made sense, and that way we didn’t have too much.  Jacob also brought us each an espresso martini.  Considering that I don’t like cold coffee, I managed to polish that off very smartly, can’t imagine why…

Then we felt it was necessary to have port…

2015-09-25 14.59.23

There was some interesting artwork in the restaurant.  I couldn’t see it until I turned round, but there was a mobile made from Fray Bentos pie tins.  For those of you too young to have a clue what I am talking about, Fray Bentos is a city in Uruguay where the main industry used to be meat processing.  The tins were quite distinctive in that they were fairly shallow in size, about an inch deep, I think.  I seem to recall my mum making a hole in the lid to release the pressure and then heating the tins in boiling water… The mobile is the work of Sarah Lucas, called Pie Mobile (I said Kiddley Diddley Eye).



In the private dining room there is a display by Douglas White called Nest which is a combination of tree roots and basketballs.  It’s different…  On the main wall in the restaurant is an Angus Fairhurst print, which, although red in colour, looks to me like a forest.

There are nine separate venues for the Hix chain, including the Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis.  Perhaps I should make it a mission to visit them all.


© Susan Shirley 2015



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