By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Whether it’s a speedy corporate Lunch, fine-dining accompanied by sweeping views across the Capital, or even a quick Coffee and Sandwich that you’re after, you’ll be able to find it all within London’s Square Mile. Naturally, with plenty of high-profile business workers populating the area, there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to meal times. And if good, un-pretentious food at a fair price is what you’re in search of, you need look no further than Hix City. Originally opened as the first Hixter outpost, just a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street Station, the restaurant is now simply titled Hix City, following in the same vein as Mark Hix’s Soho and Mayfair additions to his growing culinary Empire.
Inside, the airy space is still similar to what we’d come to expect, having visited Hixter Bankside earlier in the year. Industrial-styled bare brick walls are covered with artworks from the likes of Tracey Emin and Peter Newman – a quintessential Hix feature. Yet, on or mid-summer visit, we did managed to find solace from the belligerent heat within the semi-outdoor terrace area. Kicking off with a round of classic Hix Fix Cocktails (Somerset Morello Cherry eau de vie, Nyetimber British sparkling Wine and a Morello Cherry), we begin with a Potato Rösti bed that’s topped with shredded Crab (£11.50), and unable to choose between the Putignano Burrata with Tomatoes and Basil (£9.75) or the ‘Hix Cured’ De Beauvoir Smoked Salmon (£14.50), the waiter insists that Mark’s signature Salmon is a must-try. Served incredibly simply; four slices of Fish layered into a perfect square, served with thin slices of Soda Bread. The result is delicious, as Hix manages to prove that simplicity is, often, key to a great dish.
Next up, my companion’s ‘Fish of the Day’ (Monkfish with Rosemary Butter) is a delicious, served with an additional side of Creamed Spinach, which is also a tasty treat. Meanwhile, my Lobster and Chips is another example of simple presentation that allows the ingredients on the plate to shine. The Lobster (half for £19.75 or £38.50 whole) features a generous portion, given the price and location. The fact that the Chef has gone to the trouble of doing all of the hard work before serving, allowing the consumer to simply scoop the Garlic Butter soaked Fish from the shell straight into our mouths, is another appreciated treat. While the chips, although a little hard, are a welcome accompaniment to the dish, another handful would’ve been appreciated, given the often un-filling nature of Lobster.
As the Dessert menu arrives, just one thought swims through this writer’s mind: “don’t order the Credit Crunch Ice Cream!” I’ve had it before, I’ll have it again, and although I should’ve perhaps tried something new, I ended up ordering the dessert this time. It’s really that great. Available at £1.90 per scoop, Hix makes the dessert accessible to all, whether its just one scoop as a post-dinner palate cleanser, or a gluttonous Sundae of ten, or so. Somehow something as humble as Honeycomb and Toffee-flecked Vanilla Ice Cream, served with a rich Chocolate sauce, can be so utterly beguiling.
Our trip to Hixter Bankside wasn’t exactly the most remarkable, but Hix City showcases the restaurateur’s unpretentious British fare at its best.
Hix City can be found at 9a Devonshire Square, London, EC2M 4AE.