The newest restaurant from Mark Hix. The concept is simple – chicken or steak to share. Mighty-marbled Himalayan salt dry-aged steak from hand-selected cows and barn-reared chicken from Swainson House Farm in Lancashire. Starters and puddings change with the seasons. Mark’s Bar, the latest outpost of Mark Hix’s award-winning cocktail bar is located in the basement, serving cocktails that champion British drinks’ producers.
A few years ago I worked on the PR team for Hix, so I know the concept of the restaurants well. Since I was on the scene, Mark’s portfolio has increased to include Tramshed, HIX Mayfair, Hixter City and now Hixter Bankside. The food concept is pared back and simple dishes, cooked well with excellent quality ingredients.
What sets Marks restaurants out from other steak and chicken restaurants is the stylish surroundings. It’s no secret that Mark is friends with the art crowd, and as a result, beautiful and let’s just say interesting artwork adorns the walls. My favourite was in the loos. As I was leaving the cubicle, I scoffed at a woman who seemed to be staring at a piece of artwork on the wall behind me. It wasn’t until I turned around and had a look myself that I realised it was a piece of moving artwork – a white picture of two naked women moving very slowly – one standing facing us, the other sitting with her back to us. I stood for at least two minutes gawping before I snapped myself out of it and headed back to the table.
The food is what it says on the tin – simple and well cooked. I plumped for steak tartare for starter with a beautifully bright orange egg yolk and I agreed to share a whole chicken with a friend. The whole chicken arrived bottom up impaled on a large knife and surrounded by fries. The waitress carved the meat for us and we poured our own gravy over the top from a small accompanying jug. We were unsure whether two of us would be able to polish it all off, but we had a good go and weren’t left with much at the end.
To finish we shared three puddings for the table – Peruvian gold chocolate mousse, Dorset bluberry cheesecake and salted caramel fondue with cherries and marshmallow, which was the start of the show. I’m not even going to talk about the mousse and cheesecake because they were ok, but didn’t compare to the sticky sweet and salty amazingness that was the fondue. I’m not sure the cherries worked with the sauce, but on their own they were a delight – plump and sweet. And for someone who doesn’t have a fondness for marshmallows, I kept going back to dip more pillowy bundles of joy into the sauce.
Starters from £5.75, mains from £14.50. Three courses and wine is around £60 per head.
16 Great Guildford Street
The restaurant is open seven days a week, 11.30am till midnight (11pm Sundays). The bar is open till 01.30am (12.30am Sundays).