Friday, 2 September 2011

Lunch at Hix Restaurant in Soho, London

The Englishman and I have been doing a lot of lunching out lately. It's not by design or by some elaborate planning. (Very few things in our lives ever seem to be... just look at how me met!) Sometimes we don't go out for months, and then sometimes we have lunch together several times a week.

Last Saturday the Englishman needed to buy a new dinner suit. Knowing his method for shopping (short and sharp), I treated the invite to go with him as a lunch date. And how right I was. We'd only visited three gentlemen's outfitters on Jermyn Street in SW1 when the Englishman started to glance at his watch. 'Lunch?' he said and turned to me.

Using my iPhone Harden's app (which, by the way, is absolutely excellent for finding eateries in London), we chose Hix in Soho as the nicest place (sort of) close by. We'd been there once before after the theatre and remembered the food was nice.

The decor of Hix on Brewer Street in Soho is quite eclectic, with mobiles made out of food tins and light tubes adorning the long mirrored bar. It felt like a night-time spot, with staff milling about getting ready for a busy service. There's also a bar downstairs, with neon lights showing the way to the loos at the back, with low sofas and chairs for pre-dinner cocktails. Here too, the barman was polishing glasses and taking stock of the bottles in readiness for the evening ahead. In spite of all this hub of activity, the staff in the restaurant upstairs were attentive to the few tables that we occupied. There was a set lunch, which we both decided to sample.

I do love a proper cloth napkin.

Whipped beets with goat's curd, toasted walnuts and flatbread.

The first course of whipped beets, goat's cheese and walnuts was so excellent, I was really glad we'd come to this nightspot at the wrong time, as it were, and looked forward to the mains.

'It looks like a faggot,' the Englishman said when our food arrived. This was not some kind of rude or politically incorrect remark on his part. I looked down at my plate. He was right, the 'Veal dumpling' as it was dubbed on the menu did resemble the beef and liver faggots our old butcher in the country used to sell. I could never eat these, the animal stomach lining they were wrapped in put me right off.

However, at Hix, the first course had been so good, that I dared to cut into my 'dumpling' to see what it was made of. Besides, I spied no lining material whatsoever. At the end, although tasty, the dish was too meaty for me, and I could only manage half of it. Something green, in addition to the pickled white cabbage and the undercooked new potatoes, to accompany the lonely veal meatball, would have made the dish a whole lot better.

Their water jugs were nice too, although when I said 'Your jugs are nice,' to the waitress, both she and the Englishman burst out laughing. You can take the girl out of a foreign land but you can't take the foreigner out of the girl...
The set menu was quite good value, but I think next time I'll come here in the evening, go for the fish instead and leave the meat dishes for the boys.

Hix Soho
66-70 Brewer Street

Set lunch for 2 courses was £17.50 
Our bill with a carafe of red wine came to £48.50  

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