A good restaurant is all about the food. But food alone does not make it a great restaurant. It has to be about the welcome you receive and the atmosphere. It’s also the feeling that the owner cares.
Located just off Piccadilly, it is quite easy to miss the entrance. A huge door, and looks more like an office entrance that a restaurant, you certainly cannot see the diners!
It’s my second visit, this time on my own. It is 5:30 on a Tuesday evening. Mark Hix, Soho welcomes me. The staff are friendly, grown up friendly, not just going through the motions. It is plain that they really love working here. Of course a singleton is welcome, would I like a table or sit at the bar in the restaurant? I choose the bar. This is good, I look along and see the man himself at the other end.
Can you believe the pre-theatre menu is just £22.50 including a glass of punch? I had this menu on both occasions. The emphasis is on seasonal and on British. And on first glance the descriptions are minimal “chicken ragoo (sic) with with Burrow Hill cider and Judas’s ear mushrooms. The ingredients are left to speak for themselves.
I just love attention to detail. Napkins are actually tea towels and they don’t slip off your lap. Rather than a lowly roll plucked from a basket, you have your own personal loaf, warmed from the oven with a separate pot of butter.
The staff are attentive, knowledgeable and passionate about their restaurant. The couple next to me ask the barman where he’d recommend they go next. He says, stay here this is the best place in the world to be.
Downstairs, is Mark’s bar. You’ll find a myriad of drinks specially sourced from around the country drawing on traditional recipes – I particularly enjoyed a hot cocktail. One of these is Mark’s Hix Oyster Ale,( winner of two gold stars at the 2009 Great Taste Awards made by long-established family brewery, Palmers in Dorset) which on the first visit Mr EF savoured. It was served in a pewter tankard (of course).
The food is all stunning. Highlights included truly the most fabulous fish soup I have ever tasted (with the addition of just cooked scallops); Mr EF’s stew made with the Oyster Ale and a truly amazing Bakewell Tart – light, crispy with a only just set filling (Apparently the head chef is from Bakewell so it is truly authentic). I could go on …
We’ve eaten some amazing food in London, but we will always come back here – you feel so at home, so welcome, and so satiated with wonderful food.
Thank you Mark Hix.
66-70, Brewer Street
London, W1F 9UP