When people discuss Britain’s top chefs – or even Europe’s – the usual names come up; Marcus Wareing, Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, Gordon Ramsay. This tends to be because they’re all multi-Michelin starred titans with a deserved reputation for excellence. A name that ought to be amongst them is that of Mark Hix, who, over the past few years, has built up a small but perfectly formed empire of high-class, good value restaurants specialising in British produce using top quality ingredients. The recent opening of his eponymous restaurant in Soho was a great success, and now he has opened a new venue inside Selfridge’s.
The way in which the high-class department store restaurant has gone increasingly upmarket over the years is notable, but there are few that offer the sophistication of Hix’s establishment. Despite being situated on the mezzanine above the ground floor, on the site of the old Gallery restaurant, this still somehow manages to boast a cool, exclusive atmosphere, helped in no small part by the excellent drinks and wine list. (It is, strictly speaking, a restaurant and champagne bar.)
All this would count for little if the food wasn’t any good, but it’s absolutely excellent. Using more or less the same menu that can be found in his other places, there are some highlights that are already signature dishes in his empire (such as the smoked salmon that has been cured in his own smokery at home and a to-die-for steak that literally melts off the bone), as well as innovative, intelligent concoctions such as rabbit fondue, served with crusty bread, and a good range of desserts including ‘credit crunch ice cream’ at a mere £1.95 a scoop.
Sure to become a favourite of ladies who lunch, discerning gourmets and shoppers alike, there’s no doubt that the talented Mr Hix has done it again.