First and foremost, I have to admit that I am not usually a fan of British cuisine. Don’t ask me why, because if I answer that I can already feel the onslaught of abuse at my lack of culinary prowess. Not that I ever had any. But ok, ask me why, why catty do you not appreciate the abundance of British food at your doorstep, given that you live in London and all?
Well catty (yes, I totally talk to myself), I just don’t find the variety wide enough, the flavours appealing enough, and I don’t know, maybe it’s because I don’t know how to appreciate good British food, for instance fresh oysters? I’ve literally just learned that you order them by their region (thanks Mark), because it’s their salt water which makes them special.
Right, because here I am spitting out the salt water, but drown them in black bean sauce and I am all there, baby.
Anyway, I’m always open to new experiences, so when it was suggested we spend a gloomy Saturday lunch in the warmth of new British restaurant Hix, I jumped at the chance, and learned a couple of new things.
Like oysters and salt water. So weird.
Aside from the pork crackling with crab apple sauce (salt-soaked tooth-cracking goodness) we nibbled on whilst perusing the menu, for sale are Cumbrae Rock Oysters and Maldon Natives.
I’m thinking “ok, I’ll have some as long as they aren’t too fat”.
I must have thought that out loud because a glance at my friends tells me they are aghast at my lack of oyster knowledge, to which my rebuttal was “oh come on, EuWen doesn’t even eat oysters” and phew, the spotlight is off me.
EuWen declines our dares (yes, mature) to slurp a juicy oyster and orders the patridge on toast instead, while Mark throws me into a quick lesson on the technicalities of ordering oysters.
Apparently fat is good. Fat means the chubby little buggers have had a decent gulp of local sea water and brings it hence forth to our table for us to enjoy. Region dictates where the water came from and I’m guessing it’s a little like wine, some regions are better than others.
I nod and smile in appreciation of this knowledge imparted upon me but inside I’m thinking, where the fuck is Cumbrae??
Anyway, we order one Cumbrae Rock Oyster and Maldon Native Oyster each, and I immediately notice the physical differences. The Cumbrae Rock, at £1.95 each look like ye olde garden variety oyster, in a deep half shell with a slightly lumpy appearance. The Maldon Natives, costing £3.75 each, are flat, round and smooth, and generally much prettier, which I’m sure is like the least important thing in oyster selection. Whatever.
Taste-wise, they didn’t seem all that different to me. They weren’t overly salt-watery, but then I did douse them in the delicious red wine vinegar mignonette, which again I’m sure is a big no-no, but heck, if you’ve forgotten, I like my food totally dirty.
Oh hi, look, we also tried a bunch of other stuff at Hix! Charz and Mark tried the fish fingers with chips and mushy peas, which I was also oh-so-tempted to order, but in light of being different, I opted for the fillet of hake instead, served with a delicious wild garlic sauce.
The fish fingers seemed to go down a treat, although the mash a touch too minty (I say this, but I only had a teeny mouthful, so best to check with the people who actually ate it), and the hake was eh, it was ok. The sauce I could drink, but that’s another story.
Keeping his distance from seafood all together, EuWen ordered the red deer chop, cooked “kinda pink but closer to medium”. I have a feeling he didn’t notice the deer at all with all that swooning he was doing over the celeriac. He was seriously lustfully mesmerised by the creamy texture and it wasn’t until a stray buckthorn berry threw its orange self at EuWen’s green sweater that he snapped out of it.
Thank god for that.
Desserts were all awfully British here at Hix, with options ranging from Chester Pie (like a lemon meringue pie, from Chester) to the Yorkshire Parkin (steamed pudding) and the Credit Crunch (ice cream), which is definitely British, innit? EuWen once again lusted after the chocolate sauce; it seemed to be a particularly passionate day for our boy 🙂
Overall the lunch at Hix was good, if not a little costly at £35 a head, no drinks. Speaking of drinks, Hix has an awesome bar downstairs ~ cosy with large sinking sofas and a miniature pool table thing. Perfect for small groups and definitely somewhere I’d hit up for a cocktail or two.
66-70 Brewer Street
Soho, W1F 9TR
0207 292 3518