I loved my visit to the original Hixter in the City (a variation of Mark Hix’s other restaurant Tramshed which serves only chicken or steak), so I was really excited to hear they were opening a second one in Bankside. And even better, there’s a Mark’s Bar in the basement.
The restaurant’s as pretty from the outside, with its bright red neon sign above the door, as it is on the inside. You walk in past a long bar on the left then eventually get to the dining room, complete with open kitchen – the place was massive and the atmosphere was really loud and lively. It was their opening night and as the place was rammed we were seated at the bar, which was great for people watching.
To start, we couldn’t resist ordering a Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers (£3.95) from the ‘snax’ section of the menu. The Yorkie was humongous and perfectly made; the only way the whole thing could have been bettered was if the parfait had been served at room temperature as oppose to fridge cold. Once it had warmed up the flavour was cracking.
The de Beauvoir smoked salmon (£14.50) certainly wasn’t cheap, but the quality of the fish was exquisite and it had the perfect amount of oiliness – I love oily smoked salmon. Hannan’s beefballs with tomato sauce and sour cream (£10.75) might have sounded a bit random but it was one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in a long time. It was a hearty bowlful of meatballs in a rich tomato sauce topped with shed loads of cheese – yes please!
For main, the 1kg rib on the bone (£65) was a beautiful bit of beef and quite possibly the best steak I’ve ever eaten. The meat, which is either Shorthorn, Hereford or Aberdeen Angus breeds, is aged in a Himalayan salt chamber – I’ve no idea what one of those is but it certainly makes for incredible flavour. This was Goodman level – and they know their beef! I just could have done with a larger pot of the bearnaise, as I love a good sauce.
We also ordered half a roast barn-reared Indian Rock chicken (£15) which was served with its foot still attached. It was everything you could want from a piece of chicken; great quality, plump juicy flesh and gloriously crispy skin. There was even some stuffing too.
For sides we went for chips and buttered Summer vegetables (£3.95 each), the latter having a strong minty flavour throughout which was great.
For dessert, we shared the credit crunch ice cream (£1.90 a scoop). It was basically vanilla ice cream with bits of honeycomb and chocolate sprinkled over the top. If that wasn’t enough, there was even a jug of warm chocolate sauce to pour over – it was a total indulgent treat and I loved every single bloomin’ mouthful!
To produce food that good in a new kitchen and on their first night, was really impressive. I have no doubt that Hixter Bankside will go down a storm – it’s a great space (the whole restaurant reminded me of an art gallery), the staff are friendly and the bar in the basement is a little hidden gem. I shall dream about that steak for a long time to come…
I dined as a guest of the restaurant