Pharmacy 2 is the collaboration between Damien Hirst and Mark Hix – Hix does the food and the restaurant is based inside Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery. I never went to the original Pharmacy in Notting Hill back in the late 90’s but the very idea of it is rather exciting.
It’s a bitch to find – down a million side streets and in a maze of estates. Once up in the first floor dining room it’s full of Hirst’s trademark pills; pill stools at the bar, pill wallpaper and embroidered pills in the booths. It’s interesting and unusual. It’s worth noting the gallery shuts at 6pm however which seems a shame as we wanted to have a look round.
The menu reads well, like a Hix hall of fame. We started with pork crackling (£3.95) and crispy prawn kale hearts (£3.95) which are the kind of snacks that will always kick things off well. I doubt you’ll find better crackling in London FYI.
‘Heaven and Earth’ (£9.95) was a big ball of black pudding with crushed potatoes and gravy. It’s a Hix stalwart dish apparently which makes total sense. Brik a l’oeuf (£6.95) was more unusual. Feuille de brick, a wafer thin pastry, in a sort of pasty shape, encasing a duck egg, was light and crisp and the fiery rose harissa was spot on.
Launceston lamb pie (£13.50) not only had thick chunks of tender lamb but kidneys and sweetbreads also. The dreamiest of pastry covered the whole thing – if you don’t order this then there’s no helping you.
My Lyme Bay monkfish tail (£22.50) was gargantuan in size. The fish was just on the right side of perfectly cooked and the flesh was so meaty; a really filling dish. Sides of mash and spinach (£3.95 each) did their job.
Puddings are all mini – we went for the bread and butter pudding, chocolate mousse (Willie’s Peruvian Gold chocolate that is) and the pineapple upside down cake (£4 each); the latter, with its soft sticky sponge, being the best.
If, like me, you’re a fan of Hirst and Hix then Pharmacy 2 is likely to be right up your street. The food is en pointe and the dining room is unlike any other in London, making this art gallery cum restaurant in an unknown side street in a random part of town, one to watch.