There’s no showing off at Hix – they know they’ve got the goods and just go about doing their thing.
The décor is all quite understated. The space feels like an old butcher’s with tiled walls, metal ceiling fans and meat hooks on display like artwork.
The tables are covered with simple white butcher’s paper and there’s a lot of dark wood elsewhere. Nothing distracts guests from Mark Hix’s brilliant all-British offerings.
Start with cocktails made from homegrown UK liquors; the in-house mixologists offer local twists on international favourites and have made up a few of their own concoctions for good measure.
The Martinez is an instant classic with Tanqueray gin, Martini rubino sweet vermouth, maraschino, bitters and orange zest. But we fell in love with Hix’s wines.
The hosts have curated a stellar list of wines from all over the world which don’t all carry too hefty a price tag. But Hix Oyster & Chop House is a place to splurge.
Thumb through the long list, asking friendly staff for guidance, and settle on some whites to go with the oysters, full-bodied reds to match the meats, and a surprisingly good list of ports and dessert wines to finish things off. If you’re doing the night right, good wine is essential, and Hix has it sorted.
And do take your time with this menu – you can easily stretch the evening out for many hours, constantly grazing through the options.
Kick it off with a handful of oysters each. We recommend you get a mix of native oysters, which are succulently meaty, as well as some fresher tasting rock oysters.
Eat them whichever way you wish, sampling incredibly rich and flavourful soda bread with butter as you go. Move your way to starters, taking in locally-sourced crispy squid with fresh chillies and lemon. It’s simple and punchy, and somewhat reminiscent of Vietnamese street food.
The steak tartare topped with a raw egg yolk is the hero here. It’s a difficult dish to do right, but Mark Hix’s focus on sourcing great produce allows him to smash this one out of the park. The meat is divine, as are the little caper berries scattered throughout.
Meats then come in all shapes and sizes, and from an assortment of British-sourced animals. The signature dish, the oyster and chop steak, is a sure fire win. The fried oyster, topped with herby breadcrumbs, just cries out to be scoffed down in one swoop while the accompanying chop is coated in a fresh and punchy pesto and, of course, is perfectly cooked. This is a clear crowd pleaser.
And, like at Hix’s other restaurants, Tramshed and Hixter, each and every other meaty option is stellar. The enormous kilogram of Porterhouse is to be marvelled by all who are lucky enough to meets its gaze, while the simple lamb chop with sweet potatoes and herb sauce will make you drool.
Be sure to leave only bones behind – after all, you haven’t come here to count calories.
Finish with puddings, looking no further than the chocolate mousse with homemade honeycomb and the treacle tart with clotted cream. Neither of these are too sweet or too bitter. It’s all well balanced.
And that’s very much the theme at Hix Oyster & Chop House. They’re not trying to overwhelm diners with flavour nor show off with intricate plating and culinary finesse.
But, at the same time, nothing here is one dimensional. It’s good, unfussy food that’s made from carefully-sourced local produce: a winning combination.
36-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street EC1M 6BN