INFORMATION : HIX
In his 17 years with multiple operator Caprice Holdings, Mark Hix learned a thing or two about running restaurants. His flagship in the heart of Soho retains the buzz that surrounded its opening in late 2009. YBA artworks by the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin add a modern twist to the wood-panelled room, which is packed and noisy most nights (we have known service to tail off slightly when stretched, although in general it’s superb).
This is still the place to sample Hix’s signature seasonal British cooking and revel in the informally clubby surroundings. Staples on the breakfast-to-dinner menu include roast Woolley Park Farm free-range chicken to share, smoked salmon with ‘Corrigan’ soda bread (most dishes contain a name-check), or hanger steak with roast bone marrow.
Specials go big on seafood (we had a great smoked haddock salad with soft-boiled egg and asparagus recently) and unusual native vegetables (samphire, say, or foraged mushrooms and herbs).
Drinks can force a bill alarmingly upwards, but Mark’s Bar in the basement is a great spot for a few interesting cocktails, if you can bag a table (the licence requires you to choose something from the menu too).