SECRET BRUNCH AWARDS
2 0 1 5 F I N A L I S T : H I X M A Y F A I R
The Great British Affair.
HIX at the Browns Hotel is situated on Albemarle St, at the heart of Mayfair. A location full of history and ghosts of famous figures who once strolled the area. With names like Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron to mention a few, it is no wonder we felt the need to play the part of a baron and baroness.
High heels and cane clacking along the mosaic flooring of the Browns Hotel, we entered the restaurant through its ageing wooden doors. Ladies were sipping Bellinis in their Sunday best, and gentlemen seated with their perfectly quaffed hair, deciding on which bottle of French red goes best with their medium-rare steaks.
The restaurant has a very pleasing aesthetic and a culinary reputation to match. Wooden panelled walls are dressed with impressive art works, linen clad tables are generously spaced out, whist the atmosphere feels soft and sophisticated. HIX is part of a new breed of London restaurants, who are as passionate about their art as they are about the food itself. Guests are invited to feed the body as well as the intellectual soul.
It is therefore a shame that the authentic feel comes to a sudden hault, thanks to the large out of place neon pink lighting, at the back of the room.
Exploring juxtaposition trends are fine, but allow the theme to carry through. The bright neon lights disguised the gorgeous period fireplace, turning vintage into another West End Shoreditch wannabe. As though the artist ran out of ideas when he eventually got to the back of the room.
Turning our backs to the pink, we focused our thoughts and taste buds on the real reason we were at HIX. The food.
The restaurant celebrates the best of British cuisine and art. It boasts an outstanding menu, designed by Mark Hix, featuring seasonal dishes and carefully sourced ingredients.
But where in this menu was the 'Brunch'?!
Despite advertising a dedicated 'Brunch Menu' online, the restaurant had decided to mix it all up in one long extensive menu, consisting of every dish you can think of, from breakfast to dinner. As seasoned brunch lovers, we felt slightly cheated. But for those in search of options, this menu certainly does not dissapoint.
The manager explained, that in order not to alienate loyal clientele, they had cordially mixed up the younger brunch menu with the traditional lunch menu, ensuring peace amongst their diners.
Our advice is to come hungry, as you will not find tiny morsels here, instead we saw large fluffy Yorkshires leaving the kitchen, big enough to rest one’s head on, with lashings of gravy and mountains of roast potatoes to match.
Browsing through the menu and tempted by everything on offer, we settled with what the restaurant manager suggested as the traditional brunch items. Eggs Florentine and Benedict prepared with none other than Clarence Court Eggs, which explained why the dish tasted more luxurious than most. We also chose the Omelette Arnold Bennet, a smoked haddock and cheese omelette, which was definitely elaborate with rich concoction that was absolutely delicious.
Now, one might think that we would dab our lips with the linen napkin, drain our freshly squeezed orange juice and call it a day. Oh, but not us.
We felt the need to try one of the more intriguing looking dishes, and apparently a signature, the HIX BLC. That’s beef, lobster and chicken to you sir.
People of interest are warned, as the HIX BLC is on the large side, but has all the protein rich meat that any avid Atkins follower would need. The lobster is generous, and in an unexpected twist, goes perfectly with the beef. To give the sandwich its ultra luxury flavouring, a dollop of chicken liver pate lines the toasted panini. One of our most favourite sandwiches in this competition.
It is hard to stop once you get started. Gorgeous silver dinner trollies were being whisked across the room in frenzy. What could possibly be in there? Well, the Sunday roast of course. We simply had to have it.
A beautiful Roast Sirloin of Glenarm Beef was expertly carved at our table, served with Yorkshire pudding and accompanied by golden roast potatoes and seasonal veg on the side. The beef was so tender that it was like slicing a hot knife through butter, and the side dishes were fresh and flavoursome. The roast hit right through to our soul. Our thoughts: Every brunch menu should boast a roast!
‘You simply must try our dessert!’ our waiter exclaimed. Was that a dare or timely advice? Up for any challenge, we said “Give us your best shot!’
Out of the depths of the kitchen, came a rather innocent looking Ronnies Bramley Apple Pie. “Ha!” we thought to ourselves…”piece of cake”! We smashed through the crusty casing, revealing the warm homely apple pie that might put our mothers’ recipes to test.
Suddenly, just as we thought we were home dry, we were presented with something that wasn’t on the menu. A beautiful Clementine and Raspberry Cheesecake, which made it’s way to the table with such finesse and artistic flair. After a couple of bites, we were defeated. In the most perfect way possible.
S U M M A R Y
Too many options if you are looking for just a simple brunch menu. But fear not. When it comes to quality, Mark Hix has got it right!
Our Verdict: Quality British Soul Food
Price: Range from £10-£25
Service: Attentive without being too pushy
Will we go back? Most definitely
Vote HERE to crown HIX as your 2015
Voting closes on 5th of December 2015.