Roast beef platter

At the end of 2009 Hix, Soho, was the big restaurant opening that had everyone in who thinks with their stomachs talking and praising and slathering. I read, I wanted but I had Christmas presents to buy. So Hix went onto my list for January.

And I was going to book a table at Hix until I noticed that Hix Oyster and Chophouse in Farringdon did Sunday lunches. Dinner with friends is nice, but isn’t a with sherries at one end, coffee at the other and plenty of dripping red roast beef in the middle better? A table for 6 was booked and last Sunday. DJ, Leonard, The Enigmatic Mr S, Mr B and Lennard from NY gathered around a table wisely covered in paper cloths.

Beetroot and parsnips crisps

DJ, Leonard, Mr S and I arrived first, so we had a glass of sherry each and our waiter brought over a bowl of beetroot and parsnips crisps. These were delicious to much on, especially the scrunchy strands of parsnip, and we devoured the lot.

Mr B and Lennard arrived at the same time as a loaf of crusty, chewy white bread, and our waiter brought over a second bowl of beetroot and parsnip crisps so they wouldn’t miss out. They nearly did, as I was determined to eat more than my fair share. I nearly managed it, too.

A plate of starters

The starters were potted smoked salmon ‘Hix Cure’ with toast, bath chaps with piccalilli and watercress, and Gladys May duck’s egg mayonnaise. A plate of each was brought to the table and we passed them around, politely trying to take as much as we could without seeming like it.

The potted salmon was the best of the three. A little vat of smooth, moreish salmon pâté with not quite enough toast (there’s never enough toast, no matter how much the kitchen sends out. It’s one of the rules of dining out).

The bath chaps were wafer thin strips of delicate porkiness that were completely overwhelmed if you ate them with the piccalilli. That’s not to say the piccalilli wasn’t good, it was. But I’ve always suspected that piccalilli is better eaten on its own. It’s an egotistical relish that never gives way to other flavours.

The duck’s egg mayonnaise was the least successful of the three. Halves of almost hard-boiled duck’s eggs were blanketed in mayo and both of them tasted of nothing. If it hadn’t been for the sprinkle of cayenne, I wouldn’t have been 100% sure I was eating anything.

Lovely roast beef

The main event was roast rib of Herefordshire beef, brought to the table on a board with a pile of flowerpot-sized Yorkshire puddings. There were 4 or 5 thick slices of carved meat and then half a joint of boned, rolled beef left to carve.

This was a bit inexplicable. Perhaps they were intending to come to the table and lean over us, carving the beef with a flourish. If they were, they hadn’t counted on how fast we rip through food. The sliced beef was distributed and DJ, because she was closest, set about the joint. The table was soon splattered with blood.

The beef was perfect. Thick, tender and juicy. The Yorkshires were puffy and crisp, with slightly soft bottoms – exactly how I like them. Roast potatoes were crunchy and fluffy and the buttered greens had a hint of winter bitterness about them that went well with the heap of buttery bashed neeps (swede). We had three gravy boats in circulation at any one time.

A roast is a difficult meal to get right. There are a lot of elements that all need to be ready to serve at the same time and if you over cook something or get it wrong, there’s no way to cover it up. But the roast at Hix was as good as my mum’s, which is the highest praise you can heap on a Sunday lunch.

Dessert choices were Amedei chocolate mousse, blood orange and Sipsmith gin jelly or Gorwydd Caerphilly with walnut oatcakes. I had the jelly and was rewarded with a glass of refreshing citrus jelly topped with a dab of cream. It was exactly the sort of light pudding you should have after a roast, but in my heart I longed for a crippling slab of crumble and custard.

If the mousse hadn’t been so airy, it could’ve played the role of the crumble well. It was an über chocolate pudding, an embarrassment of riches and Leonard have to give up halfway through hers. Unusually, I wasn’t interested in the cheese so I didn’t ask how it was. Mr S ate the lot, so I’m assuming it was good.

We finished with coffees and teas and left 5 hours after we arrived, replete and glowing. The set Sunday lunch (crisps, starters, roast and choice of desserts) costs £34.50 and on top of that we had 4 sherries, 2 bottles of wine, a bottle each of still and sparkling water, 4 coffees and 2 teas. Including service, our bill was £55 each. It was worth every penny.

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Tagged with: LondonSunday lunch

12 Responses to Sunday lunch at Hix Oyster and Chop House, Farringdon

  1. Lizzie says:

    I haven’t had a roast dinner in ages. It is best with friends, and this looks a fine one.

  2. That meat sounds pretty darn good. Am also more than a little in love with the sound of the desserts… Hmmm. Think I’ll have to get myself along there.

  3. I was literally drooling over that roast beef and I just had delicious smacking good mutton curry for dinner. LOL!

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      The bets thing about the roast beef was that they vac-packed the leftovers so we could take it home for sandwiches and relive the experience. In hindsight, I should’ve asked for a box for the left over roast potatoes, too.

  4. Chris says:

    “Perhaps they were intending to come to the table and lean over us, carving the beef with a flourish. If they were, they hadn’t counted on how fast we rip through food.”

    Very much reminds me of a near-disaster at the Ledbury with Lizzie. The waiter proudly brought over the whole ash-baked celeriac that he carefully cut in half at our table to show us how it all worked. I was that close – THAT CLOSE – to reaching over and popping it in whole, assuming it was some sort of amuse. Thank God in heaven I didn’t.

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      Yes, should be made to sit with my hands on my lap for about 5 minutes in any restaurant, just in case I grab the food before the waiter hasn’t finished presenting it to me. I’m just always so keen to get started. Your lunch at The Ledbury sounded so good.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Hix Food, Denise Medrano and ginandcrumpets, ginandcrumpets. ginandcrumpets said: New Post: Blood on the tablecloths: Sunday lunch at Hix Oyster and Chop House: […]

  6. […] the meaty, full-flavoured gravy is the best I’ve had in London in a long time – better than Hix’s. The Yorkshire pudding looked a little too overcooked, but it managed to be crisp and claggy like a […]

  7. […] of the month: Hix Oyster and Chop House ought to walk away with this for the magnificent Sunday lunch I shared […]

  8. We had the beef flank and oyster pie, and the 28 day aged South Devon Ruby red beef, and both were both sensational.

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