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Hix Belgravia (CLOSED)

Restaurants, British Belgravia

Time Out says

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Restaurateur and man-about-town Mark Hix has jumped on the Belgravia train and opened this fifth London restaurant, in the recently refurbished Thompson Belgraves, an outwardly unbecoming piece of post-war architecture now run by a US-based luxury hotel chain.

The result is of course rolling-in-it rather than rakish, an altogether more mannered version of the Hix flagship in Brewer Street. Polished marble and brass replaces Soho’s stained glass windows; the look is reminiscent of an Emirati airport foyer.

So what happens when you try to transport a vivacious bar and restaurant from the libertine marches of Soho to a swanky hotel in the most aristocratic area of the city? Some elements translate, but the overall effect is lost.

There are many Hix hallmarks on the menu though. A lot of British meat, fish and shellfish, cooked unfussily, provenances namechecked. A simple prawn cocktail starter was a straight-up classic furnished with a generous allocation of crustacea. Deep-fried squid with chilli, garlic and almonds was a saddening experience, however. The accompanying lime wedge was past its juiciest and refused to give up more than a trickle of liquid; the chilli didn’t make itself known, the garlic was overcooked and the squid itself was too much batter, not enough mollusc. The overall effect was dry and unappealing and went unfinished.

A main of honey-roast duck with flowering chives and cloud ear mushroom was another anticlimax: the international ingredients couldn’t enliven the sliced duck beyond average, although the slippery, musky mushroom provided an interesting pairing for the bird.

Things improved dramatically with a dish of Orkney scallop served with ham hock with yellow split peas – a strong rendering of a fairly standard composition, but back to heartland Hix. And the dessert was worth a foray into Belgravia for itself – a ring of delicate Champagne jelly set with the earliest forced rhubarb and a scoop of bergamot sorbet.

Here the dining room is muted, with bare-filament light installations the only nod to contemporary styling; the expensive hotel it resides in dampens the sense of fun, even though there’s a portrait on the wall of Hix himself looking suitably gregarious.

There’s also a branch of Mark’s Bar above the restaurant. But our fellow drinkers were not W1 creatives or socialites; they were mostly bored-looking businessfolk, plus a few well-groomed women. Hix Soho this is not, and there are other more fun places we’d rather go for a drink.

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Details

Address: 20 Chesham Place
London
SW1X 9EJ
Transport: Tube: Knightsbridge or Sloane Square tube
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