Mark Hix's passionate menu is hearty, manly, fleshy, juicy, a little bit messy and British, invariably making it one of the best places to eat in London. Hix is also friends with interesting and important people, including every contemporary British artist you've ever heard of, several of whom - Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Tim Noble and Sue Webster - have provided Hix with art, including bespoke mobiles which hang over the noisy, cafe-style dining room designed by Martin Brudnizki. Even ex-Blur bassist Alex James provides the cheese. Hix has a devoted following among the in-crowd, who crowd around his restaurants (also Hix Oyster & Chop House, 36 Greenhill's Rents, EC1; 020 7017 1930, and, tellingly, within Selfridges: HIX Restaurant and Champagne Bar; 020 7499 5400).
It's a foodie dream - spring leek and nettle soup with mendip snails, cod tongues with hazelnuts - though Hix is not afraid to serve fish and chips with a bottle of Sarson's. This confidence is madly cool and uniquely relaxing, making for a 'pick up the bone and eat with your fingers' good time, not a cathedral-like hush of wonder over the smoothness of a veloute. It's a fitting (if unwitting) tribute that legendary bon viveur Keith Floyd ate Hix's cooking for his last supper before suffering a fatal heart attack.