Tracey Emin's ‘I loved you more than I can love', emblazoned in pink neon about the white mantelpiece, signifies some informal rebranding of this clubby, masculine dining room – although it still
feels as classically English ‘as a Paul Smith suit’. Mark Hix's specially curated displays of super-trendy Brit art have blown away any patrician cobwebs, and his version of home-grown regional
gastronomy continues to yield terrific results: Dorset snails with bacon, black pudding and ramsons; roast duck with flamed Kentish cherries; herb-crusted Hastings cod with sea kale; buttermilk
pudding with rhubarb. Hix is also marking the hotel’s 175th anniversary this year with a dedicated pre-theatre menu devoted to esoteric Victorian specialities (two courses for £18.37!) – anyone for
‘hochepot’ soup, rabbit and wallfish (aka snail) pie or Savoy cakes with oranges? If the Eurocentric wine list doesn't appeal, check out the terrific craft beers.
Mark Hix's career seems to get better & better. After leaving Caprice Holdings in late 2007, he formed Restaurants Etc Limited with business partner Ratnesh Bagdai & launched Hix Oyster & Chop House in Smithfield as well as Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis; he also helped to mastermind the launch of The Albemarle (now Hix Mayfair) in Brown's Hotel & opened his self-named flagship Hix in Soho during 2009. He learned his trade under Anton Edelmann, Vaughan Archer & Anton Mosimann at The Dorchester, before taking up his first head chef job at the Candlewick Room in London, aged just 22. From there he became head chef at Le Caprice, stepping into an executive chef role in 1990. His hearty British cooking is now among the most recognisable in the capital. As well as penning a weekly column for The Independent's Saturday magazine, he has written six cookery books. The latest, British Seasonal Food, was published in autumn 2008.
Essential Details for Hix Mayfair
Address:Brown's Hotel, 33 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BP