We went to Hixter Bankside on its second evening. It’s located near Union Street Café, though proved to be a little hard to find. Having eventually located it the vibe is rather like its near neighbour, in that they are both in old industrial buildings, have decent amounts of open space, cool staff etc. Union Street is a bit more distressed industrial chic, Hixter a bit more wannabe art gallery, but both are perfectly acceptable. Apparently, though clearly I can’t confirm this, there is also some very ‘interesting’ (rude) wallpaper in the ladies toilets.
The staff were a little under prepared, but then it was only their second day, and everyone tried really hard; however, watching some of the attempts to carve chickens etc. suggested that some of them were fairly new to this. Everyone is very polite and pleasant though, and all (except for managers and chefs) dressed in black with t-shirts with slogans/pictures on the back. And, despite the unprepared air, there weren’t any problems, things arrived as expected and there weren’t any awkward gaps.
The menu is pretty simple, at least for main courses, and generally you will be eating roast chicken or steak. But let’s do starters first – you don’t get offered bread beforehand and water only comes in jugs not bottles – and I had smoked salmon with soda bread, nice quality ingredients, but not really a test as if you get the ingredients right its hard to go too far wrong. Main course was a half share in a medium cooked chateaubriand – it’s excellent quality (as good as anywhere in London), though the price is unfortunately towards the Mayfair end of the scale; however, the chicken, and most of the other steaks, are far more reasonable. The steak was perfectly decent, but they didn’t get the wonderful charred taste you’ll get at the likes of City Social, it was just a bit bland. It came with chips, which sadly were a bit too mass produced for my liking and we added excellent salt and vinegar fried onion rings and garlic field mushrooms. Dessert was blueberry cheesecake – I admit to dreading it thinking it might be unimaginative, but it was absolutely excellent and probably the best I’ve had anywhere, really light and full of genuine flavour and with the welcome addition of white chocolate swirls.
Value for money is dependent on the choices you make; we had drinks (gin and vodka) beforehand, wine and also went for the priciest options and added lots of side dishes, and despite that still managed to only spend around £80 per head, but with some better planning you could get a good evening for probably not much more than half that.
Like Mr Schwarzenegger I’ll be back.