Tag Archives: restaurants

Hixter Bankside

I’m a big fan of Hix in Soho, which is probably why Mark Hix just opened up a whole new Hix right next to my office. For those of you that don’t stalk me regularly, that’s near Borough Market (London Bridge). It’s called Hixter though, not Hix.

 

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The restaurant has only just opened – it’s housed within an old metal box factory, and it’s a bit of a tardis, as it happens. Walk through a huge bar and there’s a big, light restaurant where you can see the chefs bustling about. There’s also, of course, much fancy looking artwork (Hix’s other restaurants include pieces by masters like Damian Hirst).

 

The idea is simple: it’s chicken or steak to share.

 

You can order bits of meat in various sizes, all sourced with perfect precision from (mostly) Great British producers. There’s mighty-marbled Himalayan salt dry-aged steak from hand-selected cows and barn-reared chicken from Swainson House Farm in Lancashire.

 

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There is also another Mark’s Bar in the basement, but it’s much bigger than the Soho version. This one’s even got table football and a tiny tube carriage you can get drunk in! There’s a market for that now, what with actual drinking on the tube being banned in a terrible oversight a few years ago.

 

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The restaurant currently does a lunch menu for a perfectly reasonable £9.95, with quite a big selection of dishes (sandwiches, burgers, salads etc.)

 

We tried a few of the sandwiches – the Cock ‘n’ Bull – that’s a half chicken, half steak sandwich, the Swainson Farm chicken sandwich and a chicken, Sillfield Farm bacon and summer vegetable salad. All came accompanied with more chips than four people could possibly eat, which is never a bad thing.

 

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The food was, on the whole, a little underwhelming. The sandwiches were cold (we didn’t think they were supposed to be) and the chicken in the salad was a bit dry, but on the whole it wasn’t bad. If Hix’s other restaurants are anything to go by I’m sure things will improve…

 

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££

 

6/10

 

Gluten Free? Yes – quite a few options.

 

Hixter Bankside
16 Great Guildford Street,
SE1 0HS

http://www.hixterbankside.co.uk/

 

 

Hixter Bankside on Urbanspoon

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Bar Review: Garlic & Shots, Soho

Do you really like garlic? Do you like garlic so much than you spend your nights dreaming of it, hoping and wishing that one day you might be able to live in a house carved entirely of garlic, with a voluptuous garlic wife and adoring miniature garlic children?

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Gillray’s Steakhouse, Southbank

The Southbank’s Marriott County Hall is home to Gillray’s – a rather swish steakhouse with some of the most impressive views you’re likely to find in London Town.

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Yalla Yalla, Shoreditch Pop-Up

These days Londoners love a good pop-up. Nothing makes a London dweller happier than the thought of eating food in a converted shack, out of a van or on a street corner. It is a very cool thing to do, you see. Very chic, as they say, before, all being well, they are punched squarely on the nose.

Anyhow I digress, here’s a pop-up and it’s actually quite good. It’s called Yalla Yalla, an annoying name if ever there was one.

 

Yalla Yalla, Shoreditch Pop-Up
Yalla Yalla, Shoreditch Pop-Up

 

Yalla Yalla serves Beirut Street Food. And it’s in Shoreditch. And it is indeed housed within what looked to me like a warehouse of some sort. There is also shisha, and a wine stall. I know, so far it sounds positively hideous but do bear with – it’ll turn out alright in the end.

The menu is a condensed version of Yalla Yalla’s full grown restaurants, with a few mezze bits and bobs and main meaty dishes of what are essentially poshed up kebabs. There are also wraps and lemonade, which a positively delighted chap told us he had made himself. He really was pleased about this.

 

Yalla Yalla Mini Menu
Yalla Yalla Mini Menu

 

I wasn’t expecting much from the food, I’ll be honest. I’m judgmental like that. But I was wrong, oh yes very wrong indeed! We tried the Chicken Shawarma (grilled thin slices of marinated chicken, grilled tomato, sumac, parsley and red pepper salad)  and Lahem Shawarma (same as above, but with lamb). Both of these were very impressive, actually. Portions were gigantic also, so come hungry.

 

Beirut Street Food at Yalla Yalla
Beirut Street Food at Yalla Yalla

 

Atmosphere wise it is undeniably cool, and on a Monday night was heaving so clearly a hit with the Shoreditch bunch. Give it a try, it’s here for the summer. 

Gluten Free? Lots of options have been designed with gluten free folk in mind and the staff do know their stuff, but I would recommend heading to one of their proper restaurants as the pop-up only serves a condensed version of the full menu.

£

8/10

186 Shoreditch High Street

London

E1 6HU

http://www.yalla-yalla.co.uk/

Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food on Urbanspoon

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Wagamama, London Bridge

If you’re looking to pay restaurant prices to eat in a canteen at vastly different times to your companions you’ll love Wagamama, an inexplicably popular Japanese style eatery where the food comes in vats and you are sometimes expected to eat using an actual ladle.

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Charlie Stocker Pop-Up, Clerkenwell

Remember Charlie Stocker? He was that little one on Masterchef. Looked about 12. Severed his hand in a horror-film-esque manner in the semi finals. Well now he’s ventured into the big wide world of pop-up restaurants. Stocker is a big fan of foraging, which is when you go to the woods to find things to eat which are not bark or slugs. It’s one of those ‘don’t try this at home’ type things, I reckon. I’d undoubtedly poison myself and die within hours.

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Honest Burgers, Brixton

Brixton is cool now. Did you know? As if they were worried about people disputing this fact the good people of Brixton have taken the trouble to fill their undercover market with trendy foodie establishments.

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Floridita, Soho

Floridita is a rather glamorous Latin-type restaurant by D&D London. Inspired by the famous Havanan bar El Floridita (birthplace of the daiquiri don’t you know?) this is Soho’s answer to Cuban cuisine. It’s not wholly awful, but it nearly is.

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Descend a spiral staircase and you are confronted with a restaurant which goes on and on and on. In fact it looks very much like it should be a club and some idiot’s put tables in there as some sort of hilarious joke. Atmosphere-wise though this is a good place for dates and romancing, and on our visit there was some surprisingly good singing going on too.

photo 2The bar has that same tiki hula girl barbie on smack theme as Mahiki, but it’s quite fun and the cocktails are reasonably good. Beware though, the ‘mixologists’ here shall not be rushed, and like to spend a good 30-45 minutes on each drink. Pfft.

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Foodwise Floridita fared better than expected, but then Cuban cuisine is widely regarded as the worst in the Caribbean so I’m not sure what I did expect come to think of it. We began with smoked salmon and pork terrine. These were fairly good, and generous too. The terrine did come topped with a tiny square of weird jelly goo though, not sure what that was all about.

Terrine
Terrine

Then there was suckling pig and fillet of beef. This is where it all went a bit wrong. I received a huge mountain of beef, a man’s portion if you will. The boy however did not do so well and got a measly plate of piggy which made him all sad and disappointed in the face. His potatoes were also cold. Floridita appeared to hate him. My beef was good though, I shared it because I am kind.

Suckling Pig
Suckling Pig

Puds were a lot better. The cheesecake was fine, although boy did say it was too cheesy but I think he was just grumpy by this point. Fruit sorbet was a lot more exciting than a sorbet ought to be, so points for that.

Cheesecake - 'Too Cheesy'
Cheesecake – ‘Too Cheesy’

Then we had coffee. Unfortunately boy’s coffee was also cold. He burst into tears so we had to leave.

The Verdict: It’s quite fun, the bar is good and the cocktails aren’t bad at all, but the food is certainly not super and often not actually hot, so I wasn’t a massive fan.

5/10

£££

Floridita on Urbanspoon

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