Chef Mark Hix is a man famous for making British food cool by pulling together local, seasonal ingredients to create simple but most enjoyable gastronomic flavours. The man behind the wildly popular Hix Soho spoke to Hg2 about his new venture, Hix Belgravia, and how British cooking has changed over the years.
This is your third restaurant in London. How does Hix Belgravia differ from your other restaurants?
It’s the fourth as there is also Albermarle at Browns Hotel. Belgravia offers a more international menu – it features a number of my favourite dishes that I’ve experienced on my travels around the world.
What was the choice behind partnering with Thompson Belgraves? What is it you like about the hotels?
I am a fan of what they do, the hotels they have in New York – easy, relaxed places but executed with passion and quality, a similar approach that we take in our restaurants.
How do you think the restaurant scene in London has changed since your first restaurant opened? And where do you think it is going over the next couple of years?
London changes all the time and it always amazes me how many restaurants open. The past five years have been especially interesting – it feels as though there have been more restaurant openings through a recession than there have been at any other time. But it’s been really healthy as it has paved way for a more relaxed and less expensive form of dining – something that London was definitely lacking. I think restaurateurs have a greater confidence in diners these days, customers are interested and are happy to trust and be guided by the chef or restaurateur which means we can do more interesting things rather than trying to please all of the people all of the time.
Your food has famously made British cooking fashionable again. Why do you think that is?
I don’t think I can take credit for that alone by any means. Chefs like Fergus Henderson [of St. John Bar and Restaurant] were doing it long before I was. We all help each other – the chefs help create a marketplace for better quality ingredients, which, in turn, inspires producers and farmers and vice versa, their innovation inspires us.