Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

It’s a while since I’ve written a post about a restaurant, but a couple of weekends ago I found a restaurant worth blogging about – HIX Soho in Brewer Street, a stone’s throw away from the bustling Piccadilly Circus. HIX opened its doors in 2009 and soon after won London’s Time Out Award for Best New Restaurant in 2010. The restaurant boasts Mark Hix’s signature daily-changing menu of seasonal British food, which was all very lovely, but it was the interiors that caught my eye – or more specifically, the artwork!

The red neon sign, Ivy-like windows and a typically Soho wooden door beckon you to the restaurant – a covert entrance leading into a space for ‘those in the know’.

HixCollage1

The restaurant has a clean, calm, stylish feel to it – a long, mirrored bar area, the floor a rustic combination of wood and tile, and the bentwood chairs and lightly padded banquettes the comfortable side of austere. The table furniture is elegantly unpretentious. Art hangs from the walls and ceiling, giving the space a wonderful edgy, quirky vibe – all in all a fitting ode to the Soho surroundings.

Hix interior

In the brochure that describes the artwork, Hix states that “Food and art are the perfect marriage”. The artwork is an eclectic collection of mobiles and neons from the owner’s celeb artist chums including Damien Hirst, Gary Webb and Sarah Lucas among others. As explained by our slick waiter, Finbar, the artists provide the artwork for free, and then get to eat in the restaurant for free in return – sounds like a good deal to me!

Most of the art is hanging from the ceiling, in the form of mobiles – due to the lack of wall space in the restaurant. I recognised Damien Hirst’s Boullibalanced Fish mobile, but some of my favourite pieces were Stephen Webster’s Jaws and Shezad Dawood’s neon-lit Flamingo, suspended above the bar. The scene stealer was an autumnal painting by the late Angus Fairhurst.

Hix painting

Downstairs is the celebrated Mark’s with its apothecary bar, taxidermied fox and an eccentric cocktail list designed by Nick Strangeway.

The food was fantastic too. I stuck to the menu of the day, with an incredibly generous prawn cocktail for starters, a very tasty roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and delicious veg for my main course, and washed down with a glass of pudding wine instead of a pudding.

Hix roast beef

It was a wonderful way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon celebrating my sister-in-law’s birthday.

What restaurant would you recommend for an interiors and food combination?

“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living”
Dione Lucas

Images 1 and 2 © Nicola Holden. Other images: 3, 4, 5 and 6.

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