Monday, September 6, 2010

Hix Oyster & Chop House

"Quail's egg shooters with bacon and chives?" My dining partner, Joe raised an eyebrow. "That sounds rather exciting".

Exciting could have been a euphemism for sickeningly gross or plain weird. But to give him his dues, he went in all guns blazing for the first one. "Wow". That one word made me anxious to finish of the next little eggy delight so I could tip it down and knock it back. And when I did, I understood exactly what Joe meant.

Think about it, it's nothing groundbreaking. Eggs, bacon and chives are not the most unusual pairing, but I'd never had them in this way before: the quails eggs seductively runny and contrasting beautifully with the texture of the crunchy bacon and the freshness of the chives.

"By Jove, this Hix is a genius", I cried. Or I would of if plunged in the depths of the 19th century. As it was, I was as enthusiastic as my 21st century self would allow and promptly munched down the next three eggs whilst reluctantly giving Joe his allotted share.

It was only going to get better... the second dish we tried that night was Lamb chops with cucumber - another undisputed culinary winner. Truth be told, we were left nibbling the bones and licking our fingers in an attempt to relive those glorious lamb-y moments of greed and stomach satisfaction.

The pattern has continued over the last few weeks. I've tried the Mutton Chop Curry, chicken and lobster pie and a rather elusive dish called Heaven and Earth, which marries black pudding with apples and mashed potato.

Hix Oyster & Chop House cookbook is unashamedly a book for meat eaters. There are vegetarian recipes floating about but if you are of a herbivore persuasion, you'd be better off with another book.

Meat lovers, however, will delight in the simple explanations and photographs of rarer cuts of meat that are often overlooked in modern kitchens - the basis of a very fulfilling trip to the butchers last week.

I've seen criticism that this book is for those unafraid to spend a lot of money on their dinners and to some degree, this is true. But there are a lot of dishes using cheaper ingredients that aren't in any way overpriced for a weeknight dinner. If you are looking to treat yourself to a full out feast, there's definitely scope to do that too...

Hix Oyster & Chop House
Love it: For those who appreciate the beauty of meat and want to try Hix's flavoursome dishes at home.
Hate it: Vegetarians. All those pictures of steaks will have them crying into their carrot soups.