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Pioneering Chef Mark Hix Says Restaurant Group’s Future Was Taken Out of His Hands

The Covid-19 crisis has pushed struggling restaurant group Hix over the edge

Chef Mark Hix stands in his kitchen, as his London restaurants go into administration
Mark Hix in his home kitchen
Hix Restaurants [Official Photo]

As the novel coronavirus outbreak claims another restaurant victim, renowned British chef Mark Hix says the future of his eponymous, lauded restaurant group was taken out of his hands. Hix Restaurants, which operates four sites in London — Hix Oyster and Chop House in Farringdon, Mark’s Bar in Soho, Tramshed in Shoreditch, and Hixter Bankside — is in administration, with Hix claiming that “this was a Board decision, and I have to point out, done without my support.”

In a post illustrated by a suitably moody image of Hix walking along a windswept beach, he says:

“The hardest decision for WSH & Mark Hix Restaurants Limited has been to appoint an administrator and to close down the restaurants and HIX Townhouse, which in turn has made my team redundant without being able to take advantage of the Government furlough scheme.”

“Apart from tough times and sad times for me, it is nothing compared to what so many of my team, and others that are reliant on our business, are going through. Over time we have genuinely become a large family and to lose all of my team like this has been incredibly difficult and upsetting.

One day, I will reopen in some way and I want to say a big thank you to all of my team, my suppliers and our guests who’ve been so supportive over the years and a huge thanks to those that have been in touch with their good wishes.”

Hix, awarded an MBE in 2017, both stands alongside the likes of the late Gary Rhodes, Sally Clarke, Fergus Henderson, and Simon Hopkinson as an advocate for pride in British cooking, and breaks from them. As chef director of Caprice Holdings he oversaw the then-spectacular Ivy, the marine glamour of J Sheekey; going out on his own, he opened seven restaurants in four years at the height of the recession, with Tramshed’s colossal Damien Hirst artworks and cavernous ceilings as Hix as the conscientious purchasing of beef and chicken for a menu which then deliberately offered little else.

Down the road, The Rivington Bar and Grill — now Blacklock Shoreditch — that Hix opened on his own steam (and unbeknownst to Caprice) in 2005 took the unadorned route and earned high praise from Jay Rayner for its simplicity, which restored his “faith in restaurants”; it was also a Shoreditch early adopter that then served one of the city’s best burgers. Restaurants at Mayfair’s Browns Hotel, Selfridges, and in the City have followed and since closed; Hix Soho closed earlier this year.

That restaurant also had an ace in the hole in the shape of Mark’s Bar, whose three-ingredient approach to drinks and “yes, this place is cool” vibe dovetailed with Hix’s bridging of two schools of London restaurant.

J Sheekey

28-32 Saint Martin's Court, , England WC2N 4AL 020 7240 2565 Visit Website

Blacklock Shoreditch

28-30 Rivington Street, , England EC2A 3DZ 020 7739 2148 Visit Website

Hixter

16 Great Guildford Street, , England SE1 0HS 020 7921 9508 Visit Website

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