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Book review: Hix Oyster & Chop House

Book review: Hix Oyster & Chop House
Hix Oyster & Chop House
Mark Hix
RRP £25.00
Mark Hix makes man food. And, as a woman, I absolutely love it. Big flavours, seasonal ingredients, old fashioned ingredients. It all just makes sense. Yet almost every page had me drooling anew- so simple, but so ingenious. Crackling's delicious, so why not a piscine version using salmon skin, or Deep fried scallop frills?
The book's not just a great collection of recipes, based on the menus at the Chop Houses in London's Smithfield market and Soho. It comes stuffed with practical information on topics like butchery, resplendent with full-colour photos. Not, perhaps, one for the squeamish.
Great for the rest of us, though. Hixy's one of the chefs whose voice comes through loud and clear through their food. There's a constant sense that this is how the man himself eats- I can fully imagine him sitting down to a late supper of Smoked haddock rabbit followed by a sneaky spoonful of the White Port and strawberry trifle stashed in the fridge.
Jason Lowe's photography is, as ever, spot on. Vibrant with colour and texture, it sets off the gutsy grub to a tee. Each recipe is preceded by a short introduction, together with longer anecdotes about the creation of Hix cure salmon, perhaps, or wise words on British tipples. In fact, I feel Hixy would be the perfect person to share a pint of Oyster ale with- a knowledgeable and convivial host.
The best books should always take you on a journey- and 'Hix's Oyster & Chop House' does just that. You're guided through chapters as you'd read the restaurant menu- Oysters, through Starters, Salads and Soups, snacks 'On Toast', Mains, Sides and hearty Puds. There's a recipe to suit all occasions, and for all times of the day- exactly what Hix has achieved with the venues themselves. Man food? Yes, for everyone.
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5 July 2010
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