Tramshed - HIX
Tramshed | 32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3LX | 0207 749 0478
As soon as I step foot in this place I love it. Since the ‘Bains Douches’ in Paris in the mid 80’s onwards I’ve loved an industrial setting. It’s loud. Very loud and the buzz is of a busy gastronome urbain - a Wolseley, but with none of the smooth edges.
We are sat and greeted with two eye catching cocktails recommended by my old mate Nick Strangeway who is Hix’s talisman bar executive. Nick is now a world famous ‘mixologist’-possibly THE most famous; a rum based cocktail called ‘Zombie’ arrived with a flaming lime and ‘Clover Leaf Tea’ an Earl Grey tea and gin mix. They were just the right balance of alcohol and beautiful layered flavours - just what one needed to kick start the evening.
The menu is simple, really simple – chicken or steak with 3 starters that arrive as one. Red sea prawns, Yorkshire pud with creamed cauliflower and chard, curd, raisins with a tangy dressing; coast, industrial north and woody forest. It was a real mix of punchy earthy flavours with the delicate subtle taste of the prawns cutting through.
Starters were helped along with a white Portuguese wine put together by Hix and Mitch Tonks- Tonnix- with a label care of Ms Emmin. It’s a Quinta de la Rosa from the Douro. Weirdly I picked it before realising it was one of Hix’s own. There was a real rustic feel to it with an oily after taste left on the palate, just what we wanted.
Four our mains we chose chicken salad and a 250g steak, accompanied by fries and scrumpy fried onions. It arrived in double quick time. Service here is beyond efficient and this a very busy Friday. The salad had two wonderful twists -not mentioned on the menu- chicken crackling and what can only be described as a bread sauce croquette. It's crisp, fresh leaves were perfectly dressed with zesty dressing and the roast chicken was succulent and perfectly cooked. The steak arrived on a slab of wood -as it so often does now- with a ramekin of béarnaise. Bosh! It was delicious. Of course it was, this is what Hix does so well, very good quality simple food. Looking round everyone else seemed to be thinking the same thing too. It really does have a great buzz to the atmosphere, with the whole roast chicken menu option theatrically served up with legs akimbo! Quite a sight when you have them quite literally flying around the restaurant overhead. How the staff manages to stay so attentive and charming throughout the night is a miracle, but they do with consummate professionalism. Our mains were washed down with the Red "Tonnix" wine. It is more superior to the white with a refined, complex taste that left a real warmth on the palate. Job done. Desserts were raspberry ripple cheesecake and cherry yoghurt ice cream. Both were stunning, the ice cream balanced the fine line of incredibly creamy with wonderfully succulent cherries throughout and the cheesecake was deep dish with a generously creamy middle and light buttery biscuit base.
What’s to say really except Hix has done it again. The man brings you not only great food but a memorable dining experience too, just like his audacious previous employers Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, but without all the fancy thrills.
I could quibble about there not being enough bernaise or the chips tasting too industrial. But what’s the point? This place is the business. Not for liberal lefty veggies but, more for hungry triathletes. Go, but make sure you book ahead; it’s the best new joint in town.