It's not every day you get to meet David Hasselhoff, but then it's not every day you get to eat at a restaurant run by The Independent Magazine's very own Mark Hix.
I've often thought of Mark as the Derren Brown of haute cuisine – as, when the occasion demands it, he can make a glass of wine disappear in the blink of an eye. But then Mark is something of a legend in the London restaurant world, and having steered Caprice Holdings – owners of The Ivy, J Sheekey, Scott's and other top restaurants – through thick and, er, thick, for 17 years, he left two years ago to concentrate on his own projects. Since then, he's taken on the role of director of food at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair, launched the award-winning Hix Oyster and Chop House in Smithfield and opened the Hix Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis.
But none of them was ever patronised by the Hoff. Hasselhoff was actually in Mark's newest place, Hix, a vast café-style restaurant in Soho's Brewer St that has already become the place to be seen. On the day I visited, the actor James Nesbitt, the designer Ozwald Boateng and the writer Tom Parker Bowles were all there, but the room lit up when the Hoff walked in. It was like some sort of visitation. And verily we were blessed.
Hix has been compared to some of those restaurants in Berlin that have been converted from banks, while others think it looks more like a modernist French brasserie dropped into New York's SoHo (that was me). Designed by Martin Brudnizki, it has a breezy, open, café feel, while the menu is full of Hix's traditional modern-British dishes, with a big emphasis on seafood. There is a long metal bar – so 1990! – with bespoke mobiles (by Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst among others) hovering above. And in the basement lies a slick, eastern-European-style bar – where, if you wish, you can drink a Slow Comfortable Oligarch out of a stainless-steel tankard while listening to Flesh and Blood-period Roxy Music.
As for the Hoff, he is a top fellah. And a recent convert to Hixworld. "I love London, and I love your restaurant," he told Mark, beaming from tanned ear to tanned ear. "But you guys really do drink, don't you?"
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'Reuse content