Mark Hix has had a good recession. No, scratch that: he’s had an amazing recession. The former head chef of the Caprice group opened the first restaurant of his own, Hix Oyster & Chop House, in April 2008. You’d have thought that was just about the worst time imaginable to start a new business, but Hix has had nothing but success and acclaim, and his business has grown at astonishing speed. Four years later, Hix has seven restaurants and a bar, all of them busy. That would be good going at any time, but in the face of the current headwinds it’s outstanding.
The most recent of these restaurants is Tramshed in Shoreditch. The building, built in 1905, was an electricity generating station for trams, and Hix has for some time had his eye on the place; an earlier attempt to buy it hit planning trouble, but he persevered. As soon as you walk in, you can see why: it’s a dramatic, high-ceilinged, open space, with a bar to one side and a gallery up above at the far end. Dominating it are two works by Damien Hirst: a vitrine of a cow with a chicken on its back at the front of the restaurant, and a painting of a cartoon cow and chicken at the back. They look expensive.
At this point, even the most casual walk-in customer may be starting to say to themselves: I wonder if this place has something to do with cows and chickens? The answer is yes. It has everything to do with cows and chickens. In fact, it has so much to do with cows and chickens that it has nothing to do with anything else. Roast chicken and steak are the only main courses on the menu. You can have a chicken to share between two of you, or a sirloin steak of 250g, 500g, 750g or 1kg. And that’s it, save for chicken or steak salad, for customers determined to be difficult. The bareness of this is pretty startling; it’s brave, I suppose, but it’s going out on quite a limb. What if you don’t feel like roast chicken or steak? You’re in the wrong restaurant, simple as that. Are people going to catch on to the idea? Hmm…
Strange Random Steak Quote:
“My favorite animal is steak.” ― Fran Lebowitz
- Grace and Flavour: Tramshed (standard.co.uk)
- Tramshed: Mark Hix’s new joint is restaurant of the week (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Damien Hirst Sculpture at London Restaurant Tramshed (trendland.com)
- Damien Hirst artwork for London restaurant is not for PETA’s veggie lovers (bornrich.com)
- A load of Cock and Bull? (beatsandbobs.com)
- Damien Hirst Creates Formaldehyde Artwork For New London Restaurant [Pics] (psfk.com)
- On the buffers at Tramshed (kitchengraffiti.wordpress.com)
- True Brit: The Independent’s Mark Hix celebrates a decade creating classic recipes (independent.co.uk)
When he’s not rocking out, Jon Bon Jovi heads up the JBJ Soul Foundation, and today the charity group unveils its latest effort, the “pay-what-you-can” Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, New Jersey. The aim is to provide an alternative to fast food, with dishes like beet salad, gumbo, roast chicken, and barbecued salmon (full menu below); anyone who’s livin’ on a prayer and can’t make a cash donation can volunteer instead.
Is this really a restaurant for everyone?
Yes. Let me change your mind, because you’re imagining a tray service type of soup kitchen and it’s the opposite. Picture the coolest brasserie in your hometown, that’s what this is. It’s the hottest-looking restaurant in this town. We have to get rid of a few stigmas attached to the word volunteering and making a difference.
Strange Random Restaurant Quote:
“The disparity between a restaurant’s price and food quality rises in direct proportion to the size of the pepper mill.” – Bryan Miller
- Jon Bon Jovi’s Charity Restaurant (q104.radio.com)
- Jon Bon Jovi Opens Pay What You Can Restaurant (alan.com)
- Jon Bon Jovi Opens Charity Restaurant (beatcrave.com)
- Jon Bon Jovi Opens ‘Pay-What-You-Can’ Restaurant in New Jersey (foxnews.com)
- Jon Bon Jovi opens ‘pay what you can’ restaurant (guardian.co.uk)
- Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen Opening Celebration [Photos] (wcbsfm.radio.com)
- Jon Bon Jovi Opens Charity Restaurant (rollingstone.com)
- Jon Bon Jovi Opens Charity Restaurant (noisecreep.com)
- Bon Jovi Opens Restaurant with a Soul (inquisitr.com)
- Jon Bon Jovi’s charity restaurant opens in New Jersey (music-mix.ew.com)
Many people would go a long way to get a good portion of fish & chips. Now it seems that they may have to, following the third consecutive victory of a Scottish “chippy” (fish & chip shop) in the National Fish & Chip Shop of the Year competition. An added reason for celebration is that 2010 is also the 150th anniversary of the great British standard dish.
The winner was Giovanni Fionda of The Atlantic Fast Food chippy in Coatbridge, Glasgow. Although it was the first time he had entered the competition, his parents (seen here in the photo) have a long experience of running fish & chip shops. Second place went to Finnegan’s Fish Bar in Porthcawl, South Wales, with Midlands regional winner, The Great British Eatery in Birmingham coming in third place.
Entrants were judged not only on the quality of their product and restaurant, but also on other areas of business such as responsible sourcing, customer satisfaction or community spirit.
More information on the competition can be found at the organiser’s website – seafish.org
Strange Random Fish Quote:
The Great British fried breakfast, as found in London cafés, airport restaurants and English bars in tourist areas, is fast becoming the trendy way to start your day in New York, according to the New York Magazine. They describe it as a