Last rated: 01/03/2012
The Hix Oyster and Fish House is the seaside outpost of Mark Hix’s small but perfectly formed empire of eating places. In an elevated position overlooking the harbour in Lyme Regis, there are panoramic views across the Jurassic coast framed by large picture windows that also flood the small, simple dining-room with light.
The kitchen is run by head chef Phil Eagle and his team who offer a changing menu based on an enviable immediate access to the local catch. Rock oysters are sourced from Portland Royal and Brownsea Island. Typical dishes might include Somerset cider cured sardines with Kingston Black sauce (£7.25), Torbay cuttlefish croquettes with caper mayonnaise, Fish House pie with a lettuce heart and wild herb salad (£14.75) and whole Lyme Bay mackerel with a shaved fennel salad. The more adventurous eater is rewarded with dishes such as cod cheek and pumpkin curry (£17.50), but a menu staple remains Webster’s fish fingers with chips and mushy peas (£14.95).
Less familiar varieties of fish might include Manx queenies, Brixham gurnard, Torbay megrim sole and Bigbury Bay brill. The meat-lovers’ choice is Looke Farm rib steak with Scrumpy-fried onions. The wine list is short but well structured - try the white Coddington Bacchus from Herefordshire for a refreshing change or Hix’s own label white and rosé Tonnix from Douro.
In the customary Hix manner, customers are also gently introduced to intriguing discoveries of ancient and wild flavours such as sea beet, sea purslane, sea aster, pennywort and stonecrop (no, we don’t know what it is either). The charmingly esoteric tone extends to dessert: sea buckthorn berry blancmange anyone? And Julian Temperley’s cider brandy chocolate truffles are practically compulsory.