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Friday, 9 March 2012

Mark's Bar at Belgraves, Belgravia


You know the score: on paper, someone ticks most boxes, yet you just can’t find it in yourself to fancy them? That’s me on my second date with Mark Hix’s new mezzanine bar at boutique hotel Belgraves. Spiritually, we’re suited: premium hooch informs cocktails by Rabelesian rinse jockey Nick Strangeway - he of historically hep hostelries The Atlantic, Che, Loungelover and, currently, of chef Hix’s clubbier, sexier Britart-peppered basement at the chef's fashionable Soho gaff. Quince gin concoction, Bride’s Kiss (£10.50); cider brandy-laced Temperley Sour; Monstrous Blood and Sand: Strangeway’s drinks take no prisoners, although my pal, Bradford Bob, a chip off Oliver Reid’s old block, claims his delicate gin fizz ‘wouldn’t get auntie Bella bladdered.’ Despite the ‘witty’ (read gratingly affected) monicker, Hix's 'snax’ and 'super snax' stack up, even if satisfying my blokeish appetite might max out the Amex. Eyeing a mini-pail of crispy squid (squidily diddly squat for £6.25) B.Bob sighs ‘no wonder London birds are such scrawny bints.’ What stops me from feeling the love here, is Tara Bernerd’s interior design: 60’s Mad Men; Patty Hewes-chic (Glenn Close's gimlet-eyed legal eagle in Damages); cool Britannia; chinoiserie; ethnic; yadda, yadda. Eclectic? Yes. Contrived, clenched, anal? Sexy? More beige, really.  I’m so superficial; I'd bin the potential love-of-my-life  simply for wearing questionable shoes. By this measure, I'd say a third date with Mark - in Belgravia, at least - is looking unlikely. 
Pont Street SW1 3189 4850 www.hixbelgravia.co.uk