As a birthday treat my husband took me for dinner at Hix at the Tramshed last night. Before I start on the food, a note about the building – it really is very cool in the way in which only re-claimed industrial buildings can be. And whilst some may think this is now old hat, I still love the feeling that before you sat at a table to eat your dinner, this building was in fact a tramshed used to store equipment for the trams, dating back to the early 20th century. The room is huge and vaulted, with cream tiling (I’m not sure if it’s all original, but the effect is great nonetheless) and of course the centrepiece of the room is Damien Hirst’s “Cock and Bull” – a huge bull with a cockrell on its back, preserevd in a tank of formaldehyde. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty eye-catching. Also, given I’ve realised that the husband and I are probabably better classed as wannabe hipsters/on the very outer fringes of hipsterville, it makes us feel cool to eat there (if only because we are observing the people who are genuinely infinitely cooler than ourselves), so at the least, it’s good for the ego.
Now on to the food.
Much has been made of the fact that Hix at the Tramshed only serves two things: (1) steak or (2) a whole chicken (complete with feet) – so don’t go if you’re a veggie. It is a bold move to have a menu with such limited choice, but clearly the idea is catching on – for example Burger and Lobster which has now opened shop at four locations across town (and to be fair £20 for Lobster IS a bargain – less of a bargain for a burger though).
So, back to the steak or chicken. The set up is straightfoward – you either order steak as 250g, 500g or 750g (prices £20, £40 and £60 respectively) and this price includes a bowl of chips. Or (and this is a bargain really) a whole chicken, which will serve 2-3 people, complete with chips, for £25. There is then a small selection of sides priced at £3.95 (gem salad/sprout tops/caramelised onions) on our visit and a selection of 3 starters (you have to order all three – at £7.95 per person). Given the festive party season and having already been to a Christmas party for drinks and nibbles, we had to pass on the starters, but they sounded good (yorkshire pud with creamed brocoli/salmon croquettes/apple and stilton salad) and therefore went straight to the meaty main.
Steak is delicious if done well and I am pleased to report that the steak is indeed good at Tramshed (which is just as well when the best part of your menu is devoted to it). Cooked medium-rare to perfrection and served up on a wooden slab, the meat had a pleasing crispy crust with a salty edge to it and was succulent and juciy on the inside. A 500g steak with the chips and a couple of sides is just the right amount of food to feel full but not unpleasantly so, and to leave room for dessert.
Dessert was yummy too – I stuck to traditional fare and had an apple and rhubarb pie with custard, served up in its own mini-custard jug. The inner child in my husband came out to play and he opted for chocolate fondue with marshmallows (which he also attempted to toast on the tealight keeping the chocolate warm)!
So all in all a delicious meal, demonstrating that keeping things simple with a focus on quality ingredients is a recipe for success. Good value? If you value good steak, then yes, since quality steak does not come cheap. The chicken certainly is a bargain too. What pushes to cost up is the drinks – house wines start around £20 and cocktails are around £8-£10 too. But if you go with a group of friends and share a mix of chicken and steak and it’s not too boozy, I reckon you’d come out at about £25-35 a head, which isn’t bad going.