LOCAL chef and restaurateur Mark Hix MBE will open The Fox Inn in the historic hamlet of Corscombe when lockdown is lifted in December, the second opening from Hix this year.
Following the success of The Oyster & Fish House which opened in Lyme Regis in July, the 17th century pub will open its doors on December 10.
Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Grade II listed building is set amongst rolling hills and woodland, just four miles from Beaminster and 40 minutes from Hix’s fish and seafood restaurant in Lyme Regis.
The pub was bought by local residents Eva and the late Ray Harvey in 2012 to save it from being turned into housing and to preserve the hamlet’s history.
“The owners of the pub have been family friends for many years,” said Mark.
“When they offered me the lease, I thought it could be a great opportunity, despite these uncertain times that we are in.
“It will be my first pub so it’s an exciting new project for me in the countryside where I’ll be serving local meat and game along with some British pub classics, a contrast to the fish and seafood offering in Lyme.”
The Fox Room and Bill’s Garden Room, named after Hix’s late grandfather, will seat 35 covers serving local seasonal food. Drinks and bar snacks, including Forde Abbey pheasant club sandwich and Poole cockles with aged vinegar, can be enjoyed in front of the open fire.
The restaurant menu will be focussed on meat and game sourced from the surrounding area, including rabbit brawn with piccalilli, gamekeeper’s hotpot with pickled red cabbage, and a traditional roast every Sunday.
The menu will also feature locally caught fish and Hix favourites, such as Smoked salmon ‘Hix Cure’, which will be cured and smoked on the premises.
The drinks list will take you on a tour of the South West with local beers, wines and spirits taking centre stage.
After a small refurbishment next spring, The Fox will also offer overnight stays; offering two double rooms, designed by Mark with the inimitable Hix style.
Known for championing local and artisanal producers, in the new year Hix will also host a farmers’ market showcasing the best of the produce from the local area.
Mark said: “With all the challenges that we are facing now, it’s great to be able to focus on an exciting new project. It’s important to me that I keep The Fox as a traditional local pub with great food and drink. Since lockdown in spring the pub has only been open three days a week, so I am looking forward to opening six days a week for the locals and visitors to the area to enjoy once more.”
The Fox Inn will be open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 10pm, with food served all day, and Sunday 11am to 5pm for food, with bar snacks and drinks available from 5pm to 10pm Sunday nights.
Making a comeback
Mark, who grew up in West Bay and now lives in Charmouth, is frequently lauded as one of London’s most eminent restaurateurs with an unrivalled knowledge of ingredients with provenance. He received an MBE for services to hospitality, appointed within the New Year’s Honours 2017 list.
He is the author of a number of cookbooks on British cuisine, including ‘Mark Hix on Baking’, ‘Hix Oyster & Chop House’, ‘British Regional Food’, which received a Guild of Food Writers’ Award and the Simon the André Simon Book Award – Special Commendation, ‘British Seasonal Food’, which was named The Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Book of the Year in 2009, and his latest book ‘HOOKED’.
Between 2008 and 2020 he had a number of restaurants including HIX Oyster & Chop House, Hixter, Tramshed, Mark’s Bar and HIX Soho in London and HIX Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis. The restaurants went into administration in April 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Mark has made a successful comeback, launching the HIX Oyster & Fish Truck in Morcombelake in June 2020 selling wet fish and seafood from Lyme Bay Reserve fishermen.
He also became director of Food and Drink at city stalwart 1 Lombard Street, London in July 2020, and in the same month opened The Oyster & Fish House on the site that was formerly HIX Oyster & Fish House, in Lister Gardens, Lyme Regis, serving locally caught fish and seafood and seasonal produce from the South West.
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