We chose a balmy summer evening to check out some art and sample good food at the recently opened Newport Street Gallery by celebrity British artist Damien Hirst.
This was also our fourth visit to a Mark Hix establishment having previously been to Hix Soho, Hix Oyster and Chop House and Tramshed.
After Tramshed, this is another successful collaboration between Hirst and Hix.
On the day of our visit, we saw the exhibition ‘Jeff Koons Now’ – installations from this well known American artist with his imaginative creation of ‘balloon animals’ , ‘play-doh’ and other inflatable objects using stainless steel and aluminium.
What was impressive about each of these pieces was the intelligent use of hard materials to mimic the shiny, metallic and ductile properties of vinyl and latex.
The Newport Street gallery itself was a perfect blank canvas to Koons’s colourful work.
The architecture of the space is stark and minimalistic, with white walls, minimal fixtures and high ceilings.
Natural light from skylights as well as artificial lighting is used within this cavernous space.
There are a total of six galleries, interconnected across two double height floors via some spectacularly designed spiral staircases.
The space is bright and airy; a perfect exhibition space to be in. Entry to the gallery is free and it is a great way to soak up some art and culture for the evening.
For the latter part of our visit, we were booked for dinner at Hirst and Hix’s Pharmacy 2.
It is a very intriguing and uniquely designed restaurant.
Walls were shelves filled with medicines bottles and prescription boxes, stained glass windows designed with DNA strands, bar counter tops filled with surgical gloves and cabinets with scalpels and other medical paraphernalia .
A slightly bizarre, somewhat macabre and twisted, but nevertheless fun setting for dinner!
Starters were Isle of Wight tomatoes with burratina and bush basil salad (£7.25) for Husband. The tomatoes were fresh and the Burratina fragrant so Husband was happy.
I opted for the Brik a l’oeuf de Canard with rose harissa (£6.95), which was a soft poached duck egg enclosed in crispy thin filo pastry. The harissa perfectly complimented the runny yolk and put the whole dish together.
For my main, I chose the Launceston spring lamb cutlets (£22.50) with fregola which came with a tomato and herb salad. I also ordered some buttered mash as a side (£4.25). The cutlets were tender and there were some good combination of flavours to suit my palate.
Husband ordered the steak salad with crispy shallots and horseradish, which was again well cooked with a side of chips (£4.25). Faultless.
For desserts we ordered a raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake to share (£4). It was inhaled in 60 seconds!
All the food was really high quality and the restaurant was buzzing on a Saturday with lot of exhibition visitors stopping by for cocktails after.
We had a very enjoyable evening overall. I would highly recommend visiting Newport Street Gallery which is an impressive architectural space just on its own. Pharmacy 2 is an excellent contemporary restaurant – good food and great interiors provide a perfect finale to the whole exhibition experience !