Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon November 02 2015

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  • Gabe Zaldivar | November 2, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Dispatch: Getting An Artful Lesson at London's Hixter

    Dispatch: Getting An Artful Lesson at London's Hixter

    Photos by Gabe Zaldivar

    For those who like a little visual spice with their meat and potatoes, London’s Hixter is a spot you might want to check out.

    The restaurants in this part of town seem to gladly take on the role of art provocateur, which is no surprise as the herds of tourists that pass through are mostly headed to Tate Modern, checking out the flashing light-bedecked tunnels and planned graffiti along the way.

    What’s so ironic about this place is that the meals come slimmed down, akin to what you might get served for dinner at home: a sparsely garnished plate of meat, a side of chips as utilitarian as the silverware sidling the main course.  

    The chicken comes as a piece de resistance, triumphant and yearning to be carved by the wait staff’s skillful hands.

    Yet still, you dine under art by Charming Baker, and come back from the toilet with giggle-worthy tales of the naked portraits that greet those who are feeling the effects of a substantial wine list.

    I went here recently thanks to the kindness of the newly opened Hilton London Bankside, ready to show you the grandeur that lay south of the Thames.

    Entering, you walk up a flight of stairs and into a grand expanse, moving past tables with game boards set up and pristine tables laid out and prepared for weekend jocularity.

    It’s rather easy to have fun in this refreshing and open environment that deals in simple fare. But what it drums up it does so very well.

    But first, you will have to get over some of the fancier pieces, some of which have you thinking you died and went to some “Eyes Wide Shut” soiree.

    What you see above is, according to Facebook, "Faiths Leap" by Charming Baker. And according to the video below, depicts the struggle against “crippling fear.”

    This is the kind of nuanced measure you have hovering over you as you masticate a deliciously juicy cut of rib eye.

    And seeing as how this establishment dedicated to modern art is also a restaurant, I might as well discuss the particulars of the food.

    As I mentioned, the plating was a bit Spartan. In fact, I was half astonished that the food didn’t just come on out on paper plates.

    My rib steak came as such, a la carte and on an empty plate. Being in the place that I was, I assumed it was a commentary on modern predilection to over production and waste. Or perhaps this was how you get your steak and chips at this place.

    In either case, the plating, in a rather rare occurrence, was highly unnecessary. They could have brought the thing out on a napkin and I would have gnawed on it with my hands, it was that well cooked.

    Starting with the sweetcorn and chili fritters and a bit of steak tartare was lovely. I highly recommend if you enjoy things that are awesome.

    And the desserts were equally delightful — a shout out to the chocolate cake that was as warming as a bro hug from your closest pal.

    There isn’t much else to say, aside from the GIF-like moving digital image in the men’s restroom. It features naked women, which apparently aids the digestion in some fashion.

    And ladies, I heard whispers that you have equally scandalous wallpaper in your restroom, so, um, congratulations or something.

    In any case, Hixter shines as one London restaurant that can’t be defined easily. It’s suitable for huge parties, fantastic for intimate gatherings. It’s equal parts high art and theme park.

    The most important part is that it’s a load of fun and easy on the taste buds. If you are craving steak or chicken and enjoy a post-meal walk where you wonder, what was that all about? This is your place.

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Gabe Zaldivar The Main Course

Gabe Zaldivar Born on the rough streets of suburban West Covina, I learned a great many things, some of which has proved useful: knowing the tell-tale sounds of an ice cream truck and crafting a world-class burrito come to mind. You have seen my work on Bleacher Report and possibly my mug on CNN. Perhaps, if you are into archaic modes of entertainment, you have also heard me on the radio. Pop culture is my beat. If it has to do with the intersection of travel, entertainment and pop culture, I'm your guy.
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