Seafood fans rejoice – Dorset restaurateur Mark Hix has opened a new eaterie in the county.

The Oyster & Fish House opened in July on the site that was formerly HIX Oyster & Fish House. The latter restaurant ceased trading in April when the board of WSH Limited made the decision to put all of HIX restaurants into administration, a decision that was not made or supported by Hix himself who was a minor shareholder in the business.

Born and bred in nearby West Bay, chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark was keen to secure the former HIX property to open another restaurant once lockdown was lifted and diners were able to begin eating out again within the government’s guidelines.

“The Fish House has always been a very important restaurant to me and was the second restaurant I opened in 2008," he says.

"I was devastated by the decision made by WSH but sadly it was out of my hands. Now it’s time to look to the future and new beginnings."

Mark is known for his original take on British gastronomy and 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 and HIX Soho in London and HIX Oyster & Fish House in his native Dorset. The restaurants went into administration in April 2020 as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Dorset Society: Photo by Matt AustinPhoto by Matt Austin

But Mark has kept himself busy. He launched HIX Oyster & Fish Truck in Morcombelake in June 2020 selling wet fish and seafood from Lyme Bay Reserve fishermen and also became Director of Food and Drink at city stalwart 1 Lombard Street, London in July 2020.

But he is now excited about the opening of the restaurant, despite the challenges facing the industry at the moment.

"I have been overwhelmed by the support of locals and previous HIX regulars, so I am looking forward to welcoming them all to the restaurant," says Mark, who received an MBE for services to hospitality, appointed within the New Year’s Honours 2017 list.

Dorset Society: Photo by Matt Austin (taken before social distancing measures were implemented)Photo by Matt Austin (taken before social distancing measures were implemented)

The eaterie will be very similar to its predecessor, serving seasonal local produce and fish and seafood caught in Lyme Bay and along the Dorset coast. The Oyster and Fish House will be open all day, seven days a week and available for private hire and weddings, once regulations permit.

The menu will feature old HIX favourites such as Cobb-smoked salmon which is cured and smoked on the premises, Fish House pie, Dorset oysters and whole fish caught locally.

“This restaurant means a lot to me," says Mark, who is frequently lauded as one of London’s most eminent restaurateurs with an unrivalled knowledge of ingredients with provenance.

"It’s like going back to the good old days - no investors, just me and my team.”

The Oyster & Fish House, Cobb Road, Lyme Regis 01297 446910