Mark Hix and Damien Hirst team up for a sensory sensation in Vauxhall
Words Catherine Hales
With sequels, there’s always the risk that they won’t live up to the original. Pharmacy 2 is the second iteration of Damien Hirst’s famous Notting Hill restaurant that opened in 1998. Kate Moss and David Bowie were regulars but by the time it closed in 2003, its star had somewhat faded. This time the artist has teamed up with chef Mark Hix and set up in Lambeth’s Newport Street Gallery.
The decor is everything you could hope for. Perspex shelves are filled with colourful pills and potions; bar stools are aspirin tablets in various shades of pastel leather and neon letters above the bar spell out “Prescriptions” in livid red. We almost expect the food itself to come in pill form. Thankfully this is where Hix takes over from Hirst.
We both choose the Isle of Wight tomatoes but while I opt for an absurdly creamy burratina and basil salad to go with them, he chooses an extravagant Dorset blue lobster and chorizo. For mains, my scallops and bacon arrive nestled in a bed of samphire and washed with Tonnix white port. The perfect balance of sweet and savoury, the plump scallops burst with flavour.
My companion’s buttermilk chicken and asparagus salad is scrumptious, if a little pedestrian. Puddings are served tapas-style and we choose four. The standout is the creme brûlée, while the award for most bizarre goes to the bittersweet absinthe jelly.
I leave thinking that this may be The Godfather II of restaurants, the rare sequel that might just outdo its predecessor.
Pharmacy 2 will extend its Saturday opening hours until 2am from 30 July. The restaurant is also launching a new cocktail menu and will play host to live DJs every Saturday night throughout the summer.