Damien Hirst has collaborated with top chef Mark Hix to bring us Pharmacy 2; a stunning, kaleidoscopic jewel within Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery.
Entering through giant glass doors featuring DNA graphics, you cannot help but be struck by the incredible attention to detail. A metallic grid of countless, meticulously labeled pills wallpapers the room. Pill graphics are printed onto the floor, embossed into chairs and stitched into banquettes. The windows are overlaid with colourful patterns reminiscent of DNA strands, causing polished cutlery to glint blue and red. On closer inspection, the lamps are actually test tubes. Even the ceiling is studded with glowing circular pill-like lights. It’s like walking into a pharmacist’s mind.
The menu offers classic British and European dishes and reflects the duo’s ambition of quality food made from fresh ingredients. ‘Snacks’ looked so tempting that greediness prevailed and we ordered all of them, with cuttlefish croquettes and truffle sprinkled chips being highlights. Stand out main courses (ranging from a reasonable £13-£27) included a perfectly cooked roast monkfish tail and a smoked Torbay haddock accompanied by a creamy sauce over a bed of colcannon. At only £4 each, we couldn’t leave without sampling the desserts. A white chocolate, blood orange cheesecake - scattered with chocolate shards - certainly did not disappoint and three bottles of the French Muscadet helped wash everything down nicely. We were left reluctant to return to the streets outside, which, after so much colour, we knew would now appear even greyer.
You must go to Pharmacy 2 - it’s worth getting a doctors note for. As a final tip, turn right at the entrance and travel through the gallery (which displays pieces from Damien Hirst’s private collection) before you experience the restaurant. The contrast between these cavernous white spaces and suddenly being thrust into a medicinal world of spectacular pattern and colour, makes each seem all the more beautiful.