Hive: The Restaurant As Sweet As Honey
Honey is having a moment. In fact, it’s been having a moment since 2018 when the health benefits surrounding Manuka Honey blew up. At the very forefront of the hype is Khalid Samata, founder of Hive, Selfridges’ new honey themed restaurant.
By Layla Turner
Ah, Selfridge’s – London’s favourite department store. It’s home to the best in beauty, fashion and food, and more recently, four beehives. Yes, you read that correctly – on the rooftop of the Selfridge’s rooftop lies four beehives; two that are empty – because bees operate on a cycle, fyi, and two that are occupied by 20,000 honey bees. Call pest control, we hear you cry? No need. The bees are Selfridges’ newest employees, and their job is to supply honey for new third-floor restaurant Hive.
Whenever you visit a restaurant, it’s so nice to meet an owner or staff who have a genuine passion for the food that they are serving. This cannot be truer for Khalid Samata, the brains behind the Hive concept. I must say, when chatting to him, I saw his eyes light up as he told me, in depth, about honey and the importance of bees for our ecosystem.
Samata became somewhat of a honey enthusiast in 2017, when he began to study the various characteristics of honey in his hometown Béarn of the French Pyrénées. He dedicated his time to meeting local experts and learning about bees, flowers and honey, which led to the birth of honey brand Le Miel des Français – which is now used to create the finest honey based dishes across London, including Sketch.
Fast forward four years, and Samata has opened up his own restaurant. Unfortunately, the venue itself is in an undoubtedly underwhelming location – on the third floor of the department store and directly opposite the Skims collection – a convenient location for fans of miss Kim K and for those who are looking to do some post-meal shopping, however not the most aesthetically pleasing view whilst enjoying your main course.
Luckily – the menu and the staff more than make up for the location. The price point is high, with mains starting at £13 ranging up to £24 for the Roasted Monkfish – which diners at the table adjacent to me ordered – it looked divine, I must say.
Menu highlights include the Baked St Marcellin with truffle honey, a sweet and savoury combination of tangy, acidic cheese that is only further complimented by the sweet taste of the honey that both myself and my guest thoroughly enjoyed. The cornfed roasted chicken breast may seem like somewhat of a ‘safe’ option in comparison to the rest of the menu, but was a firm favourite in my eyes.
There are a selection of honey based cocktails (and mocktails, for sober punters) available, including Bee Natural, a combination of Hennessy, Lavender honey, Absinthe, Cranberry juice and champagne, that packs quite the punch. The dessert offering is where the menu becomes really special; the lavender honey creme brulee is sweet without being too sickly, whilst the Hive Special is a must have choice for avid Instagram users.
If guests have room after dinner, they should enjoy the tasting flight of different honeys, including a super sweet Chesnut to a milder, colourless acacia offering – each ‘strain’ of honey really does have its own unique taste.
Upon leaving the restaurant, make sure to check out the nearby hives. With them being in such close proximity to the restaurant, it really makes you appreciate how much work goes into crafting each meal, from both the chefs and staff to, of course, the bees. If you are really lucky, Samata may be floating around to explain the process in detail. It’s definitely worth the buzz.
400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB