Reviewing Hawksmoor: Delicious steak with top notch service
For our 10 year anniversary we ate out at Hawksmoor Spitalfields - one of the top steak restaurants I've ever eaten. Great food and drinks, very casual vibes and service with fine dining principles - lovely stuff. Since I liked it so much, I wanted to share our find with you guys too and review it here on my blog too.
Hawksmoor is actually a chain of restaurants, and you can find one in several central locations in London, and also in Edinburgh, Manchester, and New York, US. In London you can find Hawksmoor at Piccadilly Circus, Knightsbridge, Covent Garden, Spitalfields, London Bridge, and soon also in Canary Wharf. They style themselves as steak and seafood restaurants, and yes, there is also good fish and lobster available, but really, if you go to Hawksmoor, you go there for the steak. And steak they have galore.
I do like my steak, but I have to be honest, the amount of different cuts and weights left my head spinning. Our waitress explained everything very clearly, the differences of taste and textures between rib-eyes and t-bones and all, and while I appreciated the selection I knew I would go for either chateaubriand or fillet, as I like tender cuts. All the beef comes from well-kept animals from small farms, which was great to hear.
During our meal we had:
- Starters: Bone marrow & onions for me, and Old Spot belly ribs for him
- Main: Fillet for me, Rib-eye for him
- Sides: Creamed spinach, Beef dripping fries, Macaroni cheese
- Desserts: Sticky toffee sundae for me, Peanut butter shortbread for him
- Drinks: 3 x Back Burners cocktails, one glass of red
We started our meal at the bar with a cocktail - Back Burners to be exacts. These were a curious mix of sweet, and slightly sour with a nose-tingling spice from fresh jalapeno slices. We absolutely loved these, although apparently these are a bit of a Marmite drink.
For starters I had Bone marrow & onions, which was absolutely delicious - buttery, melt-in-mouth goodness, that was cut pleasantly by the crisp rye sourdough. Old Spot belly ribs were good, well-cooked and moist. For main we both had steak - my fillet was perfectly cooked to medium rare, and tender and flavoursome - same went for rib-eye. For sides I quite enjoyed the pleasingly crisp yet fluffy-on-the-inside chips, and creamed spinach. Macaroni cheese was something that was recommended to us as to-die-for side - it was nice, but really, it was just macaroni cheese. Maybe this was my Marmite moment then. As for desserts, my sticky toffee sundae was nice enough, but not particularly memorable. Peanut butter shortcake on the other hand was a top notch dessert, with great flavours and interesting combination of textures.
The feel of the restaurant is very friendly, and welcoming, chatty even. It is almost like the staff are your friends, happy to see you there, and have a nice un-rushed chats with you. There is no dress code, in fact, staff are dressed very casual themselves in jeans. But at the same time, all fine dining service principles are adhered to. You'll be checked upon periodically, but not too often for it to feel annoying. Your glass of water or wine glass will be surreptitiously filled before it reaches the bottom, plates cleared away quickly, crumbs off the table swept away, white linen, quality tableware and all that.
The casual feel yet fine dining service is a nice mix. Alongside special occasions, this would be a perfect place for first dates, where you want to impress but not appear too full-on.
All this you of course do pay for - it is not a cheap meal. For us, two people, three courses and few alcoholic drinks came to about £195 with service charge.
So all in all, good menu, great steaks, casual vibes, excellent service - that's Hawksmoor. They do get very busy on Friday and Saturday evenings, so worth booking well in advance.
Have you been to Hawksmoor yet?