The Hawksmoor, Spitalfields
You’ve gotta love a good steak. Well, meat eaters anyway. And, for me, The Hawksmoor is the home of damn fine steaks in London. And damn fine drinks. In fact, it’s just generally a damn fine place. I remember going for my anniversary last year and experiencing some of the best service I have come from - informal but informed, with none of the fake chumminess that affects so many restaurants.
I found myself at The Hawksmoor again a few weeks ago after experiencing a slightly disappointing food event in the vicinity. Feeling a little downcast, our thoughts wandered to the possibility of a dry martini potentially cheering us up. The Hawksmoor immediately sprang to mind, due to being purveyors of fantastic dry martinis. And the potential of a little bit of steak was quite attractive too.
Having decided The Hawksmoor was going to be our destination for the night, we rocked up to find everything was booked up and no tables were free. So, we consoled ourselves with a drink at the bar. Cue amazing barman straight off the bat saying he had no issue with us eating at the bar, and would check with the kitchen straight away to make sure that was okay. As soon as we could say “t-bone”, menus and steak knives were plonked down in front of us. Now that’s good service.
Cocktails were quickly ordered – dry gin martini with a twist for me, gin and pine for him – as we perused the menu. The menu had slightly changed since I had last been, with a few more interesting cuts. We settled for an 800g porterhouse to share (a lot of steak), plus chips and macaroni cheese on the side. Impending gout beckoned.
What was placed down in front of us was truly one of the best steaks I have eaten. Charred without, tender and rare within, and packing a real punch in the flavour stakes. Buttery and rich, this is what a steak should be all about. Along with those amazing chips and a fantastic glass of red wine (I can’t remember the name – by this point things were getting a bit “hazy”), which the barman picked out for us, I was in heaven. You know that feeling where you’re so comfortable and happy in a restaurant environment that you can’t help but smile? This was that moment.
To take that haziness to the next level, we implored the lovely barman to knock us up a drink to help us on our way. I can definitely say the resulting vodka espresso definitely helped us, but probably only on a downward spiral into abject drunkenness. This must be the reason why I then managed to partake in also knocking back some Compass Box Hedonism scotch. However, even in my drunken state, I could tell this was a seriously good blend. And I didn’t even think I was a fan of blends. Truly wonderful. So wonderful in fact that I’m tempted to fork out £50 on a bottle.
As we stumbled out the door, I couldn’t help but think this is what eating out should be all about – great food, drinks and service, with none of the flash or stuffiness that so often besets the restaurant experience. This is something The Hawksmoor delivers in spades, and for that, I salute them.