Hawksmoor London

Hawksmoor London

4 8 Reviews

Other Restaurants in London - Spitalfields
157 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6BJ
+44 (0) 20 7247 7392

Hawksmoor an American steak house and bar from the dynamic restaurant duo Will Beckett and Huw Gott, serving cocktails and grills in a restrained and relaxed atmosphere.
Tags: american, bar, burger, chocolate, cocktails, cuisine: gourmet hamburgers, meat, organic, steak

Hawksmoor London Reviews

Pleased to meat you. - I believe it might have been Tolstoy who said something to the effect of "A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite".

There can be little doubt that there is a smidgeon of truth in this.

If you are a vegetarian, there is an off-chance that you might be able to find something you can eat at Hawksmoor. But it won't be much, and you'd sort of be missing the point. This place has made a business out of taking the finest meat this fair country can produce, and turning it into some of the best food a carnivore can devour.

Recently, I had the audacity to have a go at their 'Full Breakfast'. Basically, you get a cast-iron skillet-full with some of the finest ingredients money can buy (okay, a lot of money - the breakfast menu option serves to, and chimes in at a hefty £30), including what can only been described as easily the finest black pudding I've ever had in my life, a huge chunk of bone with scrumptious bone marrow, a bacon chop the size of a professional boxer's face after losing a 6-rounder, and sausages so delicious that if they would be willing to churn them with some milk they would have a best-selling meat milkshake*.

Combine all of this goodness with a bottomless** Mary, servings of absolutely divine toast, and a refreshingly original cocktail menu, and you're set up for one hell of a meal.

To be honest, anything I'll say about the Hawksmoor breakfast will fall short. Yes, it's pricey, but it's worth every penny. Go. Go now.

*) If you ask nicely, they might.
**) Yes, bottomless. As in 'all you can drink'.  
Tags: meat

Rating  5

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Hawksmoor - The Burger!!! - Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to love Hawksmoor and their great hunks o’meat any more than I already do, they start turning out burgers. At present only available as a lunchtime special, the burger is a true gift to the city business men and ladies what lunch.

The day of our visit was a sunny day in London and I was therefore excitable anyway. Couple this with the anticipation of tasting what I had built up in my head as the best burger of my life and I needed some calming down. We decided the only thing for it was to sink a couple of my beloved Brew Dog Punk IPA’s but tragically they had run dry. This did present an opportunity to try a frosty glass of Proof Pilsen instead though, which was very pleasant - grassy, slightly hoppy and very importantly, ice cold. I also seriously covet their beer glasses.

Now, onto the important bit. The burger is a combination of lean longhorn beef mixed with a mixture of fattier cuts and (be still my beating heart), little nuggets of bone marrow heaven, for extra unctuous rich flavour goodness. Just like their steaks, the meat was juicy, deep with beefy flavour, sporting a fantastic crusty charring and a damn good unapologetic seasoning.

The bun is, I am relieved to report, in the traditional, sesame seeded, soft style (I am not a fan of messing around with the bun, it shows a lack of confidence in the rest of the burger in my opinion), although Hawksmoor have actually managed to improve on this style too, by using a semi-sweet brioche - all glazed and pretty to boot.

The other burger components are well thought out too - a slight hint of mild, American style mustard coming through in the mayo, super fresh salad of crunchy little gem lettuce, beef tomato, finely sliced red onion and thankfully, pickles. To me, a burger without pickles is incomplete. These were not too wet, not too vinegary and not too small. I am a little sad to report that the carefully chosen Oggleshield cheese was unavailable yesterday, so we had to settle for the emergency cheddar instead. It was totally lost in the burger unfortunately, not enough tang to foil the rich meat patty but obviously Hawksmoor know this, or they wouldn’t have dismissed it in the first place.

They do have the courtesy to give you a knife and fork although mine lay spotless at the side of my plate as I tucked into the burger in the proper manner - with my hands and with gusto.

It is served with a choice of little gem salad or triple cooked chips. Naturally, I ordered the latter. Fluffy within, crispy without, again - not shy with the seasoning. I love them because they remind me of those chips you start to find as you reach the bottom of the paper, the really crispy, salty, naughty ones. A good home made ketchup also comes as standard.

At £15, the burger isn’t cheap, it is downright expensive, but then it is also not far from perfect and I can safely say it is the best I have eaten in London. For me, it is a vast improvement on Hache, where I have issues with the saucing and the bun. Hawksmoor, please accept my whole hearted thanks for finally raising the London burger bar.

Tags: burger, cuisine: gourmet hamburgers

Rating  5

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Flying Ginger Pigs - ‘The widest prairies have electric fences / For though old cattle know they must not stray / Young steers are always scenting purer water…’
[Philip Larkin, ‘Wires’]

DUE TO malaise amongst the crew of Alitalia, my friend’s arrival to ‘Hawksmoor’ via Heathrow was delayed. The stylish staff sweetly let this pass, despite the fact that our booking for 8pm rolled into a rather “last orders” 10:30.

This critically celebrated steak house is named in honour of Nicholas Hawksmoor, Baroque architect of Christ Church, Spitalfields, several steps down Commercial Street. You would probably not deduce the link: its design is the antithesis of God’s address.

From outside, very little is disclosed: boring blinds, a simple nameplate straight off a yacht. It could be a snooker hall, strip-club or office (and wouldn’t a combination of all three brighten the working day?) The teak cocktail counter, with Bakelite straw holder, is recycled from a thoroughly un-divine dancehall in Hull. Stools look like zimmaframes. Chairs are of the curvy Christine Keeler variety. Prints of the cuts of meat are useful.

Enough has been written about Hawksmoor’s impeccable sourcing of dead animals. Apparently they led a free range, hedonistic lifestyle, especially the 35 days deceased, dry aged Longhorn, which existed on green, green grass. Suffice to say, the supplier is the ‘Ginger Pig’ of Observer Food Monthly fame, who operate an embassy on Borough Market. If you would like to know more, stop by their ‘Hog Blog’.

The cocktail list is a Moonshine miscellany, providing over 2000 words of backstory into the 50 Punches, Juleps, ‘Tweeked Tikis’ and Expat Classics. My ‘Black Forest Sazerac’ was apparently ‘fruitier’ than the original, a sturdy and stirring merge of ‘Cherry and chocolate infused Rye and Bourbon shaken with sugar and bitters, served in a Chartreuse rinsed glass…’

Whilst awaiting our Foggian friend, we tackled overly substantial starters of Tamworth Ribs and Crayfish and Crab Cocktail. The Irish swine, famed for producing perky bacon, was tender and courteously seasoned. The cocktail was discreetly dressed, with moreish, meaty morsels, although the little monster on top took revenge when I cracked it open: viscera splayed over my new jumper. That is the price to pay for coming eye-to-eye with your food.

The wine list is not really built for mere mortals and features a titanic tally of first growths or their equivalents. California is a recurring theme, with albeit gentle mark-ups on those already costly bottles. It is a great shame that the best U.S. wines, still administered by the same bureau which handles firearms and tobacco, put on serious financial weight when travelling to our shores. I had a friend who wanted to open a west coast wine bar in the capital but was defeated by the dollar loss in translation and tax.

We drank Joseph Phelps ‘Le Mistral ’01 which was utterly compelling: intense, inky, precise and plush. Black cherry, fresh vanilla and scents of spiky herb emanated from this lovingly produced Syrah and Grenache from Monterey.

My Bone-in Sirloin (600g) was as thick as a tome so tumultuous that it would damage my foot if it fell on it. I have subsequently pressed 600g on a letter scale with my finger, which required considerable force. Half way through the easily cut, prime, moist, well-sealed steak, which was dumped on a dish rather than spruced on a board, I could have done with a coach to coax me along my meat marathon. My friends had also done well with their well-done Rib Eyes, although one turned out to still be haemorrhaging (the restaurant did offer more prostration on the charcoal grill). Garlicky spinach was crisp and glossy. Triple cooked chips were a little disappointing. Legendary restaurateur Fernand Point would have been pleased by the Béarnaise, ‘…simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar, and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect...’

Au Bon Climat’s ’05 ‘Knox Alexander’, a relatively European style of leanish Californian Pinot Noir, arrived in an outrageously heavy bottle. Apparently ‘Mind Behind’, Jim Clendenen, also a keen cook and broccoli thief, is a regular. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Santa Maria winery last year where his empties have been turned into chandeliers.

After the protein protagonists, there was little chance of dessert exploration. I wonder how many people make it to the knickerbockerglorries?

Would I go back? –Are you paying? The bill was a catastrophe! For not dissimilar money, maze Grill has more variety and that kiln of a broiler (as well as a more uplifting setting). Hix’s Oyster and Chop House is cheaper, within the buzzy meat-market surroundings of Smithfield. And the Victoria Hotel at Sheen does generously cut, triple cooked chips properly, with memorably moist, fluffy centres...  

Rating  4

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Great steaks - Upon arrival, the name of the restaurant is rather obscure. Luckily I printed out a map before I left, as I have absolutely no sense of direction and frequently get lost. The restaurant is quite simply decorated; a few circular tables, several square and a small bar lined at the back. I'm told the cocktails are great, but as it was a Monday night I resisted. They did serve a mean Punk IPA which I later discovered to be a very good accompaniment to the steak.

The menu is quite extensive. There were starters of ribs, smoked salmon and the like, but we were only there for one thing - the steak. I opted for the 400g rib eye, cooked to medium rare, with a side of triple cooked chips.

All the meat at Hawksmoor is supplied by The Ginger Pig, a rather well known and respected producer. Their beef is Longhorn cattle, raised in North Yorkshire, hung for at least 28 days and cooked simply on a charcoal grill.

Everyone elses steaks came out first, and they were huge. At around 3" thick, they were nicely charred on the outside, and by all accounts, perfectly cooked. When mine came out I was mildly disappointed as it was a mere inch thick but bigger in surface area. However, upon tasting it all disappointment was expelled. It had a great charcoal flavour, whilst still remaining perfectly medium rare, as requested. It was also generously seasonsed, something many restaurants inexplicably fail to do. Served alongside were Béarnaise and peppercorn sauces, my favourite being the peppercorn. Purists will say that steak doesn't need a sauce, but whatever; it was good. Pleasingly, mid-way through I encountered a gorgeous pocket of buttery flavoursome fat, my main reason for ordering the rib eye. The chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy within, and complemented well by a fresh ketchup.

When we got there we were only one of two tables, but when we left it was almost full which is impressive for a Monday night. I'm not sure if I can order another steak (or indeed, cook one myself) again as I don't think it would live up to this one. Pricey, but good meat costs and I think it was worth it.  
Tags: steak

Rating  4

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Just Awesome - I've been fiending to come here ever since I first heard about it and what with Joel going and saying it was the best steak in London I had to try it out.

My friend and I arrived about 45 minutes before our reservation to make sure we could try the cocktails. The place was a lot more grown up that I had anticipated - for some reason I thought it was going to be all Flintstones racks of ribs and massive flames everywhere - that said it wasn't stuffy, the two barmen were joking about with each other and the customers.

We had a Brooklyn and an Avenue Cocktail, both were awesome - I don't really know much about cocktails but they were good.

When we sat down we ordered a couple of Punk IPAs which were really really good - like really good, one of the nicest IPAs I've had in a while.

We ordered the Marinated Old Spot Ribs to share and then I had the 400g rump and she had the 400 rib eye - a sde of chips and buttered greens - OMFG we were excited!!!!!

The ribs were great, nicely marinated and cooked perfectly and just the right size for 2 people to share.

The steaks arrived and were absolutely delicious however we were both surprised that the steaks weren't that hot - I mean we both ordered them rare but you would have thought they'd be hot - anyway we munched our way through the steaks, in fact I ended up eating a bunch of my friend's and I think I actually preferred the rib eye. The chips (triple cooked) were ok except the portion was small for £3.50 and most of the chips were those crispy end bits. However the buttered greens were amazing, I could eat them all day.

After this feast we decided that a walk would be better than dessert as its a lot of food - all in all I think it was completely reasonable - total damage £90 including tip for 2 cocktails, 4 beers, shared starter and sides and 2 steaks.

I have to say though that even though it was delicious and awesome and perhaps its because I had the rump and rib eye and they're not as good as fillet or whatever but I can't say that was the best steak I've ever had but you know what, maybe I need to go again to check and I'm more than happy to go back.

Oh and the other thing that I loved was that all the waiters and waitresses were wearing they're own clothes, there was no uniform which I thought was an awesome touch and perhaps why they were all so friendly.  
Tags: cocktails, ginger pig, steak

Rating  5

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The Best Steak in London! - I usually like to visit a place a few times before writing a review, but because this place was so expensive, and because my opinion is solid on this one, I’ll tell you exactly what’s up after my visit on Fr.

It is very expensive! Their fillets are £10 per 100g, had the 450 gram fillet, so £45 for meat alone.

The steak is the best in London, full stop, period, end of story. The steak I had was massive (450g as noted). The source all their meat from The Gingered Pig. Their steaks are dry aged 28 days (if you eat steak you know what this means) It was cooked perfectly. It was delicious. They served it with a Béarnaise and Peppercorn sauces on the side. I also shared some sides of green vegetables, but they were unmemorable.

The wine list is impressive, though expensive. We went for a California Zinfandel and a French of some sort, both were in the low £30 range, and both were pretty good.

The cocktails & bar are awesome. The bartender loves his job and takes his drinks very seriously. I had the Brooklyn, which is a take on a Manhattan and it was so damn good. Then I had a Punk IPA from BrewDog, maybe the best beer in the UK.

I’ll be going back to the bar for sure, and when I make some money I’ll be going back for the steak.  
Tags: cocktails, steak

Rating  4

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Keep it simple, keep it meaty - The Hawksmoor, named after Christopher Wren's prodigy and principal architect of most of the great spired churches of East London, is like its namesake in more ways than one. Nicholas Hawksmoor was rumoured to be a closet pagan, and many of his churches have pentacles and occult symbols woven into the clean classical shapes and traditional Christian values which influenced his peers. That's why his name is reknowned today when many of his contemporaries have vanished into the history books.

The Hawksmoor has its own brand of devilry mixed in with the genius... the starters a bit demonic, the wine list will cause an apocalypse in your bank account and it's rowdy with a lot of drunken city types. But redemption lies in the knockout organic beef and the to-die-for desserts.

My asparagus was weedy and overpriced. The starters took an age to come, and although the gravadlax and scallops went down well, they weren't worth the £8.50 they were charging. Don't get me started on the wine, suffice it to say the hand-picked reserve reds from specialist vineyards have been marked-up at least 100 - 150%. For example, would you pay £95 for a bottle Baron de Pichon Longueville (Oddbins £30!!!) or like most people go for the £30 - £40 Chiantis or Malbecs which were OK but probably cost £7 in Waitrose and I reckon £20 would have been fairer corkage.

But all is not lost, in fact, they win it all back with the knockout slabs of tender Yorkshire beef which are excellent. Seasoned to perfection, cooked perfectly as you ask, with simple sides all fresh and organic. So this is my advice...

1) Skip the starters, go for the 600g sirloin
2) Order the Il Bastoni Chianti
3) Get the chocolate fudge sunday
4) Feel warm and fuzzy all over
5) Fall alseep happy

The atmosphere is a bit rowdy, but if you get drunk and join in it's a great place to let rip and go meat crazy. It's a lot of fun and everyone really enjoyed it, we all raved about the steaks and the puddings. Just ignore the underwhelming starter menu and please don't be fooled into parting with £150 for a bottle of Californian Merlot, because that really will turn heaven into purgatory...  
Tags: chocolate, excellent quality meat, great puddings, meat, organic, overpriced wine list, steak

Rating  3

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Sazerac:1, Salad: 0 - Despite often appearing closed, the organic, premier meat takes pride of place on their menus (though being a veggie, is not really my cup of the proverbial). The cocktails, meanwhile, are very much up my street. Pick from Nick Strangeway's incredible range of juleps, punches and martinis, many of which are based on original recipes from the early 1900s. Had a cracking Sazerac there the other night. Now, if only they'd put a couple more vegetarian dishes on the menu.  
Tags: cocktails, meat

Rating  4

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