The arrival of Hawksmoor on the London restaurant scene has caused quite a stir of late. People eulogising about the care and attention to the meat that is prepared has not fallen on deaf ears, and they continue to grow their empire across our fair capital so, after a heavily meat centric twitter discussion between fellow meat fans @zammo, @nu_rave_is and @thesvelteone, a steak centric lunch was planned and Hawksmoor seemed to be the logical choice. After a few more thousand tweets on the subject, we finally managed to get together, joined also by @oh_henry, @waywardgirl100 and my darling wife @mikosoft who opted to be the control for the group (as she's not a fan of beef).
The Seven Dials restaurant itself is a very welcoming and warm space, with lashings of dark rosy varnished woods, beautiful light fixtures & surprising low ceilings (it being in a basement). The staff are friendly and casually dressed, making it a relaxing place to hang out. We started with the cocktail menu which is well structured and innovative, and the drinks were served to match, presented in perfectly matching glasses for each cocktail. I plumped for an Anti-Fogmatic in the form of a "Shakey Pete's Ginger Brew": Gin, homemade Ginger Syrup & Lemon Juice, topped with London Pride, which was presented in a glass tankard, matching the drink's brash bold flavours, Miko (a teetotaler) had an "Apple & Mint swizzle" which, despite being tucked at the back pages of the drinks menu, came in a cut crystal beaker with a beautifully prepared apple and mint garnish (see photo).
Lunch was a three course affair with me choosing the "crab on toast" to start, toasted brown bread with half the slice being laden with an excellent crab mousse and the other half with shredded crab, accompanied with a delightfully light, creamy mayonnaise. Miko had the half lobster which was a bit of a disappointment, lacking real punch, the lobster flavour being slightly drowned in the hazelnut butter. The steak tatare was amazing, being sharp and zesty and showing the diversity and strength of beef in its raw form. However the star (I'm reliably informed) was the spare ribs ordered by tso which sadly, due to my pork intolerance I can't feedback on.
Hawksmoor allow you to order steak by the weight, so that you can order various cuts of beef for your table to share (as well as the serving staff ensuring that you order enough for your table, but not too much). The six steakers chose some porterhouse and prime rib cuts to divvy up between us, with a variety of sides including two types of chips (the dripping chips are practically roast potatoes) carrots, mushrooms, buttered greens and mac & cheese (Miko went for the Bacon Chop as her main). This sharing option does turn some people rather competitive in ensuring that they get a "fair share" (I include myself in this description) but also does make it a more convivial meal time experience and its a good way to get to taste the various cuts and I (like most of Hawksmoor custom) wasn't disappointed. Though at the same time, not completely wowed, either. Beef is amazing when well prepared & cared for like this, but, to be honest, I've actually had better tasting beef meals because of their seasonings. This isn't a criticism, just an observation. This is beef perfection, but not beef augmentation. However there are some superb sauces on offer, such as the sublime blue cheese hollandaise, the spicy and traditional horseradish and the salty but well balanced anchovy butter which do mean that you can enrich the beefy wonderment as you desire. In the non bovine corner, Miko found her Bacon Chop was a bit O.T.T., very smoky and salty like biting into a whole pack of bacon. The sides were great, with warming and homely mac and cheese being an unsung hero.
My desert I chose something simple, just a some lemon sorbet to accompany a very fine glass of Tawny Port (Quinta de la Rosa LBV), Miko had a selection of macaroons which were most enjoyable. Henry's order of Sticky Toffee Pudding was also very well received as was wayward girls pear and almont bakewell tart getting an honorable mention. Tso wasn't too happy with her cornflake sundae, but to me it tasted exactly as it should have: milky and breakfasty with a light crunch.
The whole meal lasted about 3 and half hours and came to £576 (including service) for 7 people and that included starting cocktails, three bottles of wine (a very drinkable Tempranillo at £24 a pop) and three courses each. No it's not a cheap lunch, but it was an excellent one.