If you're into beef then you've probably heard of Hawksmoor.
Alongside the US beef-centric Goodman, Hawksmoor is the most well respected steakhouse in the UK.
It's not just the sophisticated dining spaces, banging cocktail menu, interesting starters & puddings which bookend the meat or the friendly & trendy serving teams which make Hawksmoor so special.
Nope, it's the beef. Hawksmoor’s steaks, which are dry aged and sourced from Yorkshire reared grass fed Longhorn Cattle, are the best flavoured pieces of beef I've ever eaten.
The four branches of Hawksmoor are located in Air Street (Piccadilly Circus), Seven Dials (Covent Garden), Guildhall (Bank) and Spitalfields.
Mrs G, the sister-in-law and I visited the Seven Dials branch, located in a discreetly entranced subterranean dining space opposite the indiscreet Pineapple Dance Studios, for a pre-theatre dinner.
Whilst 5pm is rather early to be settling down for an evening meal, as far as I’m concerned as long as you’ve eaten lunch, it’s time for dinner. And, judging by the number of other people sharing the dining room, plenty of others agree.
Mrs G and I kicked off with a house cocktail - Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew (£9.50), a supremely refreshing combination of gin, ginger syrup, lemon juice and London Pride. The effect was a posh cross-breed of ginger ale and hooch. Served in an icy cold glass tankard with a crushed ice flecked head, it would be the perfect drink for a balmy Summer’s evening.
As we were dining before 6.30pm we ordered from the staggeringly good value Express Menu offering three courses for £26. Whilst from a steak perspective we were restricted to a well proportioned 250g rib-eye, the trio of starters and desserts to select from was rather impressive. Furthermore, a choice of side was thrown in too.
For starter, I ordered Hawksmoor’s famous bone marrow with onions. Two split bones, filled with wobbly buttery marrow, were piled with mounds of caramelised onion. Spooned onto toasted sourdough, this was a dish to please the inner caveperson.
Mrs G and the sister-in-law ordered the lighter yet still epic Doddington Caesar salad. Lightly coated crisp leaves, crunchy croutons, plump anchovies and grated Doddington cheese (a British equivalent of Parmigiano) all contributed to an archetypal salad.
An unspoken agreement meant we all ordered the ribeye, cooked medium rare. They were cooked to perfection, pink and crimson with a lightly charred exterior.
I’m not sure whether it’s a result of the cattle variety, the grass-rearing or the dry aging but the depth of flavour was phenomenal.
When Mrs G proposed ordering a selection of sides to share, she was shot down in flames by her sister and I.
We all ordered triple cooked chips.
I mean, who honestly wants mash or salad when there’s deep fried potato available?
The classic contrast of crispy and fluffy, Hawksmoor’s triple cooked chips were very good. Saying that, I’ve had better in Cardiff.
The only real decision to be made was between bearnaise, bone marrow gravy, anchovy hollandaise and stilton hollandaise.
The sister-in-law and I ordered a textbook bearnaise, served in a sauce boat for ease of guzzling. Mrs G’s stilton hollandaise, however, was historic. Strewn with generous chunks of umami rich blue cheese I was only too happy to spoon down her leftovers.
Whilst Mrs G tapped out when it came to dessert, the sister-in-law and I ploughed on.
A peanut butter shortbread is the kind of thing I’ll fantasise about for years to come; particularly, during the mid-afternoon lull at work when I’m resisting a trip to the vending machine for a Double Decker.
Warm shortbread encased a hot chocolate ganache and peanut butter. It was topped with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream - salty and sweet in equal measure.
In contrast, a buttermilk panna cotta was the poorer relation who still happened to be a millionaire.
Creamy, but not overwhelmingly so, it was well balanced by a tart raspberry coulis and a layer of whole berries. The serving of the dish in a glass cleverly masked the fact the panna cotta was a touch on the runny side.
I’ve hopefully waxed lyrical enough about Hawksmoor Seven Dials to convince you that a meal there is a very very good idea. In the tourist trap heavy West End, Hawksmoor makes the Angus steakhouse chain appear even more of an embarrassment than we already know it is.
Address - 11 Langley Street, London WC2H 9JG
Telephone - 020 7420 9390
Web - http://thehawksmoor.com