Much beloved by meat-loving Londoners, it’s no secret that Hawksmoor’s micro-chain of London steakhouses serves up some of the best beef in the capital. The staff are knowledgeable, the sides are generously proportioned, and the slabs of cow, which are available in vast, sharing sizes for the communally-minded and/or extremely gluttonous, are mouth-wateringly melty.
The only thing that stops me from inhaling my dinner on the (rare) occasions I get to go is the price, which with wine usually averages at least £80/head. Fortunately, there’s now a lower-cost option for less special occasions. The newish Hawksmoor Bar in the basement of its Spitalfields branch offers its own menu of simpler but equally sumptuous fare with a much smaller price tag.
Although I feel instinctively adverse to eating something’s face, we ordered the Ox Cheek French Dip (£12.00), which was a brioche bun filled with a soft mound of velvety pulled beef and a side of gravy, and the cheeseburger with extra ox cheek on top (£9.50). Also the triple-cooked chips with lime pickle mayo (£4.00). To be fair, it is incredibly difficult to fuck up what is effectively bread, beef and cheese, but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten. This wasn’t the drippy (albeit delicious) mess to be found on paper plates at MeatLIQUOR or any of the numerous burger bars that have popped up all over the place, it was a top-quality beast with bad-boy good looks and a price tag that didn’t leave me eating plain jacket potatoes for the rest of the month.
My only complaint is the seating, which although fine for drinks couldn’t really comfortably seat three people with burgers and chips and dips. The small bar table was also a little bit too high for eating at, but frankly if the height of the table is the worst thing you can find to say about a restaurant I think you’re doing well. They do have booths with big, low tables you can reserve if you’re a group of six or more, so if you’ve got the numbers ring ahead and get dibs on one of those.
Hawksmoor Bar Spitalfields, basement of 157A Commercial St London E1 6BJ.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.