I’m not going to tell you how amazing Hawksmoor’s steaks are, because you already know. EVERYONE already knows. (And if you don’t, then the rumours are true. Hawksmoor steaks are fucking brilliant.)
They are also – like many fucking brilliant things – quite expensive. BUT I have found a bargain with old mate Bookatable, which is a London Restaurant Festival partner and year-round cave of wonders, if you consider a city-wide selection of exclusive restaurant deals wonderful (which of course you do). This year, one of the best-looking deals was a three-course meal with a cocktail for £27 at Hawksmoor (or £24 for two courses). Mike is big on steak (hell, I’m big on steak, ladylike appetites be damned), so I made us a reservation before going to see Dara O’Briain at the Eventim Apollo. Night out of dreams, amiright?
Hawksmoor Knightsbridge is an underground cavern of pure art deco; sophisticated and grown-up. On a Thursday evening, almost everyone in attendance was on a date. We kicked off with our complementary cocktail: the Yeoman’s Warder is a champagne and gin concoction with a grapefruit tang and a gingery kick, but purists can choose a glass of Bruno Paillard instead.
We began each with the belly ribs – two great blocks of Ginger Pig Tamworth pork, thick and fatty, how belly pork should be, and served with piquant vinegar slaw.
The main course options are limited, but unless you’re a real steak connoisseur you won’t be missing out. You can choose between the 250g rib-eye, 200g hake or ricotta dumplings with autumn vegetables. The Knightsbridge branch is actually a steak and seafood restaurant, so I was tempted by the fish, but in the end the beef won out. I sort of think that going to Hawksmoor and not having a steak is like going to Waterstones Piccadilly – Europe’s largest bookshop – and buying a Twilight souvenir mug.
Needless to say, my steak was perfect; pure of inside and charred of out, and complemented magnificently by the breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly rich Stilton Hollandaise sauce (supplementary £3) that coated the inside of my mouth in wave after wave of rich, creamy indulgence. It was like the proverbial party in the mouth, but not your standard knees-up. This was a palate party of Gatsby-esque proportions, the kind where everyone spends the evening snorting cocaine off the taut buttocks of aspiring glamour models, brought in specially, and someone ends up dead in the swimming pool. If a cigarette takes five minutes off your life, I reckon my little silver jug of sauce has brought my inevitable demise forward by at least an hour.
The sauce, combined with the enormous steak, the fatty belly ribs and the triple-cooked chips – a tad too oily for my liking, if I was being critical – had made me very, very full. This is not a place to go within four weeks of a beach holiday, or any other occasion which might require a bathing suit. Neither of us could really manage pudding, but, in the spirit of adventure (and, possibly, type 2 diabetes) we ordered the lemon and yogurt cheesecake to share, a deconstructed pile of crumbly, buttery pastry and light, tangy lemon goo. (Other options included peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream, and a passionfruit pavlova.)
Now, it’s not all
Stilton hollandaise gravy. The deal is only available in Hawksmoor’s least desirable location, i.e. 100m from Harrods and its unrelenting swarm of tourists, bug-eyed in enormous sunglasses and weighed down with swaths of welly-green plastic packaging. It’s as bad as Oxford Street for crowds, but with the extra irk factor of Arabic teenagers racing down Brompton Road in daddy’s least favourite Lamborghini. But, once you’ve elbowed your way through the throngs, Hawksmoor is a little oasis, surprisingly free of everything that makes Knightsbridge suck. And, although it’s a bit of a trek from Islington, if you’re off to Hammersmith afterwards it’s the perfect pre-theatre dinner spot. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
Our meal at Hawksmoor, including bread, a sauce each, service and a £40 bottle of Malbec, came to a very reasonable £55 a head. The £24/27 deal is actually available at Bookatable all year round, but only this October can you nab yourself the complimentary cocktail option. Book yourself in here.
Hawksmoor Knightsbridge, 3 Yeoman’s Row, London, SW3 2AL
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.