If you’re a London foodie, the name Hawksmoor is likely to be familiar to you. Regarded by many as the best steak restaurant in London, there are now five branches in the capital and one in Manchester – a homage to the popularity of the brand. The concept has grown a long way since friends Huw Gott and Will Beckett opened the first Hawksmoor in Spitalfields in 2006 with the straight forward attitude of providing excellent produce cooked well.
I’ve mentioned before that it’s not always easy to find a restaurant to please all my family members but I knew that Hawksmoor would fit the bill and having eaten before at their Air Street branch (pre-blog) I was keen to try the latest outpost in the one of London’s most fashionable areas; Knightsbridge.
Hawksmoor Knightsbridge is located in a subterranean cavern on Yeoman’s Row just off Brompton Road. I recognised the venue as soon as we arrived, it used to be Frankie’s – a garishly glitzy New York-style dining room that was a collaboration between Marco Pierre White and jockey Frankie Detorri. But the mirror balls and tacky checked table clothes have all been cleared out to make way for clean lines, bright lighting, charcoal grey banquettes and a semi open kitchen. I had no doubt already that food was also much improved from the days that 3 Yeoman’s Row housed Frankie’s.
When Mr S and I arrived Susan SilverSpoon and Dr SilverSpoon were already there, perusing the menu and looking hungry! I quickly gave my dad his birthday gift so we could order our food promptly.
I chose a raw sea bass to starter, perfectly prepared and beautifully finished with chilli and ginger. I love raw ginger and plenty of it, though this isn’t one for you if you don’t like the slightly pungent taste of the spice.
I also dived in (not literally) to Mr S’s steaming pot of mussels and was pleased to see big, fat sea food in a delicious light wine sauce, enhanced with bay leaves and chilli.
It was a pretty, light beetroot and goats cheese salad for my mum.
But my dad didn’t mess around with pretty salads or fish and went straight for the Tamworth belly ribs with vinegar slaw. Ever the carnivore and a huge lover of ribs, my dad was a big fan of these! Provenance is important at Hawksmoor and as with the ribs, the source of the produce is frequently noted on the menu such as crab from Brixham or cheese from Doddingham.
It’s excellent quality beef from celebrated London butcher Ginger Pig that Hawksmoor has become famous for. Huw and Will actually travelled the world, visiting Japan, Argentina, Australia, Italy and Texas, to find the perfect steak but then discovered that they never had to leave home. The best steak came from Britain. Though with so many processes now used to make beef supply cheaper, the quality has of course been diluted. Hawksmoor only uses beef produced by traditional methods so that it tastes the best in the world.
On the meat menu there is the choice between ‘large cuts’ for people with huge appetites or those who are keen to share; Chateaubriand, porterhouse, t-bone, bone-in prime and tomahawk are all available and there are several different breeds of cattle on the menu. Mr S and Dr SilverSpoon decided to forgo the sharing option and chose individual steaks. One opting for rib-eye and the other sirloin
There are also plenty of different sauce options too and Mr S chose Béarnaise, where my dad went for bone marrow gravy. Mr S cut into the most beautifully rare and tender steak and I tried a slither confirming it was not only perfectly cooked but beautifully seasoned too.
When Will and Huw opened Hawksmoor Air Street in 2012, they decided to add a seafood element to the menu alongside their now renowned steaks. For this they teamed up with Mitch Tonks one of the best seafood chefs in the country who now ensures Hawksmoor receives the very best fish straight from Brixham market in Devon. Hawksmoor Knightsbridge follows the successful steak and seafood formula and there are just as many seafood options as there are meat. My mum chose to have her Dover sole cooked meunière (though grilled is also an option), the fish was perfectly cooked and she loved the fact that the sauce came on the side so her fish wasn’t swimming in butter.
As with the steaks, most of the fish is simply cooked over charcoal which gave my monkfish the absolutely perfectly delicious smokey flavour. Hawksmoor really does provide the perfect balance for carnivores like my dad and Mr S, and those that prefer seafood.
And all this excellent quality protein obviously needed enhancing with far too many side dishes…
Sweet potato and a portion of Jansson’s temptation – a sort of potato dauphinoise with potatoes, onions, cream and anchovies.
Two fried eggs and maple cured bacon.
Roasted field mushrooms and greens…some how it all got eaten up and very little was left on the table.
My dad, who has actually complained in a restaurant when the ice cream choice wasn’t exciting enough, was pleased to see a refreshing choice of passion fruit, hazelnut and lemon ripple on the menu and promptly ordered one of each.
But it was Mr S’s choice that was the most exciting option. Named ‘Ambassador’s Reception’ and described as a chocolate and hazelnut tribute to a childhood favourite. I loved the humour in the description of what was actually a giant Ferrero Rocher. Mr S had a huge sweet tooth and loved the dessert that was filled with nutella, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.
We also had another childhood favourite sweet to go with our coffee. A trio of Rolos including salted caramel, passion fruit and bourbon and pecan. My dad got the sought after last Rolo which he proclaimed tasted ‘salty.’ So that’ll be the salted caramel then…
My whole family loved Hawksmoor, and as a steak and seafood restaurant I think they are really setting the bar high, everything I tried tasted excellent, the decor is elegant and the service is friendly. I think it might be new family favourite.
3 Yeomans Row
020 7590 9290