Many places claim to have the best steak in any given area, but since going to Hawksmoor to celebrate my now fiancé moving to London two years ago, this is quite simply the absolute best steak in London, and a place we continually go back to.
Is the lofty description of Hawksmoor being the absolute best steak in London too much? Not at all.
I read a fascinating piece in the Telegraph a while back where the team behind the Hawksmoor explained their beginnings, showing the careful love that goes into every single steak:
Our first Hawksmoor steak restaurant, near Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Christchurch in Spitalfields, London, was a Turkish restaurant before we took it over. It had the world’s smallest kitchen with a motley collection of domestic appliances on their last legs. But along one wall there was an open-pit charcoal grill where they used to cook kebabs. It felt like fate – we were looking to do a steak restaurant and here was a key part of the puzzle.
We bought a set of bars from a railway arch that was crammed with second-hand kitchen equipment – the rest is history. With every subsequent Hawksmoor we lovingly recreate this original grill.
The thing that sets the Hawksmoor apart is that they do what they’re good at, steak and cocktails, and they do it really well.
Our favoured site is the Air Street restaurant just off Regent Street in Central London where not only does the gorgeous art deco interiors fit perfectly with the art deco menu design to create a wonderfully authentic feel, but it also serves something even I was not prepared for…
The Full Fat Old Fashioned.
I’d never tried anything like it before, it was sweet yet powerful, light in colour but had a depth of flavour and was a cocktail yet felt like something much bigger.
Turns out these are often called ‘At the Drive In’ elsewhere but was completely new to me and made using proprietary butter whisky and a secret recipe.
On to the food, wow.
For start I always go for the potted beef; a delicately prepared pot of rare beef with home made horseradish and a massive Yorkshire pudding that, if you’re not hungry, will fill you up and make you slightly nervous about the amount of steak you are about to consume.
But don’t fear, you’ll be ok, better than ok, you’ll be in beefy heaven.
My steaks are always ordered either blue or rare, here was no different. The sirloin arrived cooked to perfection and, once cut into, presents a dark red slab of beef sourced from only the best farms locally.
The first bite is intriguing, you don’t expect to get a ‘crunch’ when you bite into rare steak but that’s exactly what you get, on further questioning the crunch is a simple blend of 10% pepper, 45% Maldon sea salt and 45% smoked Maldon sea salt.
I would highly recommend ordering the béarnaise sauce, the triple cooked chips, creamed spinach and macaroni cheese. All are fabulous and all go perfectly with whichever steak you choose.
Because I’m that kinda guy, and despite being full to breaking point having devoured the tender steak presented to me, I did go for a cheeky sticky toffee pudding desert, just to give my belt something to think about.