Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Very nearly like New Tayyabs this place has been lauded, venerated and martyred by nearly all the reviewers and bloggers except perhaps for a certain posh fella*. I find women irresistible and when they put pen to paper I instantly become a lapdog by default. I came here because of her, her and her.
If you’re after a review that ends with ‘they digested happily ever after’ I suggest you divert somewhere else.

I’ll try and keep the details of Hawksmoor to the minimum, I don’t wish this post to be yet another stereotypical review that’s expected of the place; let’s be honest it’s becoming tedious. This place can be missed at the blink of an eye, it’s that inconspicuous.

The interior is what I’ve come to conclude as gravitating accordingly to the steakhouse manifesto.

As mentioned elsewhere on the blog my limited number of constant dining companions** restrict where I end up scoffing. Tonight’s pressed victim is Sunshine Band (actually KC), he’s a restaurateur and a downright snob (he thinks tapwater is only good for washing one’s feet).

The pilgrimage was made for two reasons, the Holy Grail of steaks and the perfect burger. Just one problem, as the burger was off limits during dinner I had to plead with them to make it an exception. The granting of the request provided yours truly with a degree of euphoria.

The best value item of the evening, Virgin Mary at £2.00

Hawksmoor Hamburger with Triple Cooked Chips with Ogleshield Cheese from Somerset.

From the onset, it looked world class

The only problem was that the burger didn't taste of much. Imagine holding both your nostrils together when eating've got it, something major has gone amiss. Point taken if this was the last pattie of what's left of the day but I was still charged £15 for it...excuses need not apply then. The best burger for me in London is still found at Haché. The aforementioned euphoria soon deflated rapidly!
First highlight of the evening was the incomparable chips. Astounding.

Tomato and Red Onion Salad
My second and final highlight of the evening. Not cheap at £4.50.

English Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce
Good sauce but let down by the undercooked vegetable. Each spear was only 2/3 edible.

Sunshine Band's très cher Half Grilled Lobster with Garlic Butter
This titchy crustacean was minute compared to the monster we had at Dinings for the same price and twice the size! Alas like the asparagus it was undercooked despite the sweet tasting meat.

My 400g Rib-eye

Cooked medium as requested

This was indeed an excellent piece of cow, unlike the burger it was beautifully beefy. The steak was good enough for me to ignore both the béarnaise and peppercorn sauces. And once again contrary to the other reviews, I've had better steaks at Maze Grill, Buen Ayre and Popeseye.

Lemon Posset
This actually tasted decent. Lemony and zesty.
Something was also bugging me on this, oh yes where was the bikkie with this?

Elderflower & Prosecco Jelly
With rhubarb thrown in. Gimmicky and frivolous. Ok with
the 50p going to Action Against Hunger but £6.50 for the pud is seriously out of touch!

The final bill came to £93.43, super expensive and taking the mick. This is the first review that I don't actually have to eat my own hat as far as two of the three ladies are concerned. I'll only come back here if I can find someone else to share a Porterhouse with (it's gotta be medium rare or nothing). If my second visit reflects this review then this place has been magnanimously overrated and I've been misled. A cautious and reluctant recommendation.

*Douglas' review
**Like Sunshine Band my two other companions are also teetotallers

157 Commercial Street
London E1 6BJ

by enlarge I felt despondent after the evening.


Hollow Legs said...

I'm sorry you were disappointed, but we all have different standards and different experiences of restaurants, but that doesn't make us wrong either.

I've never recommended anything other than the steak as I've never had anything other than the steak - for a restaurant with such a focus on steaks, it seems strange to plump for a half lobster.

bellaphon said...

Lizzie- No, I'm sorry that I gave the impression that you girls were wrong, no and not in the least. I intend to go back soon and hopefully it might rectify the first visit.

I know it's frustrating with KC and the Sunshine Band, a fussy eater who doesn't dig red meat, Indian and offal!

Anonymous said...

hache is great! :D

I remember the first time i took a friend to we left, she grabbed my arm and said "can we come here everyday?" - it was so sweet! :D

Helen said...

That is such a shame you didn't enjoy your meal. When I tried the burger, it was delicious, with a really beefy flavour and a real depth from the bone marrow. I also enjoyed the bun. What spoils the burgers at Hache for me is the bread. I find them too bready - like the bread-meat-sauce ratio is out of whack. I agree £15 is a lot to pay for a burger though.

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

What a shame! I've only been for the massive steak tasting session and not for a meal, but based on what I had, I'd definitely go back. Can't you just eat your hat anyway?!

bellaphon said...

HYL- I'm going to stop wearing hats soon.

Chris Pople said...

First up, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it, but to compare it favourably with the likes of Popeseye is a travesty. This is how steak *shouldn't* be done, by Popeseye (my last visit):

And this is from Hawksmoor:

(from your own pictures)

Now it seems you liked the beef, liked the chips and didn't think much of the burger. That's fine. And I've never been to Maze Grill so it may be fantastic. But you really should give Hawksmoor another go - and I'll be willing to join you :)

bellaphon said...

Chris- Thanks for stopping by. Fair doos, I wanted to go back for the porterhouse anyway and I can't think of a better company than yourself. I shall ping you soon.

Kang said...

Bellaphon, I've not been to Hawksmoor so can't say for sure, but I am still very keen to go.

I do agree that the Hache burger is still one of the best Ive tried in London, though it looks the hawksmoor version was abit underwhelming - £15 is abit steep vs the £6-7 hache one.

As for Maze Grill, I hear mixed reviews, but then again, aren't they one of the few london restaurants which imports prime USDA beef and has a fancy US imported broiler as well?

In anycase, I love my redmeat and will have to try out both.

thanks for this review, its always nice to see a mixed opinion - throws an interesting perspective on things

keefab said...

I was unimpressed with Hawksmoor.

I reviewed it on PoshFodder- I'd love you to have a look.

Love your review especially the photos. Just stumbled across you this evening whilst thinking about Salt Beef. (I live round the corner from the Temple Fortune Salt Beef bar which you've reviewed).

Check out PoshFodder- would love to hear your comments.

Keith Posh

bellaphon said...

Keith- Thank you for your comments. Hawksmoor is a classic example of EES (expectations exceeded syndrome). Enjoying your blog and I shall be following with relish.