Hawksmoor is renowned for its steaks so when one opened in Knightsbridge in July I couldn’t wait to try it, having not had a chance to dine at its other four restaurants.
It claims to be ‘the best steak restaurant in London’ which in a city with its fair share of eateries serving Argentine steak (often said to be the best in the world), is quite a claim.
The Knightsbridge branch is tucked away in Yeoman’s Row, just along from Harrods. I was very interested to see how they had done it up because I’d been to the restaurant which previously occupied the space, Frankie’s, which was a collaboration between Marco Pierre White and uber jockey Frankie Dettori.
It’s a difficult space to work with as it’s in a vast basement which I didn’t think worked for Frankie’s but Hawksmoor has completely changed it, with little 1930s booths which make it feel more intimate than the cavernous feel Frankie’s had.
The bar as you come in is equally as inviting so we duly sat down and ordered a cocktail from the impressive list which would do any London bar proud.
I went for a grapefruit picador (£9.50) from the anti-fogmatics section and oh goodness, it was delicious - tequila, velvet falernum, lime juice and grapefruit sherbet - just perfect.
Joe had a Hawksmoor Collins (£9.50) from the pre-prandials section which was a good take on a traditional drink, with a dash of Campari to give it a nice bitter edge.
Onto the food. I was quite surprised to be met with a larger list of seafood than steak but it all sounded delicious. For starters we went for charcoal-roasted scallops with white port and garlic (£14.50) and raw wild sea bass with chilli and ginger (£14.50).
Both were sumptuous, the scallops came served in shells and were perfectly cooked, silky inside with a delicious slightly charred outside and the sea bass made me question why anybody would have it any other way. Good start.
Then it was onto the famous steaks. I’d heard about the sneaky pricing per 100g so was interested to see how it actually works. We went for a T-bone (£8/100g) to share as it came highly recommended by our friendly waitress Orsalia. There was only one left and it was 900g which seemed absolutely massive but that does include the hefty bone.
It arrived propped up in a skillet and was perfectly cooked, medium rare, done very well with a beautifully charred outside. Their insistence on using traditionally bred British cows pays off - every bite was pure heaven, and accompanied by the bone marrow gravy (which I could have just drank) it was the best steak I’ve had, sorry Argentina.
We also had triple cooked chips (£4) which were perfectly crispy and not too floury, spinach with lemon and garlic (£5) and macaroni cheese (£5) which Joe tells me was simple but delicious.
The South African Newton Johnson pinot noir (£50) which we drank with it went perfectly with the smokey steak and like a typical pinot wasn’t too heavy.
As we were supremely full we had to decline dessert but went for a drink instead. I had a Tokjai Smash cocktail (£9.50) with apricot brandy, pineapple and lemon which was delicious and much too easy to drink but a great finish. Joe had a rare Pappy Van Winkle Kentucky bourbon which he said was absolutely excellent - praise indeed.
Hawksmoor is expensive but I think it’s worth it, the food is original, delectable and creative, the service is second to none and the Knightsbridge branch is very welcoming and casual. A great addition to west London.