One of our good friends in South Africa regularly comes to London for business. On his last trip here we got talking about food and I was telling him about the amazing restaurants in this fair city. In particular, I was waxing lyrical about the fabulous steaks you could get here. He basically laughed in my face! "There is no such thing as a decent steak in London!". He needed to be taught a lesson and what better place to go to than Hawksmoor?
I don't want to come over all gushy, but to me, Hawksmoor - whichever branch you visit - does the best steak in London! I have been to the Spitalfields and Seven Dials branches several times. But on this occasion neither had availability on the night we wanted to go. Beggars can't be choosers though, so off we went to the Guildhall branch. I was a little nervous, I thought it would be stuffed full of City boy types and lack that 'cool' vibe that the others have. And yes, there were a lot of suits in, but the vibe was still undeniably cool.
When we arrived, we had a quick drink in the bar. Which as is with all the Hawksmoor restaurants I have been to, kitted out in the art-deco style. Gorgeous mirrors and tiling throughout this side of the restaurant. The main restaurant is all leather and wood, giving the space a very manly feel. The Guildhall branch is the biggest restaurant in the Hawksmoor stable but still manages to retain atmosphere. Luckily for me, our office has just relocated within spitting distance, so I am sure this won't just be an occasional treat any more.
We came for steak so we went straight in for the main event. No messing around. I ordered the 400g rib-eye steak cooked medium rare. It's not a cut I usually go for, but I think this particular steak may have converted me. It was cooked perfectly and rested for long enough that the plate was absolutely bone-dry, there was none of that 'leakage' you usually get from a piece of meat that hasn't been rested long enough. Seasoned just right and the marbled fat adding so much flavour. I could not fault it. I know, I'm gushing! We ordered creamed spinach and the triple cooked chips to go with our steaks. Both excellent accompaniments.
On our very first visit to Hawksmoor, our waiter recommended a very good Rioja to go with our steaks. Being creatures of habit, we still have the same Ramon Bilbao Limited Edition wine every time we visit. Delicious and matches the meat perfectly.
The staff, as always, are super-cool and happy to help. I just love this place and even though there are a lot of steak restaurants in London now, I would feel like I was cheating on my partner if I visited any one of them, such is the love. Needless to say, our South African visitor loved it too and rated it up there with the quality of steaks you would get in SA!
Until we eat again!
10 Basinghall Street, London EC2V 5BQ