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By JON DEAN
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The Hawksmoor comes with a bit of a reputation – more than one person has told me they serve the finest steak in our nation’s capital.
Hawksmoor Spitalfields, 157 Commercial Street, E1 6BJ
Tube: Liverpool Street
Tel: 020 7426 4850
Mains: from £12, steak from £20
Wine: from £18 a bottle
Children welcome: Yes
Disabled access: Yes
Now as a man who likes beef, I felt honour bound to put this bold claim to the test.
The Spitalfields restaurant has a bare-brick, psuedo industrial feel and was bustling on our visit.
From the menu it’s clear meat is the main event – there is only one veggie option – and they take care with it. The beef is sourced from celebrated butchers The Ginger Pig and lovingly cooked in the proper fashion; grilled over charcoal.
Various cuts are also available from the specials board in different weights. Once they are gone the waiters cross them off. Chef isn’t going to chop them down to your size.
We went for the chateaubriand which was only available in 750 gram size. A bit eye-watering at £12.50 per 100 grams, but we wanted to try the best.
While waiting for this feast in mouth-watering anticipation we tucked into a lobster cocktail which was absolutely fantastic, all muscular flesh and piquant sauce.
We also had the salmon which was nice, but a bit steep at £10 for four slices.
Then came the big one, resplendent in an earthenware pot that retained heat and kept the meat warm. I was glad we ordered medium rare, as it came out very, very pink – even red. Perfect for such a tender cut though and it fair melted in the mouth, with a cracking charred taste at the lightly singed ends of the cut.
We had peppercorn and béarnaise sauce, both excellent, and tasty creamed spinach and roasted mushrooms sides.
Our waiter was well worth a mention – friendly and knowledgable, allowing us to try a few wines until we settled on a rioja we thought would complement the steak. And when a second dessert arrived by accident (we could only manage one) he winked and told us to keep it. We had the salted caramel ice cream – a taste sensation – and a rich and decedadent chocolate pie with popcorn ice cream. Suffice to say I almost passed out after eating that lot.
It was an absolute treat of a meal. Our bill was high, but you could have a great dinner there for a lot less.
Is it the best steak in London? Well, that’s a very subjective call, but I would back it as one of the top three.