This Saturday (20/11/10) saw my inaugural visit to Hawksmoor. I found was pointed towards Hawksmoor from Daniel Young’s Top Ten Burgers list, and decided to ignore his ratings based on the photo of Hawksmoor’s burger looking better. Simply, I find it hard to believe that he was right: the burger at Hawksmoor was incredible, rivalling the amazing Strip Burger in Vegas.
The Seven Dials Hawksmoor is located at the North end of Langley Street, just a smidge North of Covent Garden. Behind two large, heavy black doors, lies a small reception, which leads downstairs to the bar area and then through to the main dining area. The décor focusses on dark, rich browns and a subdued atmosphere, with one wall of the dining area taken up by a marble-effect leather seating bank.
Having sat down, I naturally opened the cocktail list, and what a list it is: it is divided into sections, with a small, well-formed paragraph introducing the section, and then another paragraph to describe the cocktail. Half an hour later, I had read it from cover to cover and felt sufficiently educated to order a Tobacco Old Fashioned:
TOBACCO OLD FASHIONED 8.00
Bourbon or Rye stirred with Sugar & homemade Tobacco Bitters
(Punch Habana, Hoyo de Monterrey or Partagas D №4)
The Old Fashioned started life as a simple ‘Whiskey Cocktail’, but by 1895 the way in which it’s made (stirred in the glass in which it’s served) was deemed so out dated it was renamed. In 1839 Frederik Marryat tells us that most cocktail drinkers “have a segar [cigar] in their mouths”. To commemorate this noble tradition we spike ours with a range of homemade tobacco bitters.
It was amazing, as was the spoon provided for auto-rotation of the drink. Over the course of lunch I had three more, chased, rather furiously, by an more traditional Old Fashioned to cleanse the palette ready for the next gorging. The real work was in the burger, described on the bar menu thusly:
Hawksmoor Hamburger with Beef Dripping Chips, Triple Cooked Chips or Gem Salad £15.00
America’s greatest contribution to world gastronomy was first served in 1885 at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. Our recipe is made up of 100% well-loved Longhorn and includes long neglected old fashioned cuts like Clod and Sticking and small nuggets of bone marrow. Topped with Ogleshield Cheese from Somerset or Colston Basset Stilton.
It was nothing short of erotic. The meat melted, the bun supported, and an excellent amount of fat dripped out to drive the chips into after. Even the cheese was excellent (I had Ogleshield). Silence descended as I ate the monstrous creation, my dining companion following suit, until we realised the horror: the burgers were gone. Excitingly, the normal menu includes a half-lobster as a side-order for a steak, which seems to be a truly civilised option. (Even more excitingly, grilled bone marrow can be ordered as a side-order, something which surely all meat eaters will rejoice in.)
In summary: having eaten a vast quantity of hamburgers, I can say with confidence that the Hawksmoor’s work is truly top-hole, and that I shall be reserving a table for the Waifs and Strays charity event this year (invitees take note).