Dinner at The Hawksmoor is the stuff of dreams for a hungry carnivore with a penchant for a good cocktail. Considered by many to serve the best steak in London, the restaurant group has built up quite a following since opening in 2006. Its Spitalfields branch, tucked behind a plain grey façade on Commercial Street, has an unassuming interior of exposed brick walls, stripped floors and tasteful wooden tables and chairs. No frills, no extravagances, just quietly tasteful and honest — not unlike their approach to food.
Thick slabs of stunningly high quality organic meat from Longhorn cattle raised by the hallowed Ginger Pig butchers are chargrilled to perfection and presented without fuss. We chose a 900g Chateaubriand to share, which absolutely lived up to the hype. This was quite simply the best steak I have ever had — hung for 35 days and then seared and charred to a very slight smoky bitterness, whilst meltingly succulent, pink and juicy on the inside. I was staggered by every mouthful.
You won't find gourmet foams or mists here, but rather a well-considered selection of perfect partners to go with your chosen cut: triple-cooked chips, mash & gravy, creamed spinach or buttered spring greens. For those with a sweet tooth and space left in their stomach, the chocolate malt tart is stupidly good. Or the peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream...
The drinks menu is phenomenal and the skill of the mixologists is on a par with that of the chefs. In fact, they turned the space downstairs into a cocktail bar earlier this year, so pre-dinner drinks are a must. A lengthy menu features old classics and new concoctions alike — the Marmalade Cocktail is made with gin, Campari and bittersweet conserve, while Shaky Pete's Ginger Brew is a surprisingly delicious concoction of gin, ginger syrup and lemon juice topped up with London Pride ale.
The sheer quality of the meat and skill in its preparation is the absolute highlight. And those triple fried chips...
The cocktails are simply brilliant and the wine list is superb — try the Pulenta Estate Malbec 2009.
Due to its popularity, it can sometimes be tricky to get a table. Book in advance.
If meat is your thing and you're in London, it would be shameful not to go.
The Hawksmoor, Spitalfields, 157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ (+44 (0)20 7426 4850; thehawksmoor.com)