Being endearingly useless, my fabulous housemate Alex and I forgot to get each other Christmas presents. Being endearingly flamboyant, we instead decided to take ourselves to The Hawksmoor, allegedly the best steakhouse in the UK.
I say ‘allegedly’ because it was my first trip there; but as Alex is well-versed in the art of convincing dates to take him to eat at the swankiest eateries on the block, he’s a return customer. With a Friday 9pm table at the Seven Dials spot on Langley Street, the restaurant was predictably bustling (perhaps verging on the frenzied; there were a few too many tables in the eating hall). We hung back in the bar area at first, perusing the extensive cocktail menu before settling for a Fancy Gin Cocktail (he) and a The Dandy (me).
From now on, I’m always taking a splash of cognac with my champagne. It tasted like Christmas! In January!
The eating hall was packed full of dates and double dates. I think we were the only platonic party in the house, which made for some GREAT people watching (particularly as we edged closer to midnight; but more on that later). Walking into this carnivorous carnival with our pre-prandial cocktails following us close behind, we’d hardly sat down before I started Snapchatting the menu to various pals. It was kinda embarrassing to be caught doing something so unelegant when the waiter came over, so at first I thought I was lucky he seemed down to earth. As he got a bit TOO familiar throughout the evening it seemed less lucky with every bashful suggestion he made.
The available cuts were chalked up on a board, with some of the more popular ones struck off from the earlier diners. Luckily for us, there was still plenty of the Chateaubriand cut left 🙂
After our scallops (me) and crab (he) starters, which we obviously didn’t share because we are rude and possessive over seafood, we were doled up a healthy* 550g cut of the Chateaubriand. If I’m honest, we had actually ordered the 700g portion, but our bashful waiter got all judgey at us. Apparently we were ordering too much! He actually intimidated us into ordering less! I’m kind of glad, because our first choice was a £91 steak, which makes the £71.50 we spent on a slab of meat seem slightly less extravagant. Slightly. More judginess followed when we ordered their cheapest bottle of red (come on, everyone knows it’s quantity over quality) but as much as he tried, he couldn’t sway me to a pricier grape.
It’s no exaggeration to say that it was the best steak I’ve ever had. It came nice and bloody, which gave it a fantastic flavour; and texture-wise, it was super-tender. After my first few bites I realised it was so good naked that I forgot to slather it in the jug of stilton hollondaise (which I could – and should – have drunk straight from the vessel). We had chips and buttered broccoli on the side, which were both reasonable, but it’s all about the meat at The Hawksmoor.
As the restaurant emptied out, it was only the stragglers who were left behind at midnight, half an hour before closing time. Most amusing were the shit-faced lovers a few seats down, who had crammed themselves onto one chair to better accommodate their unruly make-out session. I guess it exposes my Britishness that I don’t see them as the Cringiest Couple in the room; as there was an American girl talking about having ‘so many feelings inside of her’ with a clearly (albeit unbeknownst to her) uninterested English bloke.
I’ll definitely go back to The Hawksmoor. I’m already planning a trip back to the bar, where annoying waiters and crammed-in tables are less of an issue; but I can’t imagine I won’t be tempted through the doors, knowing that too-expensive-for-me 700g Chateaubriand is yet to be conquered.
*not really that healthy, let’s be honest