Hawksmoor, please

Hawksmoor Seven Dials is a dark, underground bunker of a bar and restaurant, buzzing with business talk, family meals and about a thousand staff.

Every time I go out for dinner, I end up at some kind of Italian restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I love Italian food, but this time I was seriously looking forward to getting my teeth into something a little meatier. Which is how I ended up at Hawksmoor Seven Dials.

It was to be a congratulatory treat that had been in the diary for weeks, so expectations were high. The first thing to tick all my tastebud boxes, was the Grapefruit Picador, which was fruity, fresh and delightfully sharp: the perfect antidote to a rather gloomy Wednesday evening and the low-lit bar in which we were sat. To be frank, I could have stayed there all night sampling one of each different cocktail from their extensive and inventive menu.

Despite the fact the place seemed to be filled primarily with staff meeting, greeting and generally small-talking, they somehow failed to tell us our table was ready. No matter though as our growling tummies directed us towards the powers that be to show us to our cosy corner table. We agonised for a while over what to order, but we needn’t have because everything was outstanding.

IMG_20160309_224302To start, we went a little off-piste and ordered the side serving of Mac and Cheese. One fork dip was enough to reveal just how cheesey it was as strings of it stretched all the way to our mouths. We also had the Roast Scallops with White Port & Garlic. I’ve never had scallops before, but I most certainly will again. The soft texture and sweetness of the fish and port contrasted well with the salty garlic and the crunchy breadcrumbs. My inner glutton was screaming out for a second serving.

 

When waiter number 846 came over with our main courses, my heart skipped a beat. Usually, when receiving a plate with only one thing on it, I’d feel a sinking sense of disappointment swell in my stomach, but when the plate in question is adorned with a gleaming 400g Rib-Eye, medium-rare steak, the only whiff of disappointment I experienced was the fleeting thought that I might not be able to eat it all. I did. Gladly. I couldn’t move afterwards (and had very strange dreams), but I ate the entire thing…even the soft and tasty fat that just melted in my mouth.

I fear my stomach will never shrink down to normal size again, but you know what, it was worth it. I like my steaks salty, and so for me, it was seasoned to perfection. In fact, it was bettered only once I’d slathered it in the bone-marrow gravy. A tiny jug that went a very long way.

We ordered both the beef-dripping fries (my favourite) and triple-cooked chips, but drew the line at any additional sides or desserts for fear of not fitting through the door to get out.

All-in-all, Hawksmoor Seven Dials was the perfect way to spend an evening. A lively bar with truly excellent cocktails and steak so good, that you won’t even mind people mistaking your food baby for a real one as they offer you their seat on the tube*. Should you decide to go, my advice would be to wear loose, light clothing – it is hotter than the sun down there – preferably with an elasticated waist, and to bring a torch to read the menu, or simply to shine a spotlight on your steak because it really deserves that centre stage.

 

*That didn’t happen. No one ever gives up their seat.

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