22nd Sep 2012 2:54pm | By Editor
For a restaurant with such a big reputation, the entrance to the Seven Dials Hawksmoor is reassuringly inconspicuous.
The scene The door staff, too, don’t conform to the loathsomely common part-time models that usually snarl and snoot at the entrances to similarly lauded eateries.
The bar is an – I’ll say it – beautiful expanse of deep wood panelling, serving up frosted glasses of beer and cocktails, beneath a vaulted red-brick ceiling.
The dining hall is informal – even modest – combining thick-set furniture with bare-brick walls, parquet flooring, and happily forgettable table settings.
The grub I start, somewhat bravely (and cheaply), with the bone marrow, which comes unapologetically served in actual bones. It tastes so good, I can’t help but wonder whether it’s come from a unicorn.
My dining partner orders heritage tomatoes and goat’s cheese. She enjoys them so much that, when I pass up the chance to try them, she becomes rather histrionic and forceful, shovelling a no-options sample onto my side plate.
While delicious, the starters are merely a tease, because Hawksmoor has built its reputation on one thing above all: steak.
And when I see a porterhouse for two on the day’s specials list, the decision is all but taken out of my hands.
The tenderloin portion of our rare-ordered steak is light and melting, while the top loin is so loaded with thick flavour and punch it makes every steak I’ve ever eaten up until this point seem like a fraud.
The sides we order, mushrooms and triple-cooked chips, form a deliciously indulgent sideshow to the steak.
Behind the bar Bottles of wine start from £20, or £4.50 per glass, and go up to roughly the price of a family hatchback. Beer from £5, and dozens of cocktails from £8.
Bill please Starters from £6.50; mains from £17.50; steaks from £20; puds from £3.
Verdict Definitive proof that fine dining doesn’t have to mean no elbows on the table. Fantastic food, intelligent staff, relaxed atmosphere.
11 Langley Street, WC2H 9JG
Tube | Covent Garden