Whilst Manchester is no stranger to great food and dining concepts, pretension is not a quality that our city holds in high regard.
When Hawksmoor co-founders Huw and Will opened their fine dining restaurant on Deansgate two-and-a-half years ago, slap bang in the middle of Manchester’s dirty burger craze, it’s easy to see why they held reservations about being perceived as ‘London w*nkers’.
Since then, they have gone on to be warmly welcomed into the fold of Manchester’s dining scene, taking home the MFDF’s Best Restaurant award after just one year of trading in the city. No mean feat.
In the short time they’ve been trading in Manchester, Hawksmoor have done their damnedest to create a restaurant that is there to be enjoyed by everyone – despite the near Michelin-level pricing.
Last week we went to the launch of their new book Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes and, despite being the most underdressed people in the room, felt more than comfortable as we sipped on Silver Bullets and explored the menus laid out on our tables.
On closer inspection, we found that each was unique, with a different segment from the book printed inside.
Some had stories, some had recipes. One held their first ever review. On the back were listed the evening’s courses, each with a corresponding page number to help us find the recipe later on.
The line up: baked oysters with bone marrow, tomatoes & Graceburn, brill with roast chicken butter, bone-in prime rib with all the trimmings, and, finally, a black forest alaska.
Nearly everything came served family-style, with huge sharing plates laid down the length of our tables which we shared between us.
We became fast friends with the other guests at our table, brought together by our shared appreciation of the food in front of us, feeling more like we were at a big, family get-together than an industry event.
Ultimately, what Hawksmoor does is take something that everyone loves – red meat, wine, and chips – and offer it at an exceptionally high standard.
With two people at the helm who are clearly passionate about what they’re doing, it’s impossible not to be excited about dining there.
And now you can also try and make their food at home yourself. If you dare.
Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes is out now. Price £30.