You know the Hawksmoor drill: serious steaks, winning wines, classic cocktails and proper puddings.
The Manchester branch of the beefy chain, which was the first outside London when it opened in 2015, is a former late Victorian courthouse on Deansgate. The elegant interiors feature reclaimed materials from the era including parquet flooring and glazed tiles. A hugely-anticipated addition to the city’s dining scene, it fitted in straight away. If anything, like its steaks and wines, it’s just improving with age.
Old Spot belly ribs are a stand-out starter, fall-apart tender and beautifully fatty with a dry rub and glaze using 17 different herbs and spices. Other meaty treats include bone marrow onions, or potted beef and bacon with Yorkshires and onion gravy - as well as interesting fishy starters such as smoked salmon or mackerel, roasted scallops with white port and garlic, or half a native lobster.
Mains are predominantly about steak, of course - and it’s some of the best in town. Individual cuts include ribeye, rump, fillet or sirloin, while the larger ‘big boy’ cuts are perfect for sharing. Chateaubriand, porterhouse, bone-in prime rib and T-bone are sold by weight and generally don’t come in at less than 500g. Add on crisp golden triple cooked chips or dripping fries, with a range of sauces to pour or dip.
Non-meat options might include south coast monkfish grilled over charcoal, whole native lobster, or herb-fed chicken, with a couple of veggie dishes depending on the season - Heritage ash-baked and pickled beetroot salad, say, or chargrilled courgettes with Twineham Grange dumpling.
Save room for pudding, though - the peanut butter shortbread and sticky toffee pudding are the stuff of dreams, or there are the famous salted caramel rolos for a lighter option with a coffee.
As at all of Hawksmoor’s restaurants, there’s £5 corkage every Monday if you want to bring a bottle, and on Sundays, there’s the roast beef that Observer Food Monthly named ‘Best Sunday Lunch in the UK’.