Amazing service is the Virgin Trains one to London. It’s just over two hours from Piccadilly to Euston, which is about the same amount of time it takes to defrost the car and commute to work. Virgin Trains: arrive and feel awesome.
Despite the lack of sleep the night before, what made Wednesday’s train journey all the more amazing, was the invitation to experience Hawksmoor. Described as one of the best places to eat out in London – from proper premium steak to accessible burgers – we couldn’t rest until we had our fill.
‘…rich beef flavours from the impossibly large cuts of steak…’
A cleverly organised press trip to sample London’s proper steak purveyor in three locations; Seven Dials for dinner, Knightsbridge for desert and finally the Spitalfields bar for cocktails.
Primarily, the exercise was to meet the Hawksmoor team who are enthused to prop up the new Manchester site – due to open in March – but also to taste the menu in the already established restaurants and see if the British steak supremo lives up to its reputation.
Donned by 35-day-aged beef, Hawksmoor is dictated by its Bone-in Prime Rib 7.50/100g, T-Bone 8.00/100g, Porterhouse 9.00/100g and Chateaubriand 13.00/100g chalked on a board overlooking our table. Prices from £20 for rump to £34 for fillet – you get what you pay for – class.
The entirety of decor is best described as ornate faded glamour – almost Dickensian in its approach. Brass, wood and slate beneath wall lamps and an appropriate plaque of typography that summarises the offering; “beef and liberty.”
Sat in the middle of both the entertaining character that is ‘Lord Garner’ aka ‘Gordo’ or ‘Fatty’ and Manchester’s renowned writer Jonathan Schofield from veteran publication Manchester Confidential, we tucked into a very British lunch.
Surrounded by a feast of soda bread, lobster, ‘dictionary-thick’ cuts of beef, bone marrow and an array of trimmings & sauces, we playfully dished up a concoction of pure British wonder.
Gorgeous rich beef flavours from the unfeasibly large cuts of steak is complimented by a blue stilton Hollandaise sauce (or indeed anchovy Hollandaise) and washed down with a bottle of red from their own cellar – Malbec No.7 drawn from high mountain vines to give it a heavier alcohol volume and bold flavours – beautifully smooth.
Of course, if Malbec isn’t your drop, different wines suit different cuts and how you like your steak cooked. Above all, it was all very arousing and presented by very charming staff.
Hawksmoor ambassadors have travelled the world in search of the perfect steak, but have found that beef from well-loved native cattle breeds reared right here in the north of Britain has more flavour than anything they’ve tried on their travels.
Beef sourced from New Pickering, Yorkshire is cooked over real charcoal and has received plenty of ‘best steak in London’ plaudits. It’s difficult to retort to such quotes, because I haven’t tried many steaks in London, but it was certainly some of the best steak I’ve ever had anywhere in my life-time.
Considering I’ve devoured pretty much every steak in Manchester, I’m confident this British belter will receive a similar accolade up here with fellow Mancunians. And, combined with the convivial atmosphere on a Thursday-Saturday in Manchester, this place will be ravenously rammed right the way through.
On to the desert episode. And what desert do northerners love more than sticky toffee pudding, other than more sticky toffee pudding? The ultimate comfort food with clotted cream following the ultimate in steak. I selfishly destroyed the whole bowl.
Then, out the corner of my eye, glimmered a golden nugget aka the ‘Ambasadors Reception’. Which is essentially a giant Ferrero Rocher. I believe this bundle of joy, aside from amazing steaks, will be their USP in Manchester – irresistibly moreish.
Arriving at our final destination Spitalfields, to their lovely basement bar (which Mr Schofield described as Corbieres with mirrors), we were treated to cocktails. I wasn’t blown-away by the quality of cocktails, until I had the ‘Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew’ which blew my head off. Gin, ginger, lemon & London Pride presented in a big tankard type glass (£9.75). Also, the Tobacco Old Fashioned is particularly peppy.
We were all blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm for Manchester that the team showed us. We’re looking forward to the steak house ‘beefing up’ our food & drink scene and giving Gaucho Grill a run for its money.
Based in the Victorian Courthouse building on 184-186 Deansgate, Hawksmoor Manchester will be owners Will Beckett and Huw Gott’s first restaurant outside London.
Will: “It feels great, after years of trying to open a restaurant in Manchester and months of building works, tastings and anticipation to be finally on the verge of launching the restaurant. We really hope Manchester likes what we’ve created – really high standards of food, drink and service, but in a relaxed environment with none of the stuffiness that sometimes comes with fine dining.
“We’ve really got to know Manchester over these last few months and believe Hawksmoor will be a great addition to the dining scene in the city. We love the Courthouse, it’s proved to be the perfect location for us and we hope we’ve done it justice.
“Soft launches have worked really well at our restaurants in London, they give people a chance to come down and see what we’re all about and we’re hoping to see a lot of you and get your feedback before we fully open our doors on March 5th.”
After arduous wine-and-cocktail-fuelled banter and dining sessions, we said ‘see you in a month’ and got the train back to our beloved city, tanked up.
Contact & Book
To be in with a chance of getting a reservation at Hawksmoor Manchester during the soft launch, from February 19th – March 4th, guests need to sign up at www.thehawksmoor.com/locations/manchester before midnight on 26th January and the instructions to book will be sent on Tuesday 27th January at 11 am.
184-186 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BY