Acquiring a table at Hawksmoor Seven Dials has recently been as impossible as getting Wagner off the X Factor, and being in close proximity to the place, I thought I could easily assume the privilege of walking in for a table and was keen to prove myself right! Yes, it took me a couple of weeks, almost at the point I became exasperated by my sans-beef chastity, and as luck would have it, my other bib called me he was being seated at Hawksmoor, sans reservation, and told me to meet him there.
Passing the entrance, down to the dim, dungeon-like dining area, I saw the sign, cult-like and satanic, that read “Beef and Liberty”, an underground club of sort where members joined in for one red, blood-dripping gastro-orgasm. Seated and looking at sealed brick walls, eye dazzling pillars, and flickering candles, my sight faltered. I blinked and blinked, adjusting my gaze at the sacrificial blackboard from which you demanded your carnivorous share of quartered animals for the night.
LET THE BEEF RITUAL BEGIN
Bone. I was having a bone–thick, long and hard, roasted and deep filled with juicy marrow that melted when it touched the tip of my tongue. There was something excitingly primal as I was eating the bonemarrow–just it!–scraping out the fat and mixing it with onions. It was, surely, not to everybody’s taste, the sight, the grease and the gelatin like texture, but I let it slip down my throat and gulped down my glass of red wine. The flavour was heavy and full of fat; the soft onions did not add much to it. This could put people off; it almost put me off without the wine.
For the faint-hearted, the Potted Mackerel would be a good compromise. Meatily simplistic it was–no capers, no extra, just Mackerel–though not much of the sourness from the in-house pickled cucumber to get your taste bud working and make your mouth water.
And it arrived, our state of art piece of beef, Le Chateaubriand, 550g, cooked medium rare and carved to show the devilishly red meat. To go with my primal treat were an extra portion of Fried Eggs, Triple Cooked Chips–do not bother with the Beef Dripping Chips as they are not great–Béarnaise Sauce and Bonemarrow Sauce.
Plating up. Yes, I did have this fetish of plating it all up, tweaking the primal look. It made the sight of red, very red and very tender meat more appetising. I brushed the Béarnaise sauce on top before eating it. The sauce had a very good consistency and got a bit more liquid-y as it touched the warm meat. This was one hell of an indulgence, one simplest fantasy of all beef-lovers on the plate. I felt, ordering a big piece to share at Hawksmoor was the best thing to do as you’d end up with the meat, more tender and evenly cooked. On previous occasion, a friend of mine ordered the Porterhouse, served on the bone, to share. It was also brilliantly cooked. The Bonemarrow sauce, however, was not amazing as it bordered on being greasy but less beefy powerful. I preferred the one at the Hind’s Head; yet, the Hawksmoor version was still much better than the similar dish at Jamie’s Barbecoa.
It was hard to stomach a three-course meal at Hawksmoor. The portion was admittedly large. But, it would be a sin not to try any desserts at all. Out of the bunch–they were doing something more traditional like pudding, tarts and ice cream–I picked the Custard Tart. It was surprisingly light. The flavour was milky with a pleasant hint of egginess; the texture velvety well contrasted by thin crusty base, with permeating aroma from the lightly torched top. I’d say a happy marriage between a tart and a Creme Brulee-like filling.
This was, indeed, one fantastic meal and I was ready to join this m(e)aterialistic cult at Hawksmoor.
My head rating says, “8 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “9 out of 10″.
HAWKSMOOR SEVEN DIALS
11 Langley Street
Tel. 020 7856 2154