Whilst many of the gaudy supercars that litter the area around Harrods are more likely to turn the stomach, the presence of Hawksmoor’s Knightsbridge outpost offers significant rewards for those who can retain their appetite. On the sliding scale of chain restaurants, Hawksmoor hovers comfortably around the top-end, having managed the trick of expanding without descending into the no-man’s land of high street dining. Perhaps providing steak-addicted Londoners with premier meat at prices which don’t require selling one’s children into slavery [not to say it’s in any way cheap, just not actively sadistic] has earned them subsidies as a humanitarian charity?
This particular Hawksmoor lurks in subterranean splendour on Yeoman’s Row, close to the station yet outs of sight of the gaudy birthday cake of Harrods itself. Art-Deco furnishing comes as standard and the flaring oblong of the dining room is aesthetically pitched somewhere between a 1920s private member’s club and the dining room of a 19th century cruise liner. The lighting is dim and, whilst there’s plenty of tables squeezed into the space, the noise of conversation pulls somewhere closer to murmur than roar. As one of the foremost gourmets of my acquaintance I had brought my uncle as my guest, and true to form as I arrived he was investigating the whiskey selection with messianic thoroughness. We were soon ushered to our tables clutching whiskey cocktails designed on spec and off menu by a barman impressively un-phased by such intense interrogation. The blend was refreshing with a wickedly smoky aftertaste and had us practically champing at the bit for the food to come.
Whilst meat is certainly heralded as the main attraction, for those of a more aquatic disposition the decadent menu has plenty to offer. In keeping with this carnivorous egalitarianism we both found ourselves with seafood starters: I took on a more than healthy helping of Elberry Cove mussels with white wine, bay & chilli [11.50, but for a portion that probably could have served as a main] whilst my guest came out of his shell with a Half Dartmouth lobster [22.00]. The muscles were creamily soft and were practically inhaled, which must have been an unfortunate sight for any poor souls watching. Across the table the lobster went down with shell cracking relish, light and sweet and with the kind of flesh that doesn’t crunch so much as evaporate on the tongue. Perhaps 22 pounds is a bit much for a starter, but if you’re ordering a lobster as an entree perhaps that’s part of the allure?
For the main course we shared a Porterhouse steak between the two of us. For Hawksmoor’s large cuts the meat is served by the 100g [they tend to start at 500g as a minimum] with the Porterhouse coming in at 9.50 per 100g. We had a full 800g and the heaps of meat which emerged would have turned vegetarian red in tooth and claw. Gloriously succulent right on the border of medium rare we tore into it with alarming speed. Whilst the temptation to drop your forks in stuffed defeat, those brave souls who can fight on to the sunny uplands of the desert menu really owe it to themselves to check out Hawksmoor’s take on a Ferrero Rocher [with gold leaf naturally, this is Knightsbridge after all] which has more in common with a grenade than confection. The whole evening was kept generously lubricated by a very patient and very erudite sommelier and by the time we finally pried ourselves from our booth we practically had to roll out. What’s not to like?
Reservations: thehawksmoor.com, bookatable.co.uk
Phone: 020 7590 9290