Often when I have steak in a restaurant I end up disappointed as it turns up badly cooked or is a poor cut of meat. I generally prefer to buy the best quality of steak I can and cook it at home in my trusty griddle pan.
My current butcher of choice of is the Ginger Pig and I've popped in a few times to their branch in Greensmiths on Lower Marsh near work to pick up a steak or two. It isn't cheap (about £8-£12 per steak), but the quality of the meat makes it far better value than going to an average restaurant for one.
The only restaurants that serve a similar quality meat are generally out my price range and so I jumped at the chance to sample Hawksmoor, Seven Dials, not once, but twice, during their soft opening.
Based close to Covent Garden they've done a great job in converting a basement (apparently it used to be a brewery) into a dark, atmospheric dining space and bar.
They also use beef from the Ginger Pig and have a chalk board with the cuts of steak and sizes available listed, which is a nice touch.
My first visit was for the excellent Dine with Dos Hermanos event and we were lucky enough to sample a huge part of the menu. I then returned on the Saturday for second helpings.
There is a wide selection of meaty and fishy starters and my favourites on two visits were the lamb chops and the corned beef.
The lamb chops & corned beef, pickles & mustard
However, it's the beef that's the star of the show and on both occassions we were served the different cuts of beef sliced in a large platter.
The star of the show & bone marow
All the larger steaks are served on the bone and have a perfect char and a juicy, bloody centre, which makes for a great steak. My favourite cut on my two visits was the tenderloin part of the Porterhouse. It just melted in the mouth and was packed full of flavour.
Another big plus for Hawksmoor is the quality of their sides. The bone marrow (pictured) was rich, unctious and delicious on the bread we were served.
My favourite of the two types of chips were the beef dripping roast potatoes. Incredibly crisp on the outside and super fluffy inside they are simply some of the best i've ever had and worth a visit for those alone. The tokens bits of veg I consumed were also well cooked, though can easily be neglected in favour of the beef, chips and moreish bernaise sauce.
Seeing how much effort goes into the steak, then you might think that desserts would be a secondary consideration, but they were a pleasant surprise.
I particularly enjoyed the lemon curd and short bread. The zesty lemon and sugary shortbread were a perfect pallette cleanser after all the beef.
A rich chocolate pudding should have been too heavy a finish to the meal, but somehow I managed to shovel all the gooey chocolately goodness in!
With an impressive cocktail and drinks menu, Hawksmoor really has a lot going for it and it is definitely up there with Goodman as the best steak restaurant in London.
I know a lot of people who name the Gaucho Grill as their favourite London steak place. However, to me these two restaurants are a class above and now Hawksmoor has a more central branch, i'd urge you to give it a try and see the difference. I'm confident you won't be disappointed...