I need to start this review of Hawksmoor At Home on a serious note – a note of regret, sorrow and pain. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of drivelous, inane bullshit to come – after all we must take this and every possible opportunity to celebrate Dominic Cummings fucking off.
As much as this roast dinner reviewing blog is at times utterly nonsense and facile – there is a point to it. I want to help the good people of London find their way to the better roast dinners in town – let’s face it, there are no shortage of crap roasts in town.
But this works two ways – I also want to help those doing great roast dinners to find more customers. And this is ever more important in 2020. I don’t think you need me to elaborate on why.
Cast your mind back to 2017, if you can make it that far. It was the year of covfefe, the year when The Shed in Dulwich was the most popular restaurant in town and the year when I truly developed my heart-breaking relationship with the teenage angst-ridden Metropolitan line. It was also when I decided to celebrate roast dinner number 25 at the highly-rated Hawksmoor in Spitalfields.
I’m not Doctor Who
It was also a time when I still felt aggrieved by the 12.5% service charge in the same way that I feel aggrieved by being told to put my mask over my nose nowadays.
Costing £20, which was a hell of a lot of money for a Sunday roast back in those days, especially notable because I was on a junior wage from the first proper job in my new career, I was expecting great things. My expectations were not met. Not at all. Look!
Some things were excellent – like the gravy and the steak, albeit the steak portion was small and the gravy was thin. Yet the yorkie was like dried sponge, the roasties were tough and the spring greens went on forever.
I scored it a 6.93, which is a fairly low score.
Now I don’t mind giving low scores and criticism. Honestly, I really don’t mind! It does pain me when I have to give a poor score to a small independent, but to large chains that have served me a poor roast then bring on the moaning. And not knowing much about Hawksmoor at the time, I just concluded that it was another chain with an undeserved reputation. It baffled me, really did baffle me when I kept reading people recommending it.
Yet it has become clear to me over the last couple of years that Hawksmoor are actually a fucking brilliant organisation. It has become especially clear this year from just how well they look after their staff, their e-mails and social media output, how much they look after their customers – what this whole restaurant thing means to them. And their support for local charities. Not to mention making me laugh from their Twitter output.
I have therefore come to conclude that I was simply unlucky that time. Chefs have their off days. Restaurants have their off days. Even I’m very occasionally not true wonder and perfection. Yet that rating of 6.93 will stand forever more. Unless…
Oh, wrong moron, sorry…
YOU MUST STAY AT HOME FOLKS, AND ORDER A HAWKSMOOR AT HOME BOX.
Is there a doctor in the house?
Hawksmoor At Home was first born in the proper lockdown – though for a steak box. Which after all is what they are really known for. £125 for a fillet steak box for two, with wine. I thought about it, but didn’t order.
Then in the plastic lockdown where seemingly the only things closed are pubs, restaurants and eyebrow parlours – the only 3 places I need to visit in life, they expanded to do a roast box and I think something close to their full menu, but only for 5 miles around their Air Street restaurant. I live in Harrow. Yes, I still live in Harrow. Yes I have been talking since ooooooh roughly 2017 about moving closer to central London. And not even Harlesden is within 5 miles of Harrow.
Thankfully, my support bubble person (I think we are still allowed them?) lives within 5 miles – and ordered one to her house.
Finally, my dream was available to purchase. Hmmmm. Sexy.
Jeez, wrong image.
Finally, my dream was available to purchase. Hmmmm. Sexy.
$6.89 and free international shipping. Oh and the roast was just £30 for two people, plus £10 delivery charge. Hard to tell which is the better of the two great deals. Have I mentioned that Dominic Cummings has been sacked?
Yeah there isn’t an especially relevant reason for me putting a picture of a sexy Spanish woman here. My Google search did start with “person laughing”, then went onto “ugly person laughing”, then somehow I ended up searching for “sexy Spanish woman in bra laughing”. I know, she isn’t laughing. She hasn’t seen how small my willy is. Also that’s possibly a bikini rather than a bra.
Did I tell you I’ve stopped drinking? I decided that lockdown wasn’t boring enough so I thought why not deprive myself of alcohol also. Yeah. Please don’t judge me, OK? I already know that I’m a nobhead.
How you doing anyway? No, wait. How you doin’?
Gosh I hope I can go to Spain next year. I just love the architecture and the food over there. She’s probably Brazilian and not Spanish, isn’t she? And that jacket is dreadful. OK, no more sexy Spanish women until my next post.
So how are you anyway? I hope you haven’t missed me too much the last few weeks. I hope you are all coping reasonably…it isn’t too long until we get a bit of freedom back. I hope. I think. Well, Hawksmoor think so anyway:
Believe it or not, I’ve gone a bit Railtrack from my original point…I wanted to correct what I’d come to see as a wrong due to my growing fondness for Hawksmoor the organisation – the Hawksmoor roast dinner is the first ever to earn a second chance. The original review was fair – it was a disappointing roast – yet it still feels wrong in the whole context of life. It was getting to the point where I could shed a tear or two about it. Obviously BIG HARD NORTHERN MAN so I haven’t cried since Italia ’90.
Therefore I approached this roast dinner with some trepidation – what if it was disappointing again? At least I could blame my middling cooking skills – for this roast you have to finish at home. Don’t worry, there are instructions – but you’ll need two frying pans, two roasting tins and two saucepans. Or I did anyway. Yeah, my guest left the washing up to me.
I’m not sure what there is to say about the cooking process. I fried the beef rump (600g for two people no less) then plonked it in the oven. Pre-prepared roasties and the cauliflower cheese went in the oven too. The carrots were fried with butter and spring greens warmed up in a saucepan – with butter again. And the gravy was warmed up.
Want to see inside my box, doc?
This feels like the point where I’d post a photograph of the roast dinner and start talking about carrots. But I’ve just posted a photograph of the contents of the box. Maybe I could move the photograph of the box contents?
Naaah too late. What else can I talk about? Oh yeah, Dominic Cummings has gone! I’ve probably flogged that too much already. I wonder if my American readers know who he is? For the purpose of my American readers, Dominic Cummings plays a similar role…PLAYED a ha ha ha ha…a similar role to what Steve Bannon did. Except Steve Bannon would have been the playground bully and Dominic Cummings would have been bullied so much that he is attempting to take revenge. Something like that.
And, big, huge, bigly news – I’ve not lost as many Twitter followers as in the proper lockdown. Only down about 8 followers – was down about 50 in the proper lockdown. Don’t think the Russian hacker helped matters back then. Fucking goulash. OK, fine, I’ll start talking about the Hawksmoor At Home roast dinner.
The carrots were plentiful, quite large slices of carrot, cooked in butter with a hint of thyme. These were silkily great, just gliding into my mouth. Though the carrots impressed at the restaurant also.
Spring greens were also plentiful – this was a pretty huge roast dinner. Nicely soft, cooked in butter. Good.
The final vegetable offering was the cauliflower cheese. Nicely gooey cheese, soft but stable cauliflower – I think a couple of minutes under the grill to crisp it up at the end might have improved this, but again – this was good. Really tasty.
Probably need a heading here
You won’t be surprised to know that the roast potatoes had the usual “cooked earlier” feel about them. Because they were actually cooked earlier for us to finish off in the oven. They were quite crispy, they were quite soft inside – and tasted luxurious in the beef dripping. They were also much better than the roasties I had when I ate there – but still they cannot quite justify a tag of “good”.
Decent roasties in a world of dire roasties, but…I feel like they need a bit more perfecting – however is it even possible to make a perfect pre-prepared roast potato? I can make amazing roasties on demand, but they’ll be crud if I leave them to eat until the day after.
The Yorkshire pudding was really good – and survived the delay between being prepared and being heated up. Rather eggy and went nicely with the beef.
Which leads me onto…the beef. 600g of rump to share between two – bearing in mind that we paid £20 each including delivery, and I feel that this is a damn fine deal.
The beef was very nice – good quality, nicely browned on the edge as per instructions and juicy. The only downside was that halfway through the joint was a thin layer of impenetrable membrane – which made slicing part of the joint very difficult, especially with my unhelpful selection of knives – so I ended up with very thick slices.
Calling Doctor Vain
I know what I want and I want it now, I want more gravy because there’s never enough. I knew there wouldn’t be enough and I was correct. If it had been as thin and watery as I experienced at the restaurant then maybe it would not have been an issue – but this was glorious, thick bone marrow gravy. And it tasted sooooooo good.
But one pot between two was nowhere near enough – as you can see if you scroll up to the image. Not the sexy Spanish woman. Wait…I’ve just remembered the photograph that I was going to use to laugh about Dominic Cummings fucking off…
Anyway, one pot each is the minimum required, dear Hawksmoor. I mean, if you are properly qualified to work in Downing Street as per Dominic Cummings’ requirements then you could suggest that the roast dinner didn’t need gravy…
Doctor, where is my horse tranquilizer?
Hawksmoor. I think we can be friends now.
This was a great roast dinner to have as my return after a couple of weekends of enforced roast dinner celibacy. So much food on the plate and all good quality – only the roasties were marginally off game, but were still decent. Obviously not enough gravy also.
Everything else was very good. The gravy flavour was superb – as it was at the restaurant. Otherwise I’m struggling to pick a highlight…it could be the cauliflower cheese which was a bit dreamy, or just enjoying the beef and yorkie combined.
An empty plate too.
Ahhh well I did say no more sexy Spanish women. Oh Maggie, I’m so honoured to eat off you. Yes I did lick the plate. I know what you are thinking, and no, you don’t seem to be able to buy a David Cameron plate. Hmmm, gap in the market?
My accomplice scored Hawksmoor a nice round 8.00 – I’m scoring it an 8.15. You will see me in one of your establishments for a steak in 2021.
Finally, I’m also under instruction to plug my accomplice’s colleague’s chunky oreo cookies. They were damn nice also. I feel that I’d do this more justice in a short dress with stockings and a blonde wig – alas, you know I need to keep my anonymity so that I can continue to bring you unbiased reviews. Albeit this cookie review is biased and you will now order some from Instagrim because you are under my spell.
I’ll be back next week. You know where I’ve ordered from, don’t you?
Stick with it folks. Eventually we’ll all be bouncing around like a crazy fucker. Life will be back.
Hawksmoor At Home,
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Huge portion, gorgeous bone marrow gravy
Loathed: Only the roasties were not quite on point.
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: The Spaniard’s Inn, Hampstead