Ladies and gentlemen. We have reached review number 25. This is big, beautiful news. So big, and so beautiful that the fake news media of CNN won’t report it. What is their problem? Why are they denying the democratic rights of your favourite roast dinner reviewer? You are following me on Facebook and especially my favourite, Twitter aren’t you? And sharing every post?
Because I am the best. The best roast dinner reviewer this town has ever seen. Believe me.
I like numbers. Numbers are beautiful, and I like big, beautiful round numbers like 100. But, folks, hear me now blud, 25 is a quarter of 100, which is pretty special too.
Some people didn’t think I’d make it to 25 roasts. Some people didn’t even think I’d make it to London. They are losers. All of them.
You are a winner. You read my blog. You share my blog. This makes you a winner. The others are losers. Sad.
So after two disappointing roast dinners at Florentine, and The Junction Tavern, it was time to raise the standards. There are one or two places on my list that I am dearly wanting to eat at. Hawksmoor is one of those. For years I have wanted to go and have a steak there, but I have never got around it to – mainly due to being a tight-fisted northern twatt.
A beef roast dinner at Hawksmoor is £20, though I believe they also have some kind of sharing platters for roasts. There was one tricky course to navigate, and that was that we had booked for 5pm yet the roasts were not guaranteed from that time.
As I am, however, the greatest negotiator that the world has known (you can buy my book), I managed to persuade them to guarantee our roast dinners for 5pm. Though I didn’t have so much luck and understanding when responding to their offer of unlimited gravy when I asked for parking availability for my empty oil tanker. I even pointed out that I was northern. Sad.
I didn’t have the most exciting weekend. I cleaned my bedroom. I cleaned my bathroom. I cleaned my kitchen. I fixed a website for someone. I didn’t even drink one beer. No drugs. Honest – not even a sneaky crack pipe. Then finally the moment arrived. A very special day. A day of anticipation and excitement. For I was going to Hawksmoor.
There are about 6 or so different Hawksmoor restaurants. For no particular reason, I picked the Spitalfields one. Upon arrival I was shown to my seat and awaited my accomplices. The place itself seemed quite dark yet classy due to the black-painted walls. It was very busy – every table seemed to be taken, and we’d occasionally glimpse food porn walking past.
Drinks were pricey, the cheapest bottle of red was £32, if I recall correctly. Guess how much the most expensive one was? I’ll tell you at the end. I was quite thankful that it was a rare no-drinking weekend for me. Hmmmm beer. Hmmmm steak. Hmmmm boobies.
Dinner took around 40 minutes to arrive. My accomplices were particularly hungry, I not quite as much, but I was certainly greatly anticipating my meal. This was going to be even more beautiful than a big, beautiful wall around Shoreditch.
Although on arrival, it didn’t look quite the dream I hoped for.
The carrots, were however quite dreamsome. Horizontally sliced, perhaps on a slight diagonal, they were buttery to taste – and seemed to have been steamed from texture. In terms of crunch/squish ratio, they were spot on for my tastes, with just a little bite to them.
Then there was a shallot, possibly only half in my case. It was a touch on the bitter side, though I didn’t have enough to formulate an opinion – I’m not bothered though.
Accompanying this, or perhaps I should say, the rest of the dinner accompanied half a plate of greens. They went on forever like a good friend of mine that never shuts up. I’m struggling to pinpoint their roots, they looked more like spinach but certainly didn’t taste as such. They were too small for normal spring greens – but tasted similar, though slightly more bland than previous spring green offerings. Did I tell you there was a lot of them? They kept on coming. Never-ending spring greens, with the odd strand of cabbage sprinkled in. Maybe young spring greens are a thing?
There was also half a bulb of roasted garlic. What a waste of garlic. Does anyone actually sit there are eat 15 half-bulbs of garlic? I love garlic but this just seemed an utter waste – I did have a couple of the half-bulbs but just found them annoying to dig out. Maybe I was supposed to put in on my head or something.
Onto the roast potatoes. Or the potatoes, as they would be better known as. I thought that the reason that we’d be waiting 40 minutes for dinner was that there would be freshly roasted, crispy potatoes for us. No. Just 3 small potatoes, quite tough and unappealing in texture – though on the bright side they had been roasted in duck fat. Just nowhere near long enough. And why bother with duck fat on disappointing spuds?
£20 I paid for this.
It does get better but not during Yorkshire Pudding O’Clock. Moderately large but not even vaguely beautiful. Crispy at the top, the walls themselves were dried out sponges. They bottom was vaguely better, if still a tad rubbery, but only better due to the gravy soaking. Sad. And bad.
Let’s go onto gravy. I know, I normally leave it until the end. Unlimited gravy came in the world’s smallest gravy thimble. Extra gravy was requested before I even saw it. Thankfully the gravy rescued the meal somewhat, as it was a very good onion and bone-marrow gravy. It seemed that quite some effort had gone into it, and the flavourings were in perfect quantities. Being a northerner, I’d prefer it not so runny, but I am aware that gravy isn’t like cement down ‘ere.
And finally, arguably most importantly, especially in a place famed for its steaks – the meat. The waitress advised us that the usual beef joint was not available, so we were getting rump steak instead. There were a modest 5 slices of steak, all wonderfully pink in the middle (this is their medium), seemingly quite heavy on the sea salt. It was excellent, some of the best rump steak that I have ever had.
Folks, that was quite a mixed bag. Parts were poor, parts were pointless, parts were truly excellent. It was definitely expensive for what it was.
The service was intermittent but friendly. The ‘voluntary’ tip added to the bill wasn’t earned in my opinion, it was the bare minimum that you’d expect but not what I would normally tip for. You know how some restaurants know just when to approach – well, they didn’t at Hawksmoor. They didn’t approach at the wrong times either – it was just OK service.
I have to say that I was disappointed. I was expecting excellence throughout the meal – not just for parts of it. I truly thought that it could be one of the best that I’ve had so far. It ranks nearer the bottom than the top, with a 6.93 out of 10. This is not fake news.
I’m sad to say this, but I cannot recommend Hawksmoor for Sunday roasts. Oh Hawksmoor, why did you not live up to my high expectations? I still want to go back and have a proper steak, but I won’t be rushing back.
Next week I’m going sarf. Brixton MASSIVE. It could potentially be the cheapest pub roast dinner so far that I’ve reviewed. Alas their website photography of roast dinners suggests to me it will be a 4th disappointing roast in a row.
I am big and I am beautiful. I love you all – don’t forget to share. We are going to be so great together.
Oh yeah, the answer to the quiz question was £1,700.
Hawksmoor, Spitalfields, East London
Station: Liverpool Street
Tube Lines: Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan Line, National Rail
Fare Zone: Zone 1
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: The Carpenters Arms, Shoreditch