SCORE: 82/100 / CCC Rating: **** / Cost Rating: ££££
Ambience: 7.5/10 / Wine: Casa Antiga 2006. £23.00, 9/10 / Toilets: 6.5/10 / Service: 8/10 : Food (excl. steak): 15/20 / Steak: 19/20 / Menu/table quality: 8/10 / Value for money: 8/10 / +1 Wifi bonus
Hawksmoor must reside within 'top quartile'; and justifiably, legitimately, even rightly so. When reflecting upon this assessment, it becomes clear that Hawksmoor is an unusually focussed dining experience; which works very much in its favour for some of the categories on our roster, but cripples it for others.
The side show
However, so focussed is this operation on it's core category that its comparative lack of intensity on the other elements becomes highly noticeable; the bread is simple and bland, the tables are basic and unsteady, the cutlery is utilitarian, the desserts seem an uncertain afterthought - although the Sweet Potato (served whole, and piping hot) is a boldly flavoursome offering who's character complements the main steak well. The serving staff wear random clothes, such that you might well confuse them for fellow diners. As an 'eating space', it's pretty basic, quite rugged and merely 'functional'. In summary then, it lacks the panache of execution and the suave sophistication of the West-End, all of which would probably see it score better on paper if improved... ... but you cannot shake the feeling that if the CUT management team were to shuffle the deck at this establishment, it might score better *but it would lose what makes it what it is*. Puzzling? No - it becomes clear at the end of the 'path of meat' you've just trodden, that Hawksmoor walks a unique course; It focuses unwaveringly on what any steak restaurant should focus on, it executes that flawlessly, and it is unrepentant about literally everything else. It does not pretend, it merely delivers.
The one category on which Hawksmoor indulges wholeheartedly is 'Steak' (a core tenet and precept of Cow Club, evidenced by its 'double-weighting' status, representing a potential 20% of our overall score). With the Filet offering, you are subjected to a taste so wholely prodigious, a texture so verging on gentle perfection, a form so voluptuously proportioned, and an aroma so erotic in scent, it might be that Hawksmoor's steak could represent the pinnacle of the UK's civilised cow-consuming experiences. There is no more ultimate expression of this genre of cuisine than a Hawksmoor Filet, and that it 'only' scores 19/20 is purely a reflection of the thought that undiluted nirvana is (and should remain) unattainable. It's more of a 'philosophical discount' than a penalty point for the steak.
The quorum will inevitably visit again without hesitation, and in fact, would fabricate any excuse to celebrate an occasion here, and thus return to Hawksmoor. It's almost certainly not a date place, unless your girlfriend is a man. It's definitely not an early / first date place, but if you were to suggest this as a venue for a group of people on a Saturday night, you couldn't embarrass yourself with the suggestion. You know why to dine here.