Steak Tasting at Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor restaurant is a firm favourite among us bloggers. For me, they do the best steaks in London, hands down. Then, they managed to come up with what I consider the best burger too. Now, they are introducing a different guest breed each month in addition to their established Longhorns, so customers have the opportunity to compare them and, as Hawksmoor put it ‘savour the difference’.

So, all in the name of research, they asked if a group of us would like to come over and sample numerous different breeds and cuts of steak. Are you kidding? You would have to be certifiably mad (or vegetarian, no link intended), to turn that one down. That evening then, we worked our way through 17 – yes 17 different steaks. It was basically what I imagine being in heaven must be like.

Hawksmoor are also famous for making excellent drinks and on arrival we took refreshment in the form of this glorious tropical punch – perfect for the sunny weather. I cast aside any memories of lethal, tongue stripping student concoctions as the tangy mix of lemons, passion fruits, pineapples and subtle coconut blended perfectly.

Before the meat fest got underway, we jumped at the chance to get a sneak preview of the kitchen which is actually surprisingly small, with most of the space taken up by this massive charcoal grill. This is where the magic happens. Let the charring commence.

Our charming hosts for the evening, Will Beckett and Huw Gott were on hand to tell us everything we could possibly want to know about steak and I learned a lot – such as the difference between wet and dry ageing of beef. Wet is basically vacuum packed in plastic while dry aged beef is ‘hung’ and, although it may be loosely covered with muslin, it is not sealed in any way. Dry ageing is preferable as it gives a more deep, beefy flavour and soft texture but it also means that the beef shrinks, making it an unpopular method with the profit hungry. Hawksmoor of course, use only dry aged beef.

Now tantalisingly close to steak o’clock, we were provided with handy tasting sheets, which turned out to be absolutely essential as things started to get a little confusing after steak 9 or 10.

And then it started to arrive…and just kept on coming. We sampled 5 sirloins, 10 rib eyes, 1 rump chop and a flatiron. Almost all the steaks were cooked medium rare and, although I usually eat my steak rare, I think this was absolutely right for the tasting. The variation in colour between the steaks was extensive as was the difference in textures and flavours. Among my flavour tasting notes I have scribbled down words such as, ‘almost livery, deep, buttery, rich’ and for texture, ‘toothsome, tender, looser, soft, silky and smoky.’

We eventually tried to narrow it down to a top three – here are mine. At number three, the Ginger Pig Longhorn sirloin cut, which had an almost gamey flavour and was nearly up there with my number two, the Wild Beef South Devon sirloin – very deep and beefy in flavour with a hugely satisfying bite. I have written underneath, ‘SO BEEFY!’ – I was clearly excited. The number one for me and I think many of us though was the Ginger Pig Longhorn rib eye. This had a really silky texture, was rich and moist and had lots of lovely fat running through it which our corner of the table agreed was actually cheesy – Stilton-like in flavour. Amazing.

Along with all that meat we also devoured numerous bowls of salad, triple cooked chips and the most incredibly buttery béarnaise. Ooof.

After that truly epic meal, I must admit even my stomach of steel was beginning to feel a little fatigued. Thankfully I had remembered to wear a loose fitting top to go some way towards concealing the bloating. Despite our gorging however, my friend and I even managed to round off the meal with a Bompas and Parr designed pyramid jelly (even if we did spend more time wibbling it around than eating it) – now that is dedication. A massive thanks to Hawksmoor for such a fantastic evening – I honestly think I stumbled out on some sort of red meat high and it was totally worth the four days (porky visit to Szechuan restaurant aside) of vegetarianism afterwards.

As you can probably imagine, I have lots more pictures of steak – view them here.

157 Commercial Street
London E1 6BJ
Tel: 020 7247 7392

Category: Meat, Restaurant Reviews 16 comments »

16 Responses to “Steak Tasting at Hawksmoor”

  1. The Winesleuth

    OMG! I have got to get down there. I’ve been missing a quality steak for some time. Great pics!

  2. Leah

    Ooh. I live down the street from Buen Ayre on Broadway and a visit is usually precipitated by an all-consuming craving for steak. I feel a visit coming on…

    Leahs last blog post..Apple Weakness

  3. Swedish Mike

    That place looks like heaven to me. Sounds like you had a wonderful evening. I must admit that I’m well jealous. ;)

    // Mike

    Swedish Mikes last blog post..Recipe – Beer Boiled Prawns

  4. theboydonefood

    I am seriously jealous. Steak craving coming on!

    theboydonefoods last blog post..Banh Mi recipe. Ooh look it rhymes.

  5. nina

    Oh wow, how lucky can you be!!! I love rib-eye steak…especially the marbling!!!

  6. Lizzie

    It was EPIC!!! I had a similar top three to you – I think they are definitely right to have that longhorn as a permanent fixture. Such an excellent night.

    Lizzies last blog post..Masala Omelette – A Perfect Hangover Cure

  7. Jen

    I was immensely jealous of you guys on this evening – looks and sounds like steak heaven! Went to Goodman last week which was also fantastic, but will be booking a table at Hawksmoor very soon so I can make my comparisons. Great post – although its made me hungry!

    Jens last blog post..Fervour Fever!

  8. boo

    OMG – That is immense, the size of the steak in that first picture is insane! Looks like a great night, very jealous. Must get back there and try the steak for myself, 1 is not quite the same as 17 though!

    boos last blog post..Covent Garden Real Food Market

  9. neil

    Oh my god ! I can feel my arteries hardening in the best way possible.

    neils last blog post..50 Ways to Poach and Egg part 2

  10. Alex

    Could you just put ‘delicious’, ‘delicious’, ‘delicious’ in the tasting notes? I think I would…

    Sounds like you should have got a medal for munching through 17 steaks…

    Alexs last blog post..Red onion relish

  11. Gourmet Chick

    I am SO jealous. That first picture of the massive slab of steak is hilarious. What a treat! I must make my way to Hawksmoor as soon as I can and will be taking your advice.

    Gourmet Chicks last blog post..Ferdaouss (Gourmet Chick in Morocco)

  12. Helen Yuet Ling Pang

    BEEFY! I re-read my notes and laughed very hard. But towards the end, the notes weren’t so coherent anymore. Let’s go again soon!

    Helen Yuet Ling Pangs last blog post..Second Helpings – April 2009

  13. we are never full

    after visiting argentina, i can’t imagine a better “tasting”than a beef tasting. i would so be in on this if i was able to taste a piece of beef that tasted like stilton. wha-wha-what?

  14. Kavey

    I can’t even begin to tell you how envious I am! :) It’s on my list to visit soon!

    Kaveys last blog post..The Cookies Of Dreams: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  15. manju

    Research to really sink your teeth into! : )

    manjus last blog post..Streusel Rhubarb Cake

  16. Pedro Benito Saez

    This place is meat paradise. Good wine list aslo.

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