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BARBICAN LIFE


sparkling water and a bottle of Rioja – youngish


but very good. There is an


extremely comprehensive wine list starting at about £19.50 – but the sky’s the limit with City mega bonuses well-catered for! Bottle of ’69 Dom Perignon Oenotheque anyone – only a mere £2,000! You can then partake of a bottle of Henri et Georges Jayer, Echezaux Grand Cru Burgundy at £2,500 or if you’re really in the mega bionus league and want to show off


an ‘82


Chateau Petrus Bordeaux at £6,500. if you then haven’t completely blown the bonus go for a ’67 Chateau d’Yquem at £2,040 along with your dessert.


Main dining area at The Hawksmoor Guildhall


by New York standards – the Hawksmoor is a far more enlightened establishment with an excellent choice of pre-prandial cocktails and then starters – and indeed there are several main courses which are not steaks – even fish or vegetarian ones! Sacrilege by Peter Luger standards. There is a dessert menu which seems to dwell a little on gentleman’s club fare, although how anyone would have room for sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream after partaking of even one of the smaller Hawksmoor steaks defeats me. Service too is, in the modern vein, friendly, efficient and quick. The Hawksmoor does pride itself on its steaks though and on the quality of its meat. On its website it says it serves “dictionary-thick steaks from Longhorn cattle traditionally reared in sunny North Yorkshire by multi-award winners The Ginger Pig. They are dry-aged (hung) for at least 35 days and are simply cooked on a real charcoal grill. We believe it’s the best meat you’ll find anywhere in the country.” For a starter I had what sounded


intriguing – mussels with bacon and stilton.


My dining companion passed


reckoning she wouldn’t have room for a starter as well as her steak, but did try a couple of the mussels. The starter was highly recommended by our waiter who claimed it was his favourite dish – and I could well believe him. After I finished the mussels I drained the sauce which made an excellent soup! Very tasty. So far excellent. There were plenty of other delightful sounding starters too including half a Dorset blue lobster, smoked salmon, potted beef, the almost obligatory bone marrow on macho menus these days following Fergus Henderson’s popularising of the dish at St. John, steak tartare, crab


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on toast (which looked excellent on eyeing the next table), vegetarian options – and a few more. For the mains I ordered a medium rare


ribeye and my companion a medium fillet and we splurged a bit on vegetables with roast


field mushrooms, buttered greens,


creamed spinach (I obviously got a taste for it in New York) and triple cooked chips. One can order a half lobster with your steak if you're in to surf and turf. There is even a grilled fish of the day on the menu, although why one would go to a Hawksmoor for fish is questionable. sure it is excellent though.


I’m Other main


menu items include a bacon chop, half a chicken, veal chop and a vegetarian option although the well prepared and seasoned vegetable sides would probably keep a vegetarian happy anyway. The menu makes for good reading in its


own right – if one peruses it more closely one can find a tongue to tail beef tasting menu for 8 to 10 people at £700.00, further described as a seven course tour of a cow. There is also a very comprehensive mixed grill for 3 or 4 people at £160. The mains arrived, nicely served and the vegetables all in their own dishes. I have to say the fillet steak did look more appetising than the ribeye, and I’m afraid that’s the way it proved to be. The fillet was actually more flavoursome than the ribeye and my assumption had always been it should be the other way round. Don’t get me wrong – the ribeye was good, just not perfect as per my expectations. Maybe a bad choice on the night. It was also more medium than medium rare which may not have helped. The vegetables though were indeed all excellent, as was the peppercorn sauce we both had with our steaks. We washed the meal down with


Whether they


actually have these particular bottles on site I don’t know – perhaps they are available by motorcycle courier from a central vault serving all three Hawksmoors. Lest one should feel from the above that


the Hawksmoor is hugely expensive, it’s not necessarily


so, particularly by City


standards. One could get away with a three course meal with a bottle of wine say for as little as £35-40 a head taking some of the less costly options, although £40-50 is probably more realistic. Despite my disappointing ribeye, eating at the Hawksmoor Guildhall was a very pleasant experience. But next time I might just try the fillet steak – or splash out on a chateaubriand or prime rib. If one wishes to just have a drink and eat at


the bar to take in the Hawksmoor experience there is a bar menu available - or alternatively any of the restaurant menu dishes may be ordered and served at the bar too. Interestingly the Hawksmoor Guildhall


is also open for breakfast from 7.00 am – 10.00 am – (Full English at £15). It reopens at noon for lunch, but as with most City restaurants it is only open Mondays’ to Fridays. If you want to try a Hawksmoor at the weekends the Spitalfields branch is open Mondays to Saturdays for lunch and dinner,


for brunch on Saturdays and


Sundays and also serves a Sunday roast beef luncheon which should be well worth a try. The Seven Dials one – within easy reach of Covent Garden. Leicester Square and Holborn tube stations – is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday and for Sunday lunch. The Guildhall Hawksmoor though is


very close indeed to the Barbican – particularly


Brandon Mews or Willoughby.


if you live In Andrewes, It’s at 10


Basinghall Street, London, EC2V 5BQ, Telephone: 020 7397 8120. Booking is advisable. www.thehawksmoor. com


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