Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Hawksmoor Spitalfelds - Downstairs 20/20

Location: Commercial Street


Visit: Monday evening - soft launch

To Note? Restaurant upstairs bar downstairs

Ambiance 5/5
Design 5/5
Drinks 5/5
Staff 5/5
Extra LBS star: It got 20/20 - it doesn't need it!

I am writing this from the point of view of someone who has never actually been to Hawksmoor before – and I LOVED it. We descended to what was previously a store room and entered through a heavy steel door to a sleek world of green leather banquettes, high tables and stools and aged mirrors to reflect the gentle candle light.

Although we were the only two in our area on arrival it soon filled up though the atmosphere remained intimate. Perhaps this was to do with the service. Now I know that although this was a “soft launch” this is not a brand new company or team however it was flawless throughout from the water on arrival to the waitress who was happy to explain the menu (and some of it needed explaining – Bermondsey Friar anyone?) finishing with the bar man who promised a “party in the mouth” with our last cocktail! I would genuinely like to thank the staff for being awesome at every point during the evening – and especially as we outstayed our time slot by 45 minutes. (Time slots are also only for the soft launch period.)

So, the cocktails. Their Ginger Brew which has been with them from the start was so fresh and full of flavour, the Old Fashioned blew my socks off and the Manila Julep was outstanding – even if under all that ice it disappeared very quickly. The prices vary wildly from £7.50 to £11 but it is good to know that each month the list will change and the Desert Island Drinks Section will feature five favourites from different barmen.

As for the food I had high expectations and really was not disappointed. Hawksmoor have pointed out this is a bar – there are no steaks here people! – but the single page of food offers more than enough choice. Starting with spiced up lamb in lettuce leaves, the cheeseburger was declared perfectly cooked, a chilli cheese hot dog hit the spot and accompanying triple cooked chips and coleslaw (which our waitress kindly agreed to request spiced up) were fabulous. And even better was all this left room to share a lemon meringue pie which had a perfectly thin crispy base, an oozing liquid centre and delightfully chewy meringue on top. Yum!

So three cocktails and plenty of food for two would come to (outside soft launch prices) around £70 including service which I really do not think is an issue for this quality of food and drink, this environment and for London full stop.

The crowd was mixed and will inevitably get some business from the nearby city institutes but like its upstairs restaurant it remains unpretentious and a really enjoyable place to spend an evening. I am already looking forward to the next visit – there is a chocolate malt cake with my name on it!

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