It's not fancy, it's not big and it's not clever, but the scrag end is delicious. For simple, honest opinions on restaurants, recipes, supper clubs and what not, you've come to the right place.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Hawksmoor, 157 Commercial Street, Spitalfields

They say that in the land of the hungry, the one-Hawksmoored man is king. They’re wrong. That’s why I’m reviewing my second Hawksmoor of the last few months. I enjoyed my November visit to the Seven Dials site so much that the decision to try the Spitalfields branch for a Sunday birthday brunch more or less (actually, less) made itself. 

At £35 for two to share, rather than £30 as advertised online at the time, the Hawksmoor brunch is pricey. But when you see what’s in it, suddenly things don’t seem too bad. It’s a hymn to overindulgence, a glorious platter of trotter this, blood that, with more meat than you can shake a stick at (if you shake sticks at things) and just enough vegetable to keep you feeling a tiny bit virtuous. A Bloody Mary and a coffee are not included, but should be obligatory for any right-thinking bruncher.

Three types of sausage – mutton, pork and beef – are large, juicy and suitably animal, perfect for scooping up beans and smothering with tasty HP, onion and bone marrow gravy. Black pudding more than does its earthy job, while bubble and squeak is, in an excellent way, ballast. 


When I rule the world, I shall make it compulsory to serve grilled bone marrow with everything. Hawksmoor does, near enough, and the bone marrow in the brunch is predictably sensational. As are the ‘trotter baked beans’, which combine a slightly spicy tang with grimy, glutinous undercurrents.

As for the more common fried breakfast elements, they’re good too, especially a hulking bacon chop that melts in the mouth and salts the palette. The dripping toast is excellent, though rather more limited than its unlimited billing might suggest. You have to ask every time you want more, and the service is, shall we say, casual - we only managed one toast replenishment in a hour. 

Indeed, that’s probably the main criticism of brunch at Hawksmoor. Yes it’s Sunday, and yes, people expect a more relaxed atmosphere, but when it takes several attempts and many minutes to have a waiter fill up water glasses (they should just put a jug on the table), it’s probably gone too far. It would also be nice if the brunch came with a tea or coffee – everyone’s going to order them, and it seems mean to increase the cost of an already expensive meal any further. These are quibbles though. Hawksmoor is a fantastic restaurant with a fantastic brunch. I'll be going again.

Phil Letts’ take: 7/10

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