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Restaurant Review: Hawksmoor in Spitalfields

The real question when you review is do you try not to hurt people’s feelings? Do you placate, ameliorate and well, ignore the truth? Should I, because I am a twitter buddy of the Hawksmoor guy(s), fudge the truth a bit? Should burnt become “with a nice edge of charcoal” or do you just go guns blazing, cheap shots hunting?

Thankfully Hawksmoor didn’t put me in this position when I went there for lunch earlier this week. A friend and I knew exactly what we wanted. It was a menu irrelevant kind of meal. It was time for a big burger and chips. If it hadn’t been a work lunch that would been paired with a good red.

As you will see from the picture above a Hawksmoor burger is big but it accords with the revelation I had earlier this year at Shake Shack in New York. Now Shake Shack and Hawksmoor are very different creatures. Shake Shack is about injecting dirty dirty cheese into a portobello mushroom, ladling on some fat and as many little bits of artery clogging death as you can to your meal. Hawksmoor is about good beef, ground up. However, where they have same philosophy is on the bun. The bun is simply something to hold the meat and give it a bit of a crust. It isn’t some quasi baguette you are going lacerate your mouth on. It isn’t something you need to have a mouth extension to be able to get your teeth around. It’s just perfect.

The burger was done just right, a touch of rareness in the middle, no cheap fat to dribble down your chin and a light trail of blood left on your plate. Suffice to say I am a fan and will be coming back at least once a month now I have rediscovered the place (when they first opened many many years ago I came here to get sozzled and bury my hatred of my job).

One thing I would say is that the burger was, as served, under seasoned. Obviously approaches differ on this, some people would prefer to be left with the option to season as they want. I want the chef to do it for me. As it stood I am not sure whether the ground meat had any seasoning (I would actually be curious to know). The homemade ketchup and sides added this to an extent but I found I needed more salt and a spluttering of pepper.

  • Price – £20 for burger and chips and some earth killing bottled water. Not the cheapest but the best burger I have had in London
  • Address – 157 Commercial St, London, E1 6BJ

PS as a postscript I have been on a London burger hunting spree since this review. Byron, Goodman, the Meatwagon have all fallen prey to my hunger and what I have realised is that Hawksmoor is consistently and demonstrably the best.

This really hit me when I visited the Meatwagon and realised that whilst it was great, it was just one cut of meat. There was that consistent taste of premium beef but it didn’t have the variety, the bone marrow the grinding of different cuts of meat that Hawksmoor offers.


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