To celebrate the passing of a big exam as well as other minor bits and pieces, I had booked a lunch at Hawksmoor Seven Dials for me, Blai and my brother. I’d never been to this or their original restaurant as I just never crave steak enough to warrant a visit; I do cook it at home though. My brother’s particularly fond of burgers, however, and I’d been aware for a while of the other dishes they offer, dishes that are particularly enticing. And so last Saturday, we headed down to Seven Dials to eat at Hawksmoor.
The minimal entrance didn’t give much hint of what we’d find beyond the reception. It turned out to be a basement restaurant (and a bar) that was much larger than I expected. The generously sized tables were spaced well and the chairs were supremely comfortable and when even half full, there’s a great buzz to the place (that said, booking is highly recommended). By default, when you sit in the restaurant, you are, of course, given the restaurant menu with its starters and steaks; if you’re looking for the burgers, they’re on the bar menu and you’re going to have to ask for that. We did.
To start, we ordered one of their Pork Belly Ribs (£9.00) to split between the three of us. Two large chunks arrived and we dove in. Unctuous, melting, tender, soft, savoury…these were the ribs of dreams. We almost licked the plate clean.
For mains, the boys both went for burgers. My brother went for the classic Hawksmoor Hamburger (£15.00) and declared it to be the best burger he’s had (so far). I had a bite and it was indeed meaty and gorgeous and everything you’d want in a burger. The best? I don’t know – I haven’t really been keeping track but it was certainly excellent.
Blai went for the Third Burger (£15.00 and it changes often); that day, it was a hamburger topped with a Welsh rarebit sauce and a fried egg and served with fried pickles on the side. This was as rich and delicious as you can imagine with the fried egg just gilding the lily.
Perhaps one day we’ll try their famous kimchi burger but today wasn’t going to be that day. And, oh yes, the fried pickles were excellent.
The burgers came with an order of chips each and in the interests of science, we chose one of the triple cooked chips (left) and one of the beef dripping ones (right). While my brother preferred the outside crunch of the beef dripping ones, both Blai and I preferred the triple cooked ones. I felt the cut of the beef ones were just too thick and while they would be fine by themselves, the dripping was too rich when paired with the already meaty burgers.
I went all out and ordered the Warm Lobster Roll (£25.00). It wasn’t cheap but it’s a good size and there is the meat from a whole lobster mixed with a garlic and hazelnut butter stuffed inside the toasted soft bun. A small ramekin of bearnaise just added to the luxuriousness of it all. And indeed, it was gorgeous but I did suffer from lobster fatigue while I still had one or two bites remaining.
You know what would be fantastic? One of those pork ribs (boneless) stuffed into the roll used for the lobster roll. I’m just saying.
There’s always room for dessert, right? It being a relatively warm day and to counteract all that rich food, we wanted something cold on our tongues. That called for ice cream!
My brother’s “scoop” of cornflake ice cream (£3.00) had us wondering whether they had mistakenly served the cornflake sundae instead; nope, they hadn’t. The ice cream tasted like the milk you’d have at the bottom of your bowl of cereal and was full of chunks of cornflake pralines.
Blai and I split two different things. His chosen blood orange sorbet (£3.00) was light and very refreshing and, like my brother’s dessert, again was an oversized scoop.
I thought the winner was my chosen sticky toffee sundae (£5.00) with its toffee sauce and chunks of sticky toffee pudding. See that darkness at the bottom of the glass? It’s a big lump of pudding stuffed down there. Oh yeah.
One day we’ll actually return for the steaks but what we had was excellent. With a couple of drinks and service, our bill came to about £92, making the bar menu a more affordable way to enjoy the restaurant.
Hawksmoor (Seven Dials)
11 Langley St
London WC2H 9JG