Browsing Tag

fillet steak

London, Restaurants

Dinner at Hawksmoor Knightsbridge

With so many renowned London institutions to strike off the list, it’s likely that a few will slip through the net.  After visiting this weekend, I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t experience the beauty that is Hawksmoor much earlier!

When I first started blogging in 2009, Will Beckett and Huw Gott’s British steakhouse Hawksmoor was on the lips (and keyboards) of London foodies, who raved about its superior steaks and burgers punctuated with small nuggets of bone marrow.  It’s fair to say that this grassroots acclaim has paved the way for Hawksmoor to expand to six locations across London and one in Manchester.  The original restaurant is based in Spitalfields, appropriately named after Nicholas Hawksmoor, the architect of nearby Christ Church.

After a leisurely afternoon of Christmas shopping, we arrived at Hawksmoor Knightsbridge for an early dinner.  Usually Saturday night dining in central London needs to be organised with military precision, but just a few days ahead, I secured our spot easily with Bookatable, dining from the set dinner at 5pm.

Subterranean Hawksmoor Knightsbridge is discreetly tucked away on Yeoman’s Row, just a short walk from Harrods, V&A and Hyde Park.  Designed by Macaulay Sinclair, the restaurant has a retro clubhouse feel with reclaimed walnut panelling, brass lamps, touches of grey marble and stunning amber-hued Art Deco windows.

It’s a slick, polished operation yet the ambiance cultivated is unpretentious with a cool indie soundtrack and friendly staff mostly dressed in plaid shirts and glasses.  There’s also an intimate cocktail bar away from the main dining room where you can graze on burgers, steak sandwiches lobster rolls.

Dining at the pre-theatre time of 5pm may seem early, but since Hawksmoor Knightsbridge is a popular restaurant, it was already buzzing and filled up quickly.  The set lunch or dinner is an excellent way to get a taste of Hawksmoor’s signature dishes at a very reasonable price – two course for £24 or three courses for £27.

I started with a very generous portion of Tamworth belly ribs with vinegar slaw.  The pork was so tender and flaky, with lean meat packed between layers of melt-in-the-mouth fat.  They were nicely charred on the outside and coated in a punchy dry rub with aromatic flavors of cumin, star anise and chipotle chilli.

The paper-thin ribbons of red cabbage doused in a tangy vinegar added freshness and helped offset the unexpected spiciness – my mouth was left tingling after I finished.

Steven tried the Potted smoked mackerel, which was a simple classic done well.  The mackerel had a bold, clean flavour with a layer of clarified butter on top and served with dill cucumbers and crispy toasts.  The other dish on the set menu was Roast beetroot salad with goat’s cheese, which looked colourful, fresh and inviting.

For the main course, I was happy to find two steak options, avoiding any potential squabbles over who would order the meat.  For a £5 supplement I enjoyed the most heavenly, medium-cooked Fillet tail (200g). The presentation was minimal without any leaves, herbs or garnish in sight, but that didn’t really matter, as the steak certainly impressed.

Fillet is my favourite cut of steak and this one was excellent with a pink, succulent centre graduating to smoky, chargrilled edges and with a pure, natural flavour.  I always ask for my steak medium, but with this thick cut, you could easy go down to medium-rare for a little more juiciness.

The set dinner also includes one side and I highly recommend the Baked sweet potato.  The potato flesh is so soft and tender, it simply falls off the buttery skin and is the perfect accompaniment for the steak.  The only thing missing is a choice of sauce, but you can order a side of Béarnaise, peppercorn or Stilton Hollandaise for an additional £3.

Steven’s Rib-eye (250g) was just as tasty and beautifully-cooked with a mature, aged flavour.  The layer of fat and softness of the meat gave it richness – well-suited to those who prefer a more complex taste.  The thick-cut Triple cooked chips were golden, hot and crispy and served with a delicious home-made tomato ketchup that had a sweet hint of cinnamon.  Other options are Hake or Ricotta dumplings with autumn vegetables, but really, it’s all about the meat.

We found the steaks to be just the right size for a filling, satisfying meal, however the steaks on the main menu go up to a whopping 500g!  You’ll need to loosen your purse strings a little more, but then again the quality is undisputed, with steaks from ethically-reared traditional British breeds.

For dessert, I went all out with the indulgent Peanut butter shortbread, which was even better than I expected.  A freshly-baked pastry star was filled with molten dark chocolate sauce and velvety peanut butter, finished with salted caramel ice cream and crushed peanuts.  It was simply heaven on a plate, ending my meal on the sweetest note.

Steven’s Lemon and yoghurt cheesecake was zingy and refreshing, but I found it too creamy.  The whipped cheesecake filling was a bit overwhelming and lacked the tartness that a cheesecake should have, plus the biscuit base was mixed in so there was no crunch.  Go for the Peanut butter shortbread (or perhaps the other option of Passionfruit pavlova) instead.

I can safely say I’ve been initiated into the cult of Hawksmoor and am already planning our next steak jaunt, perhaps to the Spitalfields restaurant closer to home.  The set dinner is excellent value with a great selection of winning dishes and you’re sure to leave feeling happy and well-fed.

For more information and booking, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Bookatable

Photos by Chérie City and Hawksmoor Knightsbridge 

London, Restaurants

The Grill On The Market – West Smithfield, London

Smithfield Market is one of my favourite foodie areas in London, as it has a real  ‘old world’ atmosphere with its cobbled streets and Victorian architecture.  I’ve had some great dinners in this neighbourhood, so expectations are always high when trying a new grill restaurant.

The Grill on the Market overlooks West Smithfield and is much larger than it appear from outside, with a large yet homely bar, two dining rooms and a private dining space.  Formerly the Smithfield Bar & Grill, it is now part of the Blackhouse group, which also has branches in Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds and Cheshire.

When we arrived, the place was already buzzing and filled with the mouth-watering aromas of grilled meat.  We were sat in an curved leather booth, which made it much more intimate and cosy than a regular face-to-face table.

The restaurant was very festive, with elegant garlands and baubles adorning the walls and live music from an excellent jazz pianist, singing a mix of swinging Christmas songs and old classics.  It really added to the warm atmosphere and I would love to see more live jazz in London restaurants…if it’s done well.

I started with the Baby Scallop, Garlic and Bacon Salad (£6.50).  The baby scallops were plump, soft and perfectly bite-size.  The mixed leaves with a garlic, herb and olive oil dressing and thin matchsticks of crispy bacon went perfectly with the scallops.  It was a light and tasty dish – perfect before an indulgent steak.

Steven went for the Salt and Pepper Chicken kebabs (£6.75).  The chicken was tender and well-marinated and came with a sweet chili ginger dipping sauce, topped with fresh chili and spring onions.

The cocktail list at The Grill on the Market is a tempting mix of classics with a twist and the restaurant’s own inventive concoctions.  My Ginger Sidecar (£7.50) – Martell VS, King’s Ginger Liqueur, Ginger puree, sweetened lemon juice and Bittertruth orange flower water – was absolutely delicious.  It was sweet, aromatic and packed full of potent ginger.

Steven ordered a Smoky Old Fashioned (£7.50) – Woodford Reserve, maple syrup, oak smoke and an ice ball.  The cocktail was served in a glass bottle filled with smoke and our waiter advised to swirl the liquid around the bottle for an extra smoky taste.  It tasted oaky, smooth, slightly sweet and was very easy to drink.

For the main course, it had to be the Fillet Steak (200g) (£22.50) with a skewer of garlic prawns (£6).  My medium-cooked steak was thick, tender, succulent and full of juice.  The garlic prawns were so fresh with a subtle garlic taste.  They went so well together, that regular steak will just never be the same.

The large portion of triple-cooked skin-on chips were perfectly cooked and the Béarnaise sauce was creamy, buttery and indulgent.  I couldn’t finish the entire bowl of chips, so I’d recommend sharing, if you both order steak.

Steven’s Traditional Fish and Chips (£13.50) was exceptionally good.  The two fillets of cod were fresh, succulent and covered in a crisp, golden batter that wasn’t too oily or heavy.  The smashed minted peas were more interesting than regular mushy peas and other extras were a tangy tartar sauce and a tiny jar of pickled onions.

My Red Velvet Cake with kumquat clotted cream (£5.95) was disappointing, as the flavours didn’t stand out after two courses including lots of garlic, however the texture was pleasant.  Unfortunately the cake had absorbed the aromas of the savory food in the kitchen, so it didn’t taste quite as it should.

I had serious envy of Steven’s Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla ice cream (£6), which was the best that a pudding can be.  It was light and spongy with tiny flecks of oats and a scrumptious, buttery toffee sauce – not at all stodgy or overly sweet.

We finished with another round of floral, fragrant coctkails.  My Mint and Violet Crush (£7) – Bacardi Superior, Briottet Violett, mint, sugar syrup and fresh lime juice topped with lemonade – tasted like a Parma Violet Mojito.  It was delicately perfumed and the floral aromas perfectly complimented the citrus zing of the lime.

Steven’s Rosewater Collins (£7) – Bacardi Superior, Briottet Rose, sweetened lemon juice, Bittertruth Rose flower water and soda – was just as refreshing, with lots of lemon and a pretty pink colour.  Both drinks would be particularly cooling and delicious in the summer.

The Grill on the Market is perfect for a fun, relaxed, unashamedly carnivorous evening, with friendly service in a comfortable setting.  It’s one of those places that you go with friends, family or your partner and while the steak with all the extras can push the main meal towards the £30 mark, the burgers and fish and chips are more affordable yet substantial options.

For more information and booking, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of The Grill on the Market

Photos by Chérie City and The Grill on the Market

The Grill on the Market on Urbanspoon