Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hawksmoor Kinghtsbridge - London

OK! Let me first clear the air.

Mera Bharat Mahan

Bharat Mata Ki Jai

Swachh Bharat

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana

Yes, we ate beef. I hope we are let back in India. I guess we should be Ok as I have sworn my allegiance to India by starting with a few choice slogans.

Dinner was at Hawksmoor Knightsbridge - the British Steakhouse and Cocktail bar mini chain. We have been to Hawksmoor Air Street several times in the past, but, never this branch. Located a couple of meters down from the legendary Harrods in a large basement, the restaurant seats 120, so it is not really intimate. The décor is Art Deco which I quite like. When we reached for our 7.30 reservation the place was 60% full, by the time we left, it was heaving.

As we sat and ordered, HRH the Queen of Kutch told me that after Peter Luger in Brooklyn in July 2017, this was the first steak that we were eating!! Probably correct. We do eat a lot of Buffalo in India but not in steak form. And the last few trips to London, for some reason or another we have not eaten at a steak restaurant.

Menus were handed out by a most rare creature – an experienced English waiter. What a pleasure. Gin and Tonic to start, cool refreshing and delicious. Fever Tree Tonic is so much better than the rather sweet Schweppes we get in India.

To start we ordered a portion of Potted Beef & Bacon that is served with Yorkshire Pudding and a Brown Onion Sauce. Potted Beef is much like a Rillette, where the beef is cooked in stock till it breaks down. I presume the fat comes from the beef as well as the bacon. The result is you have a delicious, simply flavored, unctuous, beef Pate. Yorkshire Puddings are savory, not sweet, made in a muffin pan with a batter consisting of flour, milk and eggs. The runny batter is poured into very hot muffin trays with beef dripping. The result is a perfect accompaniment. Some what a cross between a Poori and Pao. Very light and airy. This was delicious with the Potted Beef. An excellent starter.

A 750-gram [with the bone] T Bone for two cooked medium rare was our choice for our main course. This was accompanied by Roasted Bone Marrow, Creamed Spinach and Skinny Fries. No sauces, just some English Mustard. The T Bone was very good, soft, well seasoned, crunchy and charred on the outside. I must say that the T Bone was far from the brilliant T Bone we had at Peter Luger. It was the same cut, however, a different animal differently bred and differently fed. Makes a huge difference. Despite the poor comparison with Peter Luger, this was a very good meal.

If you have not read my post on Peter Luger and Hawksmoor Air Street, please do. That gives you a good background on steaks.

Desserts were a rather sweet Sticky Toffee Pudding and a better Peanut Butter Shortcake with Caramel Ice Cream.

To some extent, steak restaurants are much like Tandoori/Kebab restaurants. You could argue that in some ways Tandoori/Kebab cooking is more complex as an additional step of marinating the meat is involved. Thus, the complexity of the marinade is a step not done in a steak house. But leave that argument aside. The cooking in Steak houses and Tandoori/Kebab restaurants is similar – meat cooked simply on open flames on in a hot pan – but getting a top quality of steak or Tandoori/Kebab is rare. Very few places get that correct. Even this simple cooking requires lots of value add, skill and most importantly, sourcing. Hawksmoor has definitely got it, as does, in my opinion, Bukhara/Peshawri at the ITC in India.

Leaving aside the booze, you should expect to pay about GBP 50 or INR 5,000 per head in Hawksmoor for a starter, main and dessert. This is about on par with the Bukhara/Peshawri at the ITC in India.


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