This post was written pre-covid
Hawksmoor is a chain of steakhouses and although I’ve never actually visited for a steak dinner (it’s on the to-do list), I’ve visited Hawksmoor in Spitalfields for a roast dinner on a Sunday which left me feeling underwhelmed but I’ve always fancied going there for a spot of breakfast.
Breakfast in a steakhouse? I know, it sounds odd but the menu certainly is filled with protein fuelled food. Of course they do serve steak and eggs for breakfast which I can imagine are pretty damn delicious but I came here to try a full English.
The only Hawksmoor branch to open early for breakfast is the Guildhall restaurant in the City of London but frustratingly it’s only available on a Monday – Friday until 10.30am so you’ll have to take a day off work and sacrifice that lie in to visit in time to order breakfast. I’d prebooked a table at 10.30am which admittedly was cutting it fine for last breakfast orders but I did notice that other guests arrived after me and were able to order from the breakfast menu so I’m not sure how strict Hawksmoor enforce this rule.
The nearest station is Bank, right in the centre of the City of London and it’s just a short walk from here but outside the restaurant there aren’t many signs which left me confused thinking “is this it?” and “is it here?”. When I eventually find it, you’re led straight downstairs where the restaurant is based. This isn’t uncommon for a lot of City places where space is at a premium but I do prefer somewhere that has a little bit of natural light. As you walk down the stairs you go through a bar area and into the main restaurant which is a large banking hall style room with a slight American feel to it. The room is filled with tables to seat roughly 100 covers, surrounded with oak panelling on the walls and brown leather seats – very “gentleman’s club” esque. Around the sides, there were booths which are ideal for larger parties and we were fortunate to be seated in one of these booths looking out across the restaurant. I was nervous that it would be really quiet at this time of morning in the City (it’s not really a tourist spot) but I was pleased that there were enough guests to give a nice atmosphere.
Hawksmoor – What We Ordered
I didn’t need long with the menu as I already knew what I wanted before I’d even sat down – of course it had to be the Hawksmoor Breakfast for two to share (£40) given that this is the only restaurant in London you can get it at! A spur of the moment choice was to add two glasses of breakfast juice to our order (£7) and a latte each (£3.85).
The breakfast juice isn’t as healthy as it sounds – it’s actually a sparkling shiraz which was surprisingly light – a perfect accompanist to the sharing breakfast and although I wouldn’t normally choose an alcoholic drink for breakfast, it’s a nice treat for a special occasion.
The Hawksmoor breakfast, a take on the traditional Full English is absolutely huge, served in a large iron casserole style dish and it’s designed to be shared between two people (hats off to anyone who could finish this monstrosity on their own). The waiter gave us two plates and you serve yourself from the giant dish of food that looks like it could feed half of London. This is no ordinary breakfast …
The first thing I noticed was the two fried eggs that took up a third of the dish, with large golden yolks that dribble everywhere when you cut into them. I grabbed an egg, put it on my plate and begun investigating the food that was hidden underneath the eggs; short-rib beef bubble and squeak! That’s a more unusual addition to a typical full English breakfast but I couldn’t get enough of it (and that’s saying something considering I’m not normally a bubble and squeak fan). I really loved the bacon which was totally next level compared to most breakfasts I’ve had – instead of a couple slices of bacon, you get a whole smoked bacon chop. A WHOLE CHOP. I did find the bacon quite salty and struggled to finish it all but that’s not surprising given how big it was. The sausages were thick, juicy and a combination of pork, beef and mutton but I don’t think the black pudding added much to the dish.
One element that I really disliked was the grilled bone marrow – I’ve never tried this before but I just couldn’t get on with it, it tasted gelatinous and I’m not sure how it fits with a breakfast dish. Next time I visit, I think I’ll ask for them to swap out the bone marrow for hash browns because who doesn’t love hash browns. Although they sound scary, the trotter baked beans were outstanding – a highlight of the dish. They were served in a separate dish and taste wonderfully meaty from the chunks of bacon hidden away with just a hint of sweetness that just cuts through the saltiness of the bacon and sausages. From now on, Heinz are going to be a disappointment. The mushrooms and tomatoes were tasty, fresh and provided a bit of lightness to what is a rich and filling meal.
This breakfast dish comes with gravy, yes gravy! If that wasn’t enough, there’s also unlimited toast but I cannot imagine how anyone can get through all of that food and actually need more toast! From looking around the restaurant, it was clear that this was dish the most popular choice on the menu and I’m confident that it could feed three people comfortably.
Let’s be frank, at £40 it’s expensive compared to your average full English breakfast but in all honesty, there’s nothing average about this breakfast. The portion size alone means you don’t need lunch and Hawksmoor are very generous with the meat.
Hawksmoor – 8/10
Admittedly, it was expensive and it certainly wouldn’t be a regular breakfast spot of mine, but it’s an out of this world breakfast for a special occasion!
Food – 9/10
Service – 7/10
Decor / Ambience – 7/10
The total cost for two people was £69.41 including service and drinks.
Have you visited Hawksmoor before? Feeling Inspired? Check out my London Restaurant Hit List!
10 Basinghall St