Monday, 24 October 2011

Sunday Roast: Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor does great steaks and cocktails, I would say the best in London, but how does it fare when cooking the classic of British cooking le rostbif (incidentally they only do le rostbif, rather tha le rostlamb or  le rostpork, so don't go if you fancy something else)?  The thing is they know meat, but a great roast is a lot more than that, I would almost, but not quite, go as far as to say that the meat is secondary to trimmings.  Thankfully with a yorkshire pudding the size of a flying saucer and bone marrow and onion gravy of unlimited refills up their sleeves they are doing very well indeed.

Let's start with the meat though - 55 day aged rump - decent, but not high fat content, lovely and juicy, and cooked (unsuprisingly perfectly).  The quality of the meat, again unsuprisingly, was fantastic, full of flavour and complexity.  Even better they start off the cooking of the joint over a charcoal fire in nearly medieval fashion, though if they had really gone for it I suppose it would be over wood, before transferring to the oven.  The effect is lovely crispy edges full of the flavour of charred meat and smokey fat - pretty triumphant really.

So a good start.  I've already mentioned the Yorkshire, which was fantasticly flaovoured from the very good dripping it had been cooked in.The outside was crisp and the base nice and soft giving a nice textural contrast and providing an excellent vehicle for gravy mopping.  And what gravy it was - rich and characterful from the bone marrow and sweet from the onions, nice and thick and glossy just as it should be.   The gravy's other natural foil the roast potato was also very good, cooked in goose fat it was lovely and crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy inside.  Having said that, I like sharper edges on my spud, rather than these rounded things, in order to get the ridiculously crispy edges that I particularly enjoy (my Granny's roast potatoes - incidentally the best ever - were not done in the oven at all, but rather dropped in the deep frier - that's the Scottish for you, absolutely fearless in matters of dietary health).  Also there were only three, my personal record is 14 of similar size, and though admittedly that is excessive and I don't do it often it does mean that when I see only a handful of roasties I feel a little let down.  The only other slight complaint was the cabbage, it had lovely flavour, but I would have liked it cooked a bit longer and with a bit more butter. If I'm being really fussy I would say that I also prefer Savoy cabbage, and maybe a  bit more salt.  The seasoning issue held true for most of the meal and though not lacking entirely it wasn't quite pitch perfect.  However, these are mere niggles, the veg, especially the carrots were exceptional as was the whole meal.

Hawksmoor's roast, alongside its steaks and burgers comes highly recommended.  They know more about beef than anywhere else in London.  Almost as impressive was a marmalade cocktail from their defoggers page.  Though not as much to my personal tastes as a boozy Old Fashioned or Julep did exactly what it said on the tin and made me feel great, a slight suprise during the early afternoon on a Sunday. 

Now I can't wait to go back and try their breakfast!

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