Opened in late 2021, Hawksmoor can now be found amongst the scrapers of Canary Wharf. The Wood Wharf branch – their 7th in the capital – is housed in an eco-friendly floating pavilion made from sustainably sourced timber decking and with a green roof planted with wildflowers and grasses. It is their biggest and most ambitious space yet, spread over three levels with a 150-cover restaurant, a 120-cover bar, and outdoor space.
Harden's survey result
“Still one of the steak stalwarts of London…”; “still our go-to place for a relaxed night out…”; “still the place for a discreet business meeting in the City…”. Few brands inspire as much long-term adulation as Huw Gott and Will Beckett’s steakhouse chain, which has ridden the zeitgeist since its founding in 2006; and which is now (with the help of Graphite Capital, who own most of it nowadays) to be found in NYC and Dublin, as well as Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool. A “terrific” cocktail in the bar, precedes “awesome steaks with fantastic side dishes, all in a cool setting”. At least, that’s long been the accepted wisdom anyway, although there’s a widespread feeling that quality “has dropped off a bit in recent years”. In this year’s annual diners’ poll, ratings improved in some respects and declined in others, with historical concerns over stratospheric prices supplanted by niggles that maybe the formula is just “starting to look a tad tired” and that service – though often “excellent” – can also sometimes seem increasingly “impersonal” (“you are just a number!”). The majority verdict for the time being, though? Still “always hits the spot”.
“Bloody good, succulent steaks”, with “epic cocktails and wines”, all served in “rather clubby”, “classy” surroundings is a formula that’s won fame and fortune for Huw Gott and Will Beckett’s steakhouse phenomenon. “Many happy afternoons have been lost in these places!”, which continue to be voted as London’s “best steak chain by far”, and “a go-to for business”. “Everything is top-notch: the quality and cookery of the beef; the exemplary seafood (be it Salcombe crab on toast or their lobster); even down to their excellent sides of mac ’n’ cheese, bone marrow or Caesar salad”. However, a visit “is not exactly easy on the wallet”. “It’s verrrrry expensive” (and “if you go with mates who like to chug back the wine, the bill will be massive!”). And ratings are coming under ever-more pressure due to “staff who seem unable to cope”, or meals with “too many misses at too heavy a price to be a reliable bet”. Last year, the team expanded to Manhattan and also opened a “stunning floating boat/barge” in the docks at Canary Wharf. Later in 2022, the group will also add a Liverpool branch to rival Manchester’s; and a few months later make a Dublin debut on College Green too. “Are they losing some of their je-ne-sais-quoi as they get bigger and badder? There’s a sneaking suspicion the lustre is being slightly lost.”
“Perfectly aged, hung and cooked – this place is steak-heaven”. Huw Gott and Will Beckett absolutely nailed it with this zeitgeisty 15-year-old chain of steakhouses, which they still part-own (and which – in July 2021 – announced the possibility, later cancelled, of floating on the London Stock Exchange to fuel future growth). For a generation of London restaurant-goers, “Hawksmoor hits it every single time” and the increasing introduction of fish from a dedicated buyer at Brixham market is a popular (and wise) innovation. Is it finally becoming a victim of its own success though? Ratings slipped notably this year due to an assortment of non-pandemic-related gripes (“beginning to feel formulaic…”; “just not tasty enough for such high prices…”; “still knocks out a succulent ribeye, but not what it was…”). Still, in late 2021 they’re gearing up for the biggest and most ambitious space yet, and their first branch amidst the scrapers of Canary Wharf. Spread over three levels, it will be housed in an eco-friendly floating pavilion made from sustainably sourced timber decking, aluminium extracted from hydro sources, and with a green roof planted with wildflowers and grasses! [Instead of the wildflowers and grasses and aluminium extracted from hydro sources, should we all maybe just eat less meat!? Ed]
Huw Gott and Will Beckett “do the ‘casual excellence’ thing very well indeed” and their still über-fashionable steakhouse chain (founded in 2006) occupies a niche in the hearts of London’s fooderati like no other, with its “distinctly clubby” (“big, loud and busy”) style, its “to-die-for cocktails” and its “top steaks”: British-bred and “char-grilled to perfection over wood fires, with deliciously indulgent sides”. Ratings for such a phenomenon have sometimes seemed middling in comparison to its renown – a reflection of the very full pricing that’s always been their policy. That said, despite some accusations that “it’s all gone downhill in recent times”, its grades actually bounced back significantly in the last survey, and remain in line with its past best. The City branch in particular shines. “Dark dens and out-of-this-world quality beef are the cornerstones of dealmaking. What deal would not reach a happy ending fuelled by a perfectly cooked rib-eye, grilled bone marrow, and beef dripping fries?”
For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).
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Hawksmoor Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Menu very much focussed on steak. we had the cast iron fillet with bone marrow skirl which was well seasoned although they were less rare than I would have liked. Starter of bone marrow was very good but a large portion for a starter. Is a very big room so can easily feel a bit empty."
"Not so good as usual tonight. Summer veg starter was bland. Meat not so tasty as usual. Service was faultless and friendly."
"Crab starter, the sides and the sirloin steak all thumping winners. Steak all grass-fed, chewy char. Halibut slightly over and on the woolly side. Service smiley. Location on an island in amongst the scrapers a stunner. "
"Monday night. Lacked the usual buzz. Everything else was fine."