The Hawksmoor Burger. Everyone loves it. Often touted as the best burger in London by the food bloggerati, I had to try it. Fast forward to a Friday lunchtime and a decadent solo lunch.
Not everyone loves solo lunches, but I do. Every now and then, there’s nothing nicer than being very nice to yourself, allowing yourself some quiet time. You, a nice meal and a glass of nice wine in nice surroundings. Enter a book that’s grabbed your attention, and for me, that’s a perfect couple of hours. Of course, I also love more gregarious ones, they’re the most fun of all, but life’s about balance and contrast and to appreciate one you need the other.
Hawksmoor at lunchtime on Fridays is busy. Very busy. Lots of people, lots of chat, lots of steak on the tables and lots of people drinking wine. I like it. I seat myself at the bar and on the barman’s recommendation (I told him I would be ordering the burger and would like a red wine with body but also some fruit), ordered a glass of Main Divide Pinot Noir, 2007 from Pegasus Bay in New Zealand. I love NZ Pinot Noirs, and yet this one takes me by surprise, it’s really fruity yet has lots of structure. It feels like a delicious and naughty interlude while I wait for my burger. It’s only 1pm after all.
The Hawksmoor burger is at the high end of the London burger market at £15, but then Hawksmoor is no ordinary steakhouse. They carefully source their product, after much research settling on the Ginger Pig Longhorn cattle. They serve, in their words, dictionary- thick steaks from North Yorkshire dry aged for at least 35 days. Their philosophy is simple, they source high quality steak and do very little to it, simply searing it on a blisteringly hot charcoal grill, and delivering it with a gorgeous char ready to be devoured. I loved it when I was there last time and the burger now awaited me.
It was time – the burger arrived. I put down my wine glass and my book and surveyed this delicious looking creature. Delivered with triple cooked chips, pioneered by Heston Blumenthal and now replicated elsewhere, the burger glistens from beneath a seeded brioche, smelling intensely meaty and covered with a thin coating of Ogleshield Cheese from Somerset with a little salad. Just a little.
Burgers are to be eaten with your hands, and even though this is a big one, this is what I did. It’s a burger! Eat it the way it should be eaten. The flavour was so rich and gorgeous, full of umami. I felt like, in the best possible way, I was licking a roasting tray having slow roasted some meat over night. It was gorgeous, intense, moist and fatty. People complain about fat, but that’s where the flavour is, a good burger needs it. The chips were good, but I really didn’t care about them now, I wanted only the burger. The wine was a lovely accompaniment, I was only sad that I could only have one glass. It is lunchtime and I must have some standards. Occasionally.
Why is the burger so special? Like most deceptively simple things, it’s the attention to detail that delivers something that stands out. Consisting of of 100% Longhorn, it includes old fashioned cuts like Clod and Sticking and small nuggets of bone marrow. Ah bone marrow, now I understand the intensity.
So, hats off to Hawksmoor for delivering the finest burger that I have tasted in London. I look forward to trying it again, with a delicious glass of that lovely Pinot Noir.