Hawksmoor Seven Dials

11 Langley Street, Covent Garden, London, England, WC2H 9JJ, United Kingdom

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This is the Covent Garden younger sister to the original Hawksmoor in east London. This is larger premises (142 covers at capacity) with a generous bar and extensive basement dining room, tucked away in a side street off Shelton Street. There is a parquet floor, vaulted brick ceilings and muzak playing, though the noise levels were not too high and the music choice (including Elvis Costello and Amy Winehouse) at least showed some good taste.

Starters range from £6.50 - £15, vegetables £4 a pop, and a burger and chips £15. Just as you would expect, the meat here is the main attraction, based on Longhorn cattle raised in Yorkshire, the meat aged for at least 35 days, supplied by the Ginger Pig Butchers. A 300g fillet steak costs £30 (£29 for 600g bone-in sirloin). The head chef is Richard Turner, who trained under Marco Pierre White before becoming head chef at Quo Vadis in the late 1990s.

The wine list, as at its older sister, is generously priced at the higher end of the list, and put together with considerable thought. Domaine Cabriels Pinot Noir 2009 was £23 for a wine you can pick up for £6 in the shops, Cederberg Shiraz 2007 was £47.50 for a wine that retails at around £15, the excellent Bonny Doon Cigare Volant 2006 was £55 compared to a retail price of £19, and the gorgeous Alion 2005 was £95 for a wine that can in principle be bought for £45, whilst the superb Didier Dagenau Silex 2007 was £140 for a wine that costs £76 to buy.

The winter salad had fresh leaves, slices of apple, walnuts, beanshoots and Colston Basset Stilton. The leaves had plenty of dressing, which to my taste could have had a fraction more vinegar relative to oil, but this was certainly pleasant (13/20), and the apple gave some acidity to balance the cheese. The burger featured a brioche bap supplied from the very good St John bakery, beef with a little bone marrow, and traditional topping of lettuce, cheese, onion and tomato. The meat had good taste and a hint of charcoal from the grill, and even the tomato ketchup was made from scratch (14/20). Chips were triple cooked (hurrah) but were still not as crisp as they could be. The Hinds Head really knows how to make triple cooked chips, though the ones today were certainly more than serviceable (14/20).

Service was capable and my waitress friendly. This lunch was very enjoyable, but hardly cheap. I took advantage of the express menu, and just had tap water to drink, but my salad, burger and chips came to £20 before service. For £25 you could, at the time of writing, eat a three course lunch at, say, Gauthier, which with all due respect to Hawksmoor is in an altogether higher category of food.


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