Hawthorn is on the site of what was the Glasshouse, and opened in January 2023. Owned by head chef Joshua Hunter and former Glasshouse manager Patra Panas, it served a three-course dinner for £65 and weekday lunch for £45. Mr Hunter was formerly at La Trompette and Murano, after training at Leith’s, and most recently was head chef at Holland and Holland in Northwood. Three courses were priced at £65.
The wine list had 80 labels and ranged in price from £30 to £175, with a median price of £91 and an average markup to retail price of 2.98 times, which is quite reasonable by London standards. Sample references were Jean-Louis Chave Côtes du Rhône Mon Coeur 2019 at £40 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £22, The Tithing Grenache Willunga 2016 at £60 compared to its retail price of £24, and the lovely E. Guigal Condrieu 2020 at £115 for a wine that will set you back £48 in the high street. For those with the means there was Bruno Paillard Assemblage 2012 champagne at £170 compared to its retail price of £102, and Vosne-Romanée Domaine du Clos Frantin 2017 at £175 for a wine whose current market value is £61. Corkage was a reasonable £30 per bottle when I visited.I am informed that it has now changed, with the departure of the excellent manager Patra. The new policy is complex and hostile but can be summarised as "£50 per bottle but more for nice wines in an unspecified way, not at all on popular days like Fridays or Saturdays, with limits and maybe not at all if we don't feel in the mood".
A canape of mussel and truffle arancini was excellent, the risotto interior warm and having good texture, the outside crisp (15/20). Rosemary focaccia was made in the kitchen, with very good sourdough from Flourish Bakery in Watford. Sashimi of chalk stream trout was served with puffed black rice, white sesame dressing, pickled turnip and horseradish granita. I am not a fan of chalk stream trout, a farmed product with limited flavour, but I was very impressed by the precisely judged dressing and the horseradish granita, which really enhanced the fish. It takes skill to make a quite ordinary product tastes as good as this (15/20).Terrine of rabbit with lamb sweetbread was served with wild garlic, caramelized onion and lamb bun. The rabbit and sweetbread flavour came through well in the fairly rustic terrine, the caramelized onion providing some sharp and sweet contrast to the terrine (14/20).
Stuffed Suffolk poussin (a young chicken, typically less than a month old) was served with smoked bacon dauphine, malt mustard glazed poussin legs, new season white asparagus and shiitake mushrooms. The poussin was carefully cooked and had good flavour, the white asparagus lightly cooked and the sauce of the cooking juices being enjoyably rich (15/20).
Forced rhubarb souffle came with stem ginger ice cream. The souffle was evenly cooked and had plenty of rhubarb flavour, the sharpness of the rhubarb working nicely with the richness of the eggs in the souffle. The stem ginger was a nice touch, as ginger is a classic flavour pairing with rhubarb (15/20). Coffee was from Caravan roastery and was decent enough, the coffee coming with some chocolate truffles as petit fours.
Service was excellent, and the bill came to £95 a head, which was roughly what you would expect if you shared a modest bottle of wine. I enjoyed my meal at Hawthorn, which to me seemed every bit as good as its predecessor on the site. Hawthorn combines an attractive menu, welcoming service, technically assured cooking and moderate pricing. This is a rare combination in London these days, and I imagine that it will prosper.