Hawksmoor Borough: High standards maintained (July 2017)

The wonderful thing about Hawksmoor is its consistency – you know you are going to get a damned fine piece of steak. Borough is the fourth of the eight-branch chain I have visited (after Air Street, Gulidhall and Seven Dials) and the standards set on previous visits were more than adequately maintained here. The Borough outlet was exceptionally accommodating, serving a group of sixteen of us over a recent lunch; and despite our multiple requests/ needs, everyone left happy. For those unfamiliar with the idea behind Hawksmoor, think quintessential British with a modern twist: wood panelling but natural light in the venue; a lot of meat, but also some pretty funky cocktails and an extensive wine list. The summer set menu of 2 courses for £25 or 3 for £28, (£30, if you want a cocktail thrown in), constitutes amazing value, and even eating the default house options suggested here provides a great insight into what makes Hawksmoor so good. The undoubted highlight for me from the set menu was the main course (chosen from a list of three) comprising 300g of 35-day old rump steak, a lump of meat that was about as tender and flavoursome as it might be possible to imagine. Combined with a macaroni cheese side – yes, it does work – and this is a form of culinary heaven (the impact to the waistline might, of course, be a different matter). We loved the wines too, which even at the lower-end of the list, delivered: a sparkling from Oregon, white from England and red from Austria. There were some small gripes: Hawksmoor missed a trick not suggesting some bread, olives or similar for the table when we arrived – an obvious up-sell given the size of the group and the time it took to order; and, vegetarians were poorly catered for (salad followed by salad on the set menu). These are easy fixes and should not diminish from what remains generally a great dining experience worth repeating.