I was going to the opening of an exhibition at the Whitechapel (I’m SO painfully bloody cultured, yah?) and was in need of somewhere to eat afterwards that wasn’t a curry on Brick Lane. I tweeted for recommendations and hilariously the Brick Lane curry touts (never ones to miss a trick) have taken things firmly into the 21st century, trawling Twitter for anyone mentioning Brick Lane and offering them a 30% discount. No thanks, mate. Already eaten. After weighing up the options (St. John Bread and Wine, Needo Grill etc) I remembered that Hawksmoor now have a bar in the basement of the Spitalfields restaurant. I love Hawksmoor but can’t afford to eat there as often as I’d like so the idea of Hawksmoor-quality food at bar prices sounded very good indeed.
We headed over there not sure we’d be able to get a table, but luckily there was plenty of room and we were seated immediately by one of Hawksmoor’s trademark friendly hipster staff. Inside is also trademark Hawksmoor - vintage industrial brass, leather and wood, low-lit and atmospheric.
It’s rude to come to a Hawksmoor establishment and not have a cocktail so I went for a Shakey Pete (gin, ginger syrup, lemon juice and London Pride all mixed up in a Slush Puppy machine - sweet and refreshing) . Mrs MBFBY? had the Marmalade Cocktail (Gin, Campari, bitters, lemon juice and marmalade - sharp and sophisticated. Just like her.) The food menu is short, and very tricky to choose from as it all sounds bloody lovely. There’s burgers, hot dogs, lobster roll and various sides - we went for chicken wings, ‘smashed’ cucumbers and chips.
Continuing the trend, the burger topped with extra short rib beef was more than worthy of all the praise heaped upon it. Lighter-than-air bun and the best quality beef I’ve found in any burger, anywhere.
The chips were perfect as you’d expect. The smashed cucumbers were an interesting dish - large crunchy chunks of peeled cucumber ‘smashed’ together with garlic and vinegar. It’s certainly the most filling cucumber dish I’ve ever had, and provides a nice bit of green to offset all the brown food we’ve ordered.
Chicken wings were superb. They’re covered in a sweet, sticky sauce which I’m guessing has some kind of booze in it (Southern Comfort maybe?) Added points for serving blue cheese dressing on-the-side. You should definitely order these.
So far, so Hawksmoor. Continuing the trend, the burger topped with extra short rib beef was more than worthy of all the praise heaped upon it. Lighter-than-air bun and the best quality beef I’ve found in any burger, anywhere. It’s a manageable size too, and at £8.50 (plus an extra quid for the short rib) a total bargain.
The only thing I wasn’t keen on was the lobster roll. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when it turned up. It’s just too small. I know lobster is expensive and all that but 15 quid for a tiny finger roll (especially when compared to the impressive looking burger) felt like poor value. It was tasty enough and the bun was lovely, but I kept finding bits of shell in there. Also I had to send the first one back as the bun was burnt (you can’t send out a 15 quid sandwich with a burnt bun!) but this was dealt with efficiently and politely, again as you’d expect from Hawksmoor.
Definitely get the chicken wings and the burger. Don’t get the lobster roll.
Overall it’s a great place to pop in for a few drinks and a bite to eat. Definitely get the chicken wings and the burger. Don’t get the lobster roll. Stick with the burger, some Kernel IPA and a few sides and you have yourself the Hawksmoor experience at a very reasonable price.
Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar
157 Commercial St
020 7426 4856
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