DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS: HAWKSMOOR @ SEVEN DIALS
Four years ago, DH decided to celebrate one year of posting about our eating experiences in words and blurry pictures by holding a small supper at one of our favourite restaurants. We posted about it on the blog and managed to rustle up a little over a dozen willing souls to join us for memorable meal at Hawksmoor in Shoreditch.
Move on to 2010 and DINE WITH DH has become, people tell me, one of the more popular dining events in the capital with hundreds of people requesting a place for meals at such notable restaurants as Casa Brindisa, Bentley's Indian Zing, Forman & Field, Vinoteca and The Bull & Last.
It is hard to believe we have hosted a dozen of the things to date, but the combination of a fixed price and great venues seems increasingly popular. So much so that our latest event on Monday 25th could easily have seen ten times the number of people attending as the thirty lucky few whose names I pulled out of a hat.
Mind you, while the numbers may well reflect the popularity of DWDH, they also reflect the fact that our chosen venue for the night was the new Covent Garden Location for Hawksmoor's new restaurant.
DH and Hawksmoor go back a long way. HP was one of the first people to walk through the door of the Shoreditch branch in 2006 and it has become a regular haunt for us ever since. Given that these events may be more spaced out in future with my relocation stateside, I wanted to do something a little bit special for my all too brief return to Blighty and was delighted when Will & Huw said they would be up for hosting a bunch of us during their soft opening.
Unsurprisingly, the new space on Langley Street is stunning. Huw tells me it is a converted brewery and both the bar area (always a vital part of the whole Hawksmoor offering) and main dining area are built around the supporting columns in the cellar space. In the kitchen too, they have done things properly with about ten times the space of the original restaurant and a Josper Grill very much in effect.
After a welcoming cocktail provided by the good people of Ketel One we made our way to a long table set up for us down the spine of the main dining room and left the rest up to restaurant manager, Tim, Will, Huw and the rest of the excellent staff who were using the opportunity to feel their way around their new working space.
There was, of course, plenty of food. There always is at DWDH. The one thing we insist on is that people come away feeling like they have had fantastic value for money. No one has let us down yet and Hawksmoor kept us well on track to some serious meat sweats with a menu that far surpassed even the impressive one they had promised.
I don't have pictures of everything because, quite frankly, I was a little bit pissed and too busy enjoying myself to remember to snap everything with my little point and shoot. Particular mention, however, should go to the Hawksmoor chipolatas made with beef, pork & mutton, the T-bone steak which is still hard to beat as the best steak in London and a collection of stunning sides. Alongside all of that, there were oysters, Tamworth pork ribs, smoked salmon and a couple of exemplary desserts.
As well as the pre-supper cocktail, there was also enough good red wine splashing around to have a bath in and, for those that like that sort of thing, an espresso Martini. All enough to send people out into the chill night air of Central London four hours later pledging to return again and again. Quite right too.
One sour note of the evening, given the number of people who clamoured for tickets, was an e-mail from one pair of diners an hour before the event to say that they were not coming because they were ill. These bugs that hit you an hour before you have to shell out £50 are a bitch aren't they? Perhaps they should, as I reach my sixth decade, but the ill manners of some people never cease to amaze me.
All I can say is Amy Lu and friend, you don't know what you missed.
I am likely to be away from the UK for the next few months as I ponder on matters immigration. However, I am already working on some ideas for next year. So keep 'em peeled. Dine with DH will be back before you know it.