Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Epic Breakfast at Hawksmoor Guildhall

I debated (for about 30 seconds) whether I should blog about the new Hawksmoor Guildhall breakfast. I am, after all, intimately related to the joint owner Will Beckett ('Will’s mum' being the moniker by which I’m most commonly known these days). But I’m so fired up about the place and the food which is actually masterminded not by Will but his business partner Huw Gott and chef Richard Turner, that I couldn’t resist.

Full English takes on another meaning at Hawksmoor. Those of you who have already experienced the brunch at their first Spitalfields restaurant will be familiar with the outsize bacon chops, steaks, and HkMuffin (Hawksmoor’s cheeky take on the Egg McMuffin) which make it unnecessary to eat for the rest of the day.

All make an appearance at the new Guildhall restaurant along with British stalwarts such as kippers, omelette Arnold Bennett and - what I decided to eat before I even sat down - the Edwardian favourite devilled veal kidneys on toast (above).

Just to demonstrate I haven’t entirely abandoned my critical faculties I would say the devilling was a touch fierce for 9am in the morning, even penetrating my current cold but the kidneys were perfect, the saucing just right and the toast firm enough not to disintegrate under the onslaught. Partnered with a side of Hawksmoor hash browns (the best I’ve eaten, a must if you go there) it made a bracing start to the day.

I also sneaked a bit of the Marmalade French toast which hadn’t penetrated my radar which is served improbably but successfully with hot chocolate given the Flat White treatment. Drenched in custard spiked with Pedro Ximenez sherry it probably runs perilously close to breaching most City firms’ anti-alcohol policies.

There had been reports - and somewhat unflattering pictures - of the doughnuts which do have the unfortunate appearance of spewing something unspeakable but believe me They Are Good, oozing with creamy vanilla custard (they like custard at Hawksmoor) and fresh-tasting plum jam. I also managed a bite (just a bite - honest) of a melty chocolate Danish-cum-pain-au-chocolat, an outrageously rich toffee-pecan thingy and an almond pastry stuffed with an indecent amount of almond paste.

On the credit side I managed to resist anything boozy (French toast aside) including the new Cornflake Hardshake (cornflake milkshake with added bourbon), my favourite marmalade cocktail, which you can also order at Seven Dials, and the Bloody Mary ‘buffet’ (pic at top of post) where you can go up and mix one to your own taste, opting instead for an invigoratingly healthy orange juice blend (carrot, orange, yellow pepper and ginger) of a livid colour that might come as a bit of a shock if you have a hangover. You may want to wear your shades.

Trying very hard to be objective, I would love Hawksmoor even if I wasn’t related to it. Theres an Alice in Wonderland ‘eat me’ edge of mania about the food which owes a great deal to the inventiveness and greed of Huw and Rich. And the staff are always so incredibly friendly - though you would, I suppose, be nice to the boss’s mum wouldn’t you . . .

PS Nearly forgot to say. They also have a couple of dinner dishes they don’t do at Seven Dials and Spitalfields including veal chops and oysters, a ginormous mixed grill (to pre-order) and a seven course beef menu to share for parties of 8-10 including the outrageously good beef shin macaroni which you can find - ta-daaa - in the new Hawksmoor at Home book in which I'm proud to have played a small supporting role.

PPS Hawksmoor Guildhall is only open from Mondays to Fridays

Disclaimer: I ate at Hawksmoor - and generally do - as a guest of my son. So take maternal fondness into account.


  1. Great to read your review Fiona, especially as I'm going to the Hawksmoor for the first time this weekend. I'm going to the Seven Dials one. Now I know your connection i shall enjoy it even more! You must be a very proud Mum.

  2. I am. (As if you couldn't tell.) Hope you enjoy 7 Dials - that's a lot of fun too.

  3. Pete and I went last week and really enjoyed it. The hash browns are so very very good, as was the full english, my steak and eggs, our cocktails and the donut we somehow squeezed in after all the rest.
    And I'm not related to any of them!

  4. Impressed you managed a cornflake hardshake, Kavey. Must go back for that when I don't have much to do for the rest of the day ....

  5. I wish I didn't have to go to work the day I went otherwise I'd have got right stuck into that handshake. I couldn't eat again till 4pm after my steak, eggs and donut! It's a great place, I'll be back very soon.

  6. Glad you clarified that, Lizzie. Was wondering if it was some obscure masonic ritual I'd been missing out on.