I had really high hopes of visiting here as I heard this was the steak chain to rival “Goodman” but based on our visit Saturday this isn’t really up to scratch. Having said that we had a very nice leisurely lunch with groomsmen for my brother’s forthcoming wedding. We headed down to Seven Dials after getting measured up for our suits. The restaurant is in a large basement area and you enter through the rather nice bar. We stopped there for a sharpener. I had a really nice ginger beer concoction whilst the others had various variations on the Bloody Mary. All excellent, the bar staff were really top draw which sets you up expectantly for the main event. We were shown through to the main restaurant which is very similar to “Joe Allen” nearby. Exposed brick work, plenty of tables. Looked like the place to have a birthday based on our visit.
Our waiter was good, professional, not overbearing and looked after us during all our meal which was a nice touch. I ordered the bone marrow and onions to start with as I had been told this was a speciality. It came with loads of soft fried onion and some bread to spread it on. If I’m honest it’s not really my thing, I didn’t care for the taste or texture. It tasted like congealed fat. I’ve tried it now and I’m happy to proceed through life without bothering again. The others enjoyed their starters though so all in all a happy group.
Main course was of course steaks. Here is where it all went a bit wrong. I cook steak at home and the basics are simple, you get the best bit of meat you can, season it, grill or broil it, leave it to rest and serve it hot. I ordered a 400g ribeye and it came to the table under seasoned and it had been resting for too long so half way through the steak it had gone cold. It also meant the fat congealed, really not nice and a bit of an ordeal to finish. The sides were also a bit disappointing, beef dripping fries luke warm at best, Macaroni cheese tiny portion, tomato salad laughable portion. Most of the others enjoyed their steak but as I was munching on my cold fat I couldn’t help thinking “Goodman” do this a lot better.
I don’t think the temperature of the food was aided by the vigorous air con which caused another problem. Apart from if you are sitting out on a summer day in the South of France or the Italian lakes red wine needs to be served at room temperature. However when a restaurant has the air con set to artic then all the wine is too cold and can’t be appreciated properly. Hawksmoor has a great wine list but the 3 bottles we tried all tasted underwhelming. These were at about £50 a pop so should have been served correctly. Fortunately the half bottle of tawny port we had with dessert was fine served air con chilled! Dessert was fine, I had a sticky toffee sundae. The double expresso I had after though was awful, burnt beans so really horrible. Fortunately the end of the meal was saved by a truly lovely Blandon’s cask bourbon which I would return for alone.
My brother kindly picked up the tab for us 5 but it came to £700 which was going some, for that sort of money the drinks, food and wine should have been perfect and really only the drinks were in that class. Hawksmoor can only get so far on it’s cool dude hype, I hope for their sake the new Air St is a lot better than Seven Dials as this really wasn’t in the same league as “Goodman” or “Gaucho”.
Monday, October 08, 2012
Food 4 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6