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Hawksmoor’s new London restaurant on an eco-friendly floating island in Canary Wharf’s new neighbourhood, Wood Wharf.
When I found out my all-time favourite London steakhouse, Hawksmoor, had recently (Nov 2021) opened a new branch in Canary Wharf, I made a reservation as soon as possible. So, on a recent trip back to London this Christmas to visit family, I found myself in the brand-new floating restaurant surrounded by the skyscrapers of the Docklands.
If I had any doubts regarding the worsening covid situation in London at the time (which I did a bit), they were soon eased by the friendly Hawksmoor team and the measures that were implemented. Good spacing between tables and where customers were placed.
“their seventh London restaurant”
The restaurant itself has that typical modern mahogany design that’s become synonymous with all the locations in the Hawksmoor group. Wood Wharf being their seventh London restaurant. There’s another two in Manchester and Edinburgh, and a recently opened New York branch, which I hear is taking America by storm.
Wood Wharf is different due to being located in a specially built man-made island encircled by water in the heart of London’s financial district. And the fact it has a separate bar called The Lowback on the ground floor where you can sip on a selection of creative cocktails, or sink a few of the very agreeable own brand beers.
As mentioned earlier our server was friendly, and on top of that knowledgeable about what was on offer. Friendly service, the best quality steak and an inviting environment have always been a priority since opening their first restaurant in 2006, and I’ve never experienced anything else in all my times frequenting the chain.
Now let’s get down to the food. British beef is some of the best in the world. Owners Will Beckett and Huw Gott are strong believers in only using grass and hay fed cattle, that live longer lives, from small British farms using traditional farming methods. Resulting in a much tastier steak. With that in mind, there are a lot of great cuts to choose from. However, the lunch time menu deal of 2 or 3 courses for £22 or £25 was too tempting on this occasion.
We decided to share one starter, potted beef & bacon, and share one dessert, pear & white chocolate cheesecake. Also, with Christmas being just a few days away, we added the Brussel sprouts with chestnuts cooked in beef butter. A very good decision as the sprouts were delicious and tasted great with the huge Yorkshire puddings and onion gravy that accompany the potted beef and bacon.
“triple cooked or beef dripping chips”
A 300g rump steak is the cut that arrives with the lunch menu, as well as a choice between triple cooked (my favourite) or beef dripping chips. Getting further into the Christmas spirit, we added a 300g half a lobster each to arrive with our mains.
It was a great decision, as the lobster in garlic butter was one of the best I’ve ever had. Really plump, meaty and full of flavour. I had to ask the waiter where it was sourced and learnt all the seafood at Hawksmoor comes from Brixham in Devon. Straight from the sea and delivered fresh to the restaurants. I even learnt that Brixham seems to be a nice little weekend away destination (due to our waiters’ recent holiday there), somewhere now on out list of places to see.
The rump was succulent, juicy and cooked to perfection, as expected. I fell in love with the bone marrow gravy back in 2007 when I first tried it in the Seven Dials location and it didn’t disappoint again this time. I’m not exactly sure how, but there’s something they do at Hawksmoor which gives the meat such a unique taste and slight aroma, which wafts, mouth-wateringly, across the restaurant.
Reasons to visit:
Our dessert wasn’t the most attractive looking of all the previous ones I’ve had in Hawksmoor, but I didn’t let that deceive me in the slightest. I knew it would taste incredible, which it did. A deconstructed pear and white chocolate cheesecake with ginger hobnob biscuit base. Good to share, as by this stage we were extremely full, and very content.
In conclusion, the Hawksmoor train keeps powering forward, getting better all the time. They were one of the restaurants that were able to adapt during the pandemic, selling cook at home boxes of their famous dishes. Spreading the love of Hawksmoor far beyond London and just the other areas where they have restaurants. On top of that, Americans are finally getting to experience this British steak house in New York, and the Wood Wharf branch is a great new addition to the London ones. The location within Canary Wharf encompassed by all the big buildings, give it a bit of a New York feel itself. The food, service and atmosphere are as good as ever, the location is exciting and well worth a visit.