The carnivorous Hawksmoor family consisting of 3 steak-centred and critically highly acclaimed restaurants (Spitalfields, Guildhall and Seven Dials) has got an offspring. The Spitalfield Bar in the basement of Hawksmoor Spitalfields is a worthy member and highly recommended for an (almost) budget Hawksmoor experience. The bar is dark and cosy, pleasantly small and manages a perfect balance between chic and edgy. The waiters, all male at our visit, were handsome and tattooed, and posed a striking contrast to the dark wood and shiny brass walls.
The older I get and the less time I have to linger in bars all night, the more I appreciate places that serve interesting cocktails, have a boozy bar atmosphere and serve great food at the same time, which basically is the best of all worlds. If you can appreciate my reasoning, The Spitalfields Bar will be the place for you.
If you got yourself a reservation (I don’t know if you would be lucky to get a table just turning up, I would book) I would advise to (1) don’t take vegetarians unless you want to make them cry (2) don’t take teetotalers unless you want them to hate you forever and (3) if you are female take your girlfriends to enjoy some eye candy.
The menu is compact and doesn’t accommodate the main Hawksmoor menu (the kitchen apparently is too small). I gladly threw my usually health and grease conscious eating habits overboard and indulged in the star of the evening, Shortrib Nuggets (6). These little fried nuggets of happiness were filled with the most tender and juicy pork and lusciously melting cheese. Served with a mindblowlingly spicy “Kimchi Ketchup” they reserved themselves a spot in my culinary hall of fame.
Good also the rather exotic Tamworth Laab (6), a minced pork salad seasoned with lime juice, fish sauce, herbs and a lot of chilli originally stemming from Laos. It is eaten scooped onto the green lettuce and was interesting as well as enjoyable.
The Cheese Burger (8.5) was the least convincing of the three savoury dishes we ordered, which could be due to the fact that my taste buds were at this stage accustomed to very spicy, so the burger tasted a bit lame in comparison. No doubt though that the meat was good and I also liked the brioche bun.
The Chocolate Malt Tart (7) was a humongous and rich piece of cake, which we hardly managed to finish between the two of us. It was a solid performance, but certainly not among the best chocolate tarts I ever had.
If I may pose one wish – could you, lovely Hawksmoor people, please put a couple of fresh, healthy and vegetably dishes on the menu to offset the meat overload? I just never feel fully satisfied just on meat, so pretty please?
At this occasion I did not try the cocktails but I have the feeling that I may have to return to do some more research on this aspect of The Spitalfield Bar (maybe this time with some vitamin pills in my pocket). I owe this to you, don’t I?
- Food: 7/10
- Service: 8/10
- Ambiance: 8/10
- Value for Money: 7/10
- Chances of Returning: 60%
- Verdict: a place where you can have it all… Drinking and dining for grown ups.