Famished, I hopped into a London black cab. In scooted my dear friend Lucy, her stomach growling as loudly as mine. Before our bottoms cushioned themselves into the car seats, the taxi man yelped “Where to ladies?” My friend and I turned to each other and brain stormed where to go to silence our rumbling bellies. For a moment we remained silent, trying to make a decision, meanwhile, all around us, the hustle and bustle of Central London roared on.
A thought broke the silence. I had heard and read endless praise of the mouth-watering meat and sustainable food at London’s Hawksmoor. So it we jetted off to Seven Dials, eager to indulge in flavours we hoped would tempt our tongues and satisfy our stomachs.
“To Hawksmoor,” we hurriedly told the cab driver. As he was driving along, the friendly taxi man shared that there were four branches of the restaurant in London (Seven Dials, Spitalfields, Air Street, Guildhall) and that he would take us to the closest one called Hawksmoor Seven Dials in Covent Garden. During our drive, the jolly driver initiated the usual small talk, as London cab drivers often love to do. He asked if we had ever eaten at a Hawksmoor restaurant and when we told him that we had not, he filled us in on a little spoiler alert. “It’s the best restaurant in London, you’re in for a treat,” he enthused.
My friend and I arrived at the restaurant both overly excited and on the verge of withering away from hunger; then, the worst thing that could possibly happen, did: no reservation, no tables. Hunger.
Well, that’s London on a Thursday night. Disappointed as I was, I was determined to devour their dishes. The next morning my first phone call was to Hawksmoor Air Street, which was a little closer to home. So the second time around I was all set: 12:30 reservation confirmed.
This time around, my lunch companions were my loving mother and dear friend and OURS Editor, Nela. Together, we eagerly made our way into the restaurant.
The interior welcomed its guests with classic English style. Wooden, gold and green pieces highlighted the room. Magnificent stained glass windows aligned one wall, letting the sun flood in, illuminating every corner of the room, while wooden booths with green leather cushioning aligned the opposite wall.
After admiring the decor, we were escorted to our table by a warm host that graced us with a comforting smile. We sat down in our cosy booth; my bum was gently hugged by the leather green comfy seats.
Customarily, we ordered drinks first: a bottle of still, a bottle of sparkling, and a Virgin Bloody Mary. As I took a sip, a crimson explosion of spices and flavours tickled my taste buds, it was the best Virgin Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted. Easy on the Worcester, just right with the Tobacco.
A few moments later, the waiter returned to take our food order and refill our glasses. The restaurant and the waiter exemplified excellent service and not once did we have to ask to be attended to. Soon enough, we all put in our order for the rib eye steak, a side of spinach, and a side of sweet potato.
As the food arrived at the table, it floated through the air, and seduced my senses. The smell was drool inducing and our eyes widened with excitement, as the waiter placed the dishes down on the wooden table. Mmmmm, we sang in unison, praising the soft succulent beef. The sweet potato complemented each bite of meat like a day complements the night. The spinach was spinach. It was nice tasting but could not dare to compare with the flavours of the meat and potato.
The meal was impeccable. Delicious. The fact that it was sustainable satisfies my stomach as much as my mind.
Since taking a food anthropology class a few years ago, my mind has become just as involved and as important as my stomach in making decisions about what I eat. Eating local, seasonal and organic food that is delicious benefits not only our health, but it also benefits the economy, community and environment.
All the meat is bred in Britain using traditional methods. Cows are fed grass not soy or grains, and the farmers are well compensated for their produce. The fish served at Hawksmoor follows the same sustainable model that is beneficial to the environment.
Hawksmoor does an excellent job of pleasing the belly and the mind. They adhere to cooking with products that are local, ethical and sustainable. So much so that the Sustainable Restaurant Association awarded the steak house three stars for their ethical and sustainable management.
This is an excerpt from our Sustainability issue.