Hawksmoor Breakfast

Is the bottomless coffee on the menu yet?

We went along to the soft launch of Hawksmoor’s brunch a couple of weeks ago.  The menu’s initial launch was eagerly greeted around here because it affords the 9-5/M-F crowd the opportunity to try the much lauded burger, supposedly one of the best in London.

We went for the shared breakfast that day instead.  What arrived was the mountain of carniverous delights that you see above.  Bacon chop. Ginger Pig special recipe Sausages. Black Pudding. Fried Eggs. Field Mushrooms. Tomatoes. Short Rib Bubble and Squeak. Marrow. Dripping Toast. Some green stuff as a token and Onion Marrow gravy on the side.

:: Marmalade Martini, Bottomless Bloody Mary #10 mix, rehydration OJ ::

I was feeling slightly delicate after a late night and so the marrow might have been a step too far. Curiously I’d just been reading Julie Powell‘s description of her cooking Julia Child’s Bifteck Saute Bercy where she describes marrow sauce as ‘rich, meaty intense, in a nearly too-much way…it tasted like really good sex’ (her italics)  For me it was a step too far that particular morning, or probably would have worked in a sauce.  However overall the meat was perfectly cooked and the Trotter Baked Beans – homemade beans with pulled pork were soft and slightly piquant – fabulous. Next visit, I’d happily have those on dripping toast alone. I coveted the Staub Cocotte horribly too.

:: Trotter Baked Beans ::

:: Shaky Pete behind the bar ::

The bar has quite the Manhattan feel but it’s resolutely British in attitude- as they have pointed out, the word brunch originated here.   We  gave them feedback as requested: interesting to see that the Full English is now available as a single portion and not just for two. Will clarified that you can request the eggs in that dish to be cooked any way you’d like, and we put in our plea for bottomless coffee too.  Tea is more their priority.  I loved how their drinks menu focusses on gin rather than vodka, a refreshing change and the Marmalade Martini was eye-openingly sharp but welcome in the context of such a hearty meal.

Stars *****

The staff are super-sweet and delightfully proud and invested in the restaurant.  I think the way to do the Hawksmoor brunch is at the start of a big weekend, to set yourself right up, probably with a group. And possibly just go for the big one: the Hawksmoor burger for breakfast.

Hawksmoor, 157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ

020 7247 7392

Advertisements

The Britannia, Victoria Park E9

Do you support the grow local theory? You know, less food miles, supporting community producers. I hope my local pub does, as lately I’ve been going with the ‘eat out local’ approach instead.

The Britannia was taken over about a year ago and changed from a dodgy old men’s pub, inhabited by squatters and terrorised by squirrels, to gasto-bistro-bugabooland.  Don’t let the family-friendly policy put you off though – it’s fairly cavernous and there’s room for kids to tear about without unduly bothering anyone.  Even me, with a famously low patience threshold.

It’s best to check the website to see what’s on offer day to day and visit during the week if you can as it’s chock-a-block at the weekends.  When the new menu came out last week, we picked a selection of starters instead of mains:

:: Winter Roasted Vegetables with Poached Egg ::

Only comment is that the squash could have been cooked slightly longer. Coming from a culture that boils veg into submission, this could be a personal preference.

:: Venison Terrine ::

Dense, meaty, unctuous.

:: Chicken Tortellini in chicken broth with pearl barley ::

My personal highlight of the array of starters and I’ve since ordered it as a main. The tortellini are heavy little parcels, herby and delicious.

:: Butternut Squash and Cashel Blue tart ::

Buttery pastry and my favourite Irish blue cheese. Ok, I have no idea how many Irish blues there might be. This one is good, very good.

Stars:  *****

Although it’s definitely getting better, the service is the only reason that the Britannia loses a star. They seem to juggle about with the numbers of staff, particularly at the weekends but they’re generally pretty affable.  They fire up the grill at the weekend and held a series of BFI screenings during the summer. All in all – it’s everything you could want in a local.

The Britannia Pub, 360 Victoria Park Road, London E9 7BT. 020 8533 0040