Book review: Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes

13 December 2017 by
Book review: Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes

One word comes to mind when thinking of Hawksmoor: meat. And in that regard, Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes

The second book (after Hawksmoor at Home) marks a decade in business for the restaurant brand. With spreads on all the significant characters in the business, it provides an opportunity to reminisce about the early days with anecdotes on the pressures and pleasure of opening a restaurant. For instance, Nick Strangeway, the 'purple-bearded dictator', describes a front of house work ethic he describes as "running up escalators". "I gave all the tables names," he explains. "The worst was Timmy Mallet, that was just for walk-ins or when [founders] Will and Huw came in."

While there is plenty of detail on meat, and in particular a useful 10-point plan on cooking the perfect steak that starts with buying the best beef, this book really comes into its own when charting the trials of growing a restaurant business. The attention to detail of founders Huw Gott and Will Beckett is perhaps best encapsulated by their explanation of a trip to Chicago to see what they
could learn from McDonald's. It might not seem like a natural fit - which is why the pair didn't broadcast the trip - but the idea was to learn how to stay "true to the things that made the first Hawksmoor special, at scale".

This focus continues into the lengthy cocktail section, where readers will not only learn how to recreate the infamous Shaky Pete's Ginger Brew, but will also find the recipe for the perfect Martini and a step-by-step guide to building a round ("our bar teams have to learn to make a full round of drinks, Martini last, with a margin of error of 30 seconds or less").

Those approaching this book for recipe inspiration will not be disappointed. There is a beautifully photographed section on bone marrow and a serious chapter on fish, and some hearty desserts (think maple bacon doughnuts and bone marrow crème brÁ»lée) and bar snacks including a Christmas burger. This is definitely a cracker of a cookbook.

If you like this, you may enjoy these
Hawksmoor at Home by Huw Gott, Will Beckett, Richard Turner and Dan Lepard
Prime: The Beef Cookbook by Richard H Turner
Low and Slow: How to Cook Meat by Neil Rankin

Hawksmoor: Restaurants & Recipes (Preface, £30)

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