You’ve heard of Hawksmoor, right? Mega-mega-mega steak restaurant with a price tag to match? I LOVE Hawksmoor but haven’t bothered blogging about it because basically if you’re in London and you like steak then, well, you’ve already been. Or you should have. I was thinking about doing a kind of ‘versus’ post a la radio 1 though; Hawksmoor vs STK maybe. Thoughts? Volunteers to come and spunk a ton on steak, twice? Form an orderly queue, Gents…
I digress, anyway, the team behind Hawksmoor have opened what they call ‘neighbourhood restaurants’ in Farringdon and (new!) Stoke Newington. As per Hawksmoor, the focus is on meat and steak in particular (sourced from the Ginger Pig, no less!) but they’ve made it a bit more affordable. Not difficult, to be fair. The website reckons the people at Foxlow wanted to create a restaurant they’d like to live near. Well, I don’t live in Stoke Newington but after visiting this place I’d definitely consider it! Job done, guys! It’s a really nice building (looks like someone’s house)…
^ a really nice house, obviously
…and inside it’s cool, but not too cool as to be intimidating. Friendly-cool (my favourite kind).
Before we started considering the menu in earnest we ordered some anchovy & goat’s butter crisps, mostly because we had absolutely NO idea what to expect from them.
They certainly weren’t what we were expecting (whatever that was) and the first mouthful was a little like being punched in the face by a salty fist, but a glug of Foxlow red wine (very drinkable, and very reasonably priced) mellowed out the second mouthful and made us excited to try more of the menu.
To start we shared the smoked Tamworth spare ribs and the five pepper squid. We always share, otherwise we get serious cases of FOMOOF (fear of missing out on food, obvs) and it’s a really good job we do, because both starters were AMAZING! The squid, despite being thick cut, wasn’t chewy in the slightest but tender and delicious, with just the right amount of spice, and the ribs… oh god, THE RIBS! Spicy, crispy and charred on the outside, soooo juicy and tender; the meat just FELL off the bone. Seriously phwoarsome. Probably some of the best ribs I’ve ever had.
For mains we had the fried chicken sandwich with green slaw and the deckle steak. I had never heard of deckle, but our v informative waiter told us that it’s the outside of the rib eye. It has a lot of marbling, which means you can’t really have it cooked rarer than medium rare but that there marbling makes it a very tasty cut. For sides we had little gem with parmesan dressing and chicken salt chips.
The chicken sandwich was lovely, though the chicken was a bit flat and really more of an escalope (better for sandwiches I suppose), the green slaw was amazingly fresh and the two went really well together. The deckle WAS a really tasty bit of meat, though it did take me some time to get used to it, I tend to have fillet if I have steak *middle class sentence alert* and I have it blue so I pretty much don’t have to bother actually cutting or chewing it at all. Steak through a straw, that’s what I like. This cut was tougher but certainly more flavoursome and I’m glad I broadened my steak horizons. Speaking of broadening horizons, it also came with bone marrow which makes me do a little shudder BUT I tried it with the meat and it was lush! You can just colour me adventurous. Kind of. One thing which did let it down though was the béarnaise sauce which was far too creamy for me and I thought the meat tasted much better without it.
^ dark photo alert…
The lettuce with parmesan dressing was delicious though and kind of took the place of the sauce with it’s salty tanginess, and the chicken salt chips were great with the chicken adding an extra, meaty depth.
For pudding (I know, right? We did have to have a little rest first to be fair) we shared the salted caramel & chocolate tart and the strawberry & white chocolate cheesecake. The chocolate tart fought with the ribs to be the Best Bit of the Meal and I think lost it by just a whisker. It was SO rich and delicious with a layer of salted caramel between the chocolate and the pasty, though it was a little too rich if I’m honest. I certainly couldn’t have eaten a whole one to myself but if you’re a serious chocoholic this will be your dream come true. The cheesecake, despite being chocolate as well was much lighter and I’m glad we had that to balance it out.
A brilliant, three course meal, great bottle of red, in lovely surroundings and an uber home (Stoke Newington is NOT what you’d call ‘well connected’ unless you like buses) for under £50 each. Brilliant.