We spent New Year weekend in Manchester this year, and part of the plan was to combat our hangovers with Sunday dinner on New Year’s Day, followed by a few pubs. Kieran’s mate Stu, who from his snapchats basically spends his entire life eating out was in charge of finding us somewhere good. He spent a week looking and booked us in for Sunday dinner at Hawksmoor Restaurant – Manchester. I’d never heard of it, but from the link he sent us it looked pretty good.
On New Year’s day the four of us, complete with sore heads and one case of man flu got a taxi from the Manchester Mal along to Deansgate where Hawksmoor is located on the corner. Personally, I can’t think of anything better than pub food and hair of the dog the day after, and the Broad Chare is my favourite in Newcastle. This was on par with that, possibly even better thanks to the cocktails. Going in you’re met with the reception desk and cloakroom, then you’re taken up through the bar. I loved the bar! It really reminded me of Ralph’s restaurant in Paris (post coming next week) with all the dark wood, leather seats and fancy looking cocktail shakers.
We passed through the bar and one room of the restaurant before being shown to our booth table in the glass roofed atrium of the building. It felt more like a conservatory/pub. Our waiter was pretty cool, he could tell we were all a bit worse for wear so gave us plenty time to sit and browse the menus, of which there are about four! One for food, one for drinks, one for wine, one for desert.
With it being a Sunday we all went for the roast, which is a set price for the beef at £20 each. It sounds a lot, and it probably is for Sunday dinner but more on that later. I’d spied the mac and cheese on someones table walking through and ordered a side of that too. There were plenty specials on the board as well, and joint roasts for a few people that might want to share, including a big rack of ribs.
I think it was the drinks menu that took us the longest to decide from, the menu was very impressive, and broken down into drinks for occasions, time of day, mood and what you might be drinking it with. There was a very interesting section on drinks for if you didn’t get much sleep, hungover and need a pick me up. Reading through this is perhaps not the easiest when you’ve been drinking the night before, so I had a cider instead to start me off, as well as a full fat coke to down, and a big jug of water.
I mentioned how good our waiter was, well a few minutes after we ordered he came over with some cocktail tasters he said were exactly what we needed. He thought it best not to tell us what was in them and just to try them. We all did and they were amazing! They were like refreshing sorbet, clear your head and make you even consider alcohol again type thing. We thought they were the Gunpowder Fizz which were made from lime, egg white, Chivas 12 year, green tea and soda, and off the ‘Refresher’ section of the ‘A day in the life of the cocktail’ page. We all perked up considerably after these!
When our Sunday roasts arrived, with a separate jug of gravy each (loved this, you can never have too much gravy) I don’t think we spoke until plates were cleared. The beef fillets were more like steak, and they were cooked to perfection, and the fluffy roasties came tucked into the Yorkshire puds. Sunday dinner at Hawksmoor was seriously very good. I know it should be due to the price, but I think we all would have paid anything for a meal that good. It wasn’t wasted on our hangovers either, it was good quality and the head clearing cocktails definitely helped us enjoy the main event even more. The mac and cheese side was also pretty special too.
Afterwards we were so full we couldn’t face desert, so instead we ordered cocktails. Each one is detailed with all the ingredients, a history of where it originates and how to make it. I honestly couldn’t choose, but I got the impression the bar staff were pretty experienced, so I trusted them and just told the waiter I like mojitos, gin, not too sour, not too sweet and to surprise me. They weren’t phased at all and off he went to inform the barman.
Our drinks came and were good measures (i.e. took your head off!) but were all really nice. Mine was a Southside, which I found out after is basically a gin mojito with mint – exactly what I’d described. We polished them off and it was nice to be allowed to sit and chat without being rushed out. The whole restaurant was constantly full, but people were sat around with bottles of wine chatting for ages after they’d finished their meal. It was chilled and relaxing and it was dark before we left.
When we asked for the bill I think we were all expecting it to be huge, it came to £160 for four of us, which may seem a lot for essentially ‘Sunday dinner’, but it was a lot more of an experience than your average pub dinner. We all said we would go back, for the beef dinner alone. I’d go back for the cocktails too.
Since our visit I’ve discovered they are actually a chain, I would never have known at all. They have other restaurants in London Knightsbridge, Covent Garden etc, so it’s a definite possibility when we visit London at the end of this month.