London restaurant cookbooks

Time Out reviews recipe books from the capital's best restaurants and cafés

Hawksmoor at Home

Huw Gott, Will Beckett and Richard Turner Preface Publishing, £25

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What kind of a cookbook could a steakhouse – albeit a very good one – create? When approached by the publishers, Hawksmoor’s owners (Huw Gott and Will Beckett) reacted with, ‘We grill beef and fry potatoes, where’s the cookbook in that?’.

But this weighty tome is a brilliant resource filled with not only recipes from the Hawksmoor kitchen (and this includes all the steaks, sides, sauces, starters and sweets), but also cocktail recipes from the acclaimed bar, with vintage illustrations, diagrams, references and excellent food photography from Dan Lepard to add colour.

The tone is, as you might expect from the Hawksmoor stable, authoritative but never stern; expect dry wit mixed with a relaxed colloquialism. There is plenty of information about beef and how to cook it – there are columns and columns about the history of cattle breeds, pages of debate about the merits of USDA versus British Longhorns, commentary about supermarket meat and the ethics involved in dispatching an animal.

Then there’s the more whimsical side: a one-page ode to beef dripping, historical titbits about steak clubs and The Hawksmoor Cocktail Guide (Or How to Make Drinks and Intoxicate People), say, that whisk readers away from the pages of serious beef education.

There are plenty of recipes that are doable at home – the decadent steak in butter, a simple burger patty recipe (no breadcrumb or egg nonsense here), scallops with champ – plus ‘extras’ that will tempt the more advanced cook (a modified kimchi recipe for their kimchi burger, how to make your own burger/hotdog buns). Recipes such as beef shin macaroni and cheek and tail pie are welcome additions, and there’s an entire section on meaty breakfasts and brunches.

The Tamworth belly ribs are one of our favourite starters, but the lengthy ingredients list (including black strap molasses and Hawksmoor ketchup) reminded us why some things are best left to the restaurants themselves – no bad thing when you’re in five-star hands.

Charmaine Mok, Time Out London Issue 2151: November 10-16 2011

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