With dark, panelled rooms and frosted windows, Hawksmoor Manchester is the first branch of the upscale steakhouse to make its mark outside of London. Yet like its southern brethren, it’s a place to blur day with night over ginger cocktails and the country’s finest meat.
House special is beef, sourced from the Ginger Pig farm in Yorkshire, with cuts sold per portion (bone-in sirloin, D-rump) or by weight. Slabs of chateaubriand, T-bone or porterhouse are listed on chalkboards around the room – yet other options are strong, too.
On a recent trip, veal rump with fried oysters vied with ceviche-style sea bass and baked scallops for our attention. Sides of mac’n’cheese, anchovy hollandaise and perfect spring greens were on a par with mains. Desserts didn’t drop the baton, either.
The ‘Ambassador’s Reception’ (Nutella stuff, chocolate, hazelnuts – basically, a giant Ferrero Rocher) and a peanut butter shortcake with salted caramel ice nestling in chocolate sauce stood out, the latter being a fun throwback for Millie’s Cookies fans. Drinks-wise, there's plenty for the boutique vineyard aficionado in the £30-£40 category.
Coming in higher in the food stakes than Grill on the Alley and a darn sight more contemporary than Gaucho, we found the price unexpectedly right. Our waitress tells us that she’s not sure that Manchester will ‘get it’; she is wearing her own clothes, after all, and the vibe is not glitzy. The real surprise, however, would be if Hawksmoor failed to fly.