There’s no denying that Covent Garden is possibly one of the most touristy areas in London, and hardly the place I’d expect to find quite possibly London’s best Sunday lunch. But that’s what I love about discovering hidden gems. Behind a black door on Langley Street in Covent Garden is Hawskmoor, home to the best Sunday lunch in London.
I’d heard the Sunday lunch at Hawksmoor is the stuff of legends. It’s been awarded best Sunday lunch in the UK by the Observer Food Monthly in the past. The reason I’ve never been to check it out before is because it sounded a bit of a meatfest. So when they kindly invited me to check it out as their guest I was curious. As someone who doesn’t eat meat there are lots of other London restaurants I’d thought sounded more appealing. I was wrong.
On arrival we were led down some stairs into what almost felt like an old-school gentleman’s club with lots of dark wood with rows of bottles behind the bar. Sharps and I both had a Bloody Mary which, deliciously spicy with just the right amount of Worcester sauce. After our drinks we were taken through the bar to the dining area. I’m pleased to say I was spoiled for choice when it came to the food. For once we exercised restraint and skipped the starters and went straight to the main event. Sharps, of course, ordered the Sunday roast (£19.50). As you can see from the pic below he was presented with a huge hunk of slightly pink beef, as opposed to the usual slices you get when you order Sunday lunch. Sharps said it was up there as one of the best roasts he’s ever eaten out – good quality meat served with a jug of thick gravy, crispy roast potatoes that were fluffy on the inside, a massive Yorkshire pudding, roast onion, carrots, kale and a giant piece of roast garlic.Definitely London’s best Sunday lunch.
I fared pretty well too with my main course of baked bream wrapped in paper with lemon and roasted garlic (£20). For some reason I wasn’t expecting it to arrive with the head on. My initial squeamishness was more than compensated by the melt-in-the mouth succulent fish bursting with buttery, garlicy flavour that literally fell off the bone. I couldn’t resist ordering a side of mac and cheese (£5). Rich, creamy al dente pasta with a pepper kick, perfect comfort food for a Sunday. In a vague attempt to be virtuous in some way I also ordered the Doddington Salad (£4) (a take on a Caesar salad so it does have lettuce in it, admittedly drenched in cheese and anchovies). Again it definitely rates up there as one of London’s best Sunday lunch places.
Usually I’m more of a savoury than sweet kind of girl but Hawksmoor’s dessert menu had me salivating. It was a tough call. I was sorely tempted by the chocolate and salted caramel tart with popcorn ice cream (£7.50) and the salted caramel Rolos (£3.50) but I eventually went for peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream (£7). It was amazing, the best pudding I’ve eaten so far this year. When I broke into the flaky pastry, warm chocolate oozed out of the centre and combined with the topping of salted caramel ice cream it reminded me of a kind of posh version of a fresh Snickers bar with a shortbread base. It was so good I didn’t even look at Sharps’ warm orange sponge surrounded by custard. The dessert alone makes the Hawksmoor London’s best Sunday lunch spot.
My preconception of Hawksmoor as a meat-lovers paradise was pretty accurate, especially as they serve London’s best Sunday lunch. The man on the table sitting next to us had a steak that looked practically pre-historic. But whether you eat meat or not the food at this London hidden gem is phenomenal. While there may not be a vast choice for vegetarians (they have a main of pearl barley with squash and mushrooms, a couple of salads and vegetarian starters that can also double up as mains) you should be able to find something on the menu. Or failing that just skip to the puddings.