How To Bust Your Gut in One Easy Sitting
Despite some of the massive meals I’ve eaten in the course of writing this blog, there have been very, very few where I’ve ordered too much. The Breakfast for Two at the Guildhall branch of Hawksmoor is one of these gut busting meals and was so filling that I skipped lunch without missing a beat.
As you’d expect from a steakhouse, most of the breakfast dishes at this City location (so far the only Hawksmoor branch to serve the most important meal of the day) are heavily meat-biased from devilled veal kidneys on toast to soft boiled eggs and anchovy toast soldiers. There are quite a few options for vegetarians though from enticing doughnuts and pastries to scotch pancakes with roasted plums. The Euro Hedgie and I resisted all of these mouth watering options and went straight for the big kahuna – the Hawksmoor Breakfast for Two. This monstrous platter consists of a smoked bacon chop, sausages made with beef, pork and mutton, black pudding, short-rib bubble and squeak, grilled bone marrow, baked beans, fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, roast tomatoes and unlimited toast.
It’s a massive serving of meat, so it’s lucky I had a light dinner the evening before and that the Euro Hedgie was there to help me out. I’m not usually a fan of baked beans, but I’m willing to make an exception when they’re livened up with salty bits of pork as they are here. The coarsely textured sausages aren’t quite as satisfying as the exceedingly meaty Biggles sausages, but they’re still pleasing thanks to their slightly offaly taste. Bone marrow may seem like an odd thing to have at breakfast, but the effort required to scoop out and appreciate their juicy saltiness and quivering jelly-like texture is a good incentive to wake up.
The bubble and squeak was surprisingly uninteresting, although that’s quickly remedied by mashing some fatty, salty black pudding into the mix. The Hedgie and I were divided over the huge bacon chop – he thought it was far too salty, while I disagreed. In any case, we both agreed that aside from the saltiness, the smoky flavour of the dense chop was a fine example of pork. If you need relief from all that meat, there’s plenty of sweet tomatoes as well as juicy, dense, salty mushrooms and as much as sourdough-esque toast as you can eat.
As a dedicated flat white drinker, I had to see how well Hawksmoor’s version of this Antipodean coffee stacked up against all the rest. Sadly, apart from a slight malty tang Hawksmoor’s flat white tasted rather tepid and the almost non-existent head wasn’t silky or smooth in the slightest. It was especially strong either, but then again any coffee would have to be heroically strong to combat the urge to sleep after ingesting so much meat.
Aside from coffee and tea, Hawksmoor Guildhall has a selection of boozy drinks available at breakfast which shouldn’t be surprising given the testosterone-filled City boy clientele. There are cocktails, including Bloody Marys, and even alcoholic milkshakes and hot chocolates too. I don’t drink, but the Hedgie does and he opted for Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew – a concoction of gin, ginger syrup, lemon juice and London Pride ale. The Hedgie found the drink quite refreshing and agreed with the menu’s description of it as a ‘turbo-shandy’, but didn’t find it especially tasty.
By the end of our Hawksmoor Breakfast for Two both the Euro Hedgie and I were cradling our swollen bellies like expectant mothers, cooing wistfully to the gurgling bag of meat swirling mere millimetres beneath the skin. Although it’s not flawless, it’s still one of the most enjoyable and accomplished breakfasts I’ve had in a long while. It’s not one I’ll be having again soon though due to its sheer size and my desire to sample the other dishes on the breakfast menu. Nevertheless, wanton carnivores should try it at least once in their short, brutish lives – just be prepared to eat very little both before and after it.
Name: Hawksmoor Guildhall
Address: 10-12 Basinghall Street, London, EC2V 5BQ
Phone: 020 7397 8120
Opening Hours: Breakfast Monday-Friday 07.00-10.00, Lunch Monday-Friday noon-15.00 and Dinner Monday-Friday 18.00-22.30. Closed weekends.
Total cost for one person including service charge: £27 approx.