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|Address:||10-12 Basinghall Street, London EC2V 5BQ|
|Tel:||020 3589 3952|
|Price: £57.00||Wine: £21.00||Champagne: £55.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 7-10am 12N-3pm 5-10.30pm|
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It is relatively rare for restaurant groups to be able to expand successfully, particularly without risking dilution either to their brand or concept. In the case of Hawksmoor, full credit to the team. I had enjoyed visiting their Seven Dials restaurant earlier in the year, and a recent lunch at the Guildhall location showed every evidence of consistent delivery. The formula is not complex, but few seem to execute it capably: namely, good quality but uncomplicated food in a nice location served by pleasant staff. Starting on the location, a discrete doorway on a somewhat uninspiring street just to the right of the Guildhall disguises what lies inside. Descend the stairs, and the diner is welcomed into a large wood-panelled yet light room, where someone has clearly put good thought into both table spacing and acoustics. The result is a lively, but not over-bearing atmosphere. This is only ameliorated by the attitude of the staff, mostly young, but seemingly genuinely enthused and giving the impression that they enjoyed being there. Onto the food. Personally, I find steak somewhat over-rated, but putting aside this objection, there is no doubt that the chefs know how to prepare it with all of our party satisfied with their juicy cuts. As on my visit to the Seven Dials location, however, the stand-out culinary memory was less the meat and more the sides. These are certainly not an after-thought at Hawksmoor. Their macaroni cheese works remarkably well with steak and our party was also delighted with the spinach, mushrooms and baked sweet potato options. The wine list also merits praise and we sampled a pleasant, reasonably priced 2011 Bordeaux. Keep up the good work, and there is not only much here for diners to enjoy, but also for other restaurants to aspire to.