Londoners and visitors to the capital will surely know the Hawksmoor drill: great steaks, banging cocktails and the epic dessert that mustn’t be called a giant Ferrero Rocher. With this in mind, it’s only fair that Hawksmoor has branched out to other major cities, starting with this one in Manchester, which already feels like part of the city’s fabric.
The dining space is split into several sections thanks to the layout of the old courthouse on Deansgate, making space for cosy corners as well as raucous Friday-night gatherings. A separate bar is ideal for pre-prandial sips such as Clear Carré – a mouth-watering combination of gin, pisco, Cocchi Americano, Yellow Chartreuse and bitters – or an ‘anti-fogmatic’ (said to banish fatigue) such as a lip-smacking Marmalade Cocktail.
To eat, start with gooey, fatty bone marrow or perfectly cooked plump scallops with fragrant tarragon and garlic. Steak cuts are priced by weight, and the friendly staff are always happy to advise on what’s available and suitable for your appetite. If you’re feeling hungry (and flush), go for the decadent 1kg chateaubriand with a side of dripping chips or, if you’re looking for something a little less extravagant, go for a rump or the Hawksmoor hamburger. For those who don’t fancy steak at all – a bit controversial, but we’re not judging – there are plenty of fish and seafood dishes, including south coast monkfish and cod, plus a token vegetarian dish.
Be sure to leave room for dessert, whether it’s the Ambassador’s Reception (that dessert), or the much-loved sticky toffee pudding. Wine drinkers will feel very well looked-after, thanks to the spectrum of labels that includes a number of safe bets, and some rarities that range from around the £100-mark to over £4,000. The set lunch and pre/post-theatre menus are a steal, with three courses for under £30.