Resting on one's laurels, and getting lazy whilst relying on a good reputation simply will not do in the catering and hospitality industry. The best restaurants in London know all too well that they've got to stay edgy, current, and keep on changing things up to meet the customer's desires!
Cue Hawksmoor, a very highly renowned British steakhouse and cocktail bar chain, that have been doing just that, and very, very well indeed. If you haven't heard of the Hawksmoor chain, and you're a Londoner with a love for all things meaty, take note. Famed for its succulent steaks and first class service, it's an impressive restaurant that I implore you to visit. Hawksmoor was founded in 2006, and its original establishment is based in Spitalfields, Shoreditch, near to where the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor built Christ Church (hence the name).
It's not the only site where you'll find a Hawksmoor restaurant however, in fact In London there are four more; Seven Dials, Air Street (a two minute stroll from Piccadilly Circus underground, Knightsbridge and Guildhall (in the City). From what I've seen and heard, all are somewhat unique in character, but simultaneously true to the Hawksmoor style. Google Hawksmoor and it will inform you that the Hawksmoor chain is 'high-end', but do not get nervous, don't think for a second that substance has in any way been compromised for style, as is so often the case in London. Within these restaurants it's very much a case of style meeting substance and shaking it firmly by the hand.
I am fortunate enough to have indulged on juicy steaks at the Hawksmoor on several occasions. Each time was lip-snacking, and better than the last. This time was different, and the departure from the norm had me unsure as to what to expect.
I had heard that Hawksmoor's Executive Chef Richard H Turner had been on the search for something a little different to put on the menu. After weaving his way through the colourful and buzzing streets of Manila and the quaint neighbouring City of Tagaytay, in a hunt for culinary inspiration, he came up with... The Filipino Burger. A major foodie myself, I had to try it, so I headed along to Hawksmoor Sevendials. It's a burger with a difference. In short, it's a succulent grilled pork patty, topped with Richard's personal twist on original pork Adobo (the hallmark dish of the Philippines, made of juicy marinated pieces of pork), then topped with a sizeable chunk of Buffalo Mozzarella and a squeeze of Banana Ketchup. Ketchup lovers fear not, the banana ketchup is not as strange as it sounds, it's delicious, and compliments the burger to a tee. On the side you'll get pork chicharrones and coconut vinegar. If you want to know more about how the Filipino Burger is made, or feel you need convincing before ordering, ask your waiter or waitress. You'll see the service is second to none. When I visited I was looked after by Tristan, who provided the most impressive waiter service you could imagine, the whole evening long. He talked me through my order before it arrived, and also spoke very proudly of the Hawksmoor brand, and all its culinary delights, saying that he loves his job. I quizzed him on the menu, and he did a good job of convincing me that In time I need to return to try each and every item on the menu! Tristan described the chicharrones that accompany the burger it for me, 'think pork cracking that literally melts in your mouth'. He was right, they were incredible.
Filipino food might not be something that you know much about. Perhaps you have not yet tried it- I certainly hadn't, but this Filipino-inspired cheeky flavour fusion at the Hawksmoor opened my eyes, and broadened my palate to a series of flavours that has left me craving more. Through his travels around the Philippines, Chef Richard clearly mastered the art of cooking the Filipino way, and this cheeky burger made me realise that sometimes, it's worth stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
If you fancy giving the Filipino Burger a try, don't miss the boat, you can try it in Hawksmoor Seven Dials and Hawksmoor Spitalfields up until 13th October 2016.