I’m all for candlelight dinners. Can we get a larger candle, though? While a proper camera would allow better exposure to the photos, I am extremely self-conscious of doing so in restaurants. It attracts stares that suggest I have declared my love for culinary pornography, not to mention the distraction for fellow diners. So I stick to my trusty iphone to snapshot discreetly, compromising on quality. Do excuse the photos.
We have been singing praises about Goodman Steakhouse, and recommended it wholeheartedly to friends and family. We even dismissed Hawksmoor as an option when we crave for a good piece of cow. Until its grand opening in Seven Dials, maybe Hawksmoor is equally good, or even better?
Spitalfields is closer to home and work, so it was a natural preference on a Friday night. Ambience was lively and relaxed, businessmen crowded around the bar; staff wore jeans and checkered shirts; warehouse style decoration with brick walls and rustic wooden tables, which were small and closely packed. Cosy.
The sizes of special cuts were listed on the blackboards, crossed out as each was sold, these include chateaubriand, porterhouse and prime rib on bone. Porterhouse was almost sold out. It’s not my kind of steak anyway, I like fatty, juicy meat. We skipped starters and dived straight into 900g prime rib on bone to share (£6.50/100g), grilled bone marrow as an extra (£3), baked sweet potato and creamed spinach on the side (£4 each).
It was a long wait. Good. The steak needs resting.
The steak was massive (photo doesn’t do justice, they wouldn’t up the lights). I was salivating as the whiff of sizzling beef fat encircled our table. We asked for medium; it was cooked to perfection, lively crimson in the middle. The meat was oh-so-juicy. I was expecting more intense flavours though. It tasted somewhat watered-down if you know what I mean.
The peppercorn sauce was
wrong disgusting; watery and tasteless with a few lifeless peppercorns floating around. Why bother?
Bone marrow was a total winner. It melted on my tongue as the oils diffused throughout my taste buds. Shivers.
Baked sweet potato was great. The skin fell off and it was almost a sweet potato mash, simply seasoned with sea salt. Creamed spinach is what it is. I don’t have much to add.
When presented with the dessert menu, I was stuffed to the brim. Yet I couldn’t resist the chocolate sundae that EVERYONE ordered. I saw at least 7 flew out from the kitchen. The lady next door asked for chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream. She joked about swapping when she saw my dessert. On hindsight, I should have accepted the offer.
It was layers of cream and chocolate mousse surrounding a rich, thick chocolate sauce covered chocolate cake/brownie (it was too dense to be cake, yet too crumbly to be brownie) and chocolate ice cream, all sitting on top of some crunchy chocolate crumbs. Chocolate items were overly sweet as opposed to bittersweet. It was too bloody much.
So, how did Hawksmoor compare to Goodman?
Well, I would come back, probably for a rib-eye to get a better idea. And of course the bone marrow (x3). I preferred the intense flavours of meat in Goodman, even though we have to opt for medium-rare to get the medium effect. While Hawksmoor is cosier, it was awfully noisy. And I do miss being presented with the special cuts prior to ordering to see the fat marbling on the steaks at Goodman. I think there were also more options on Goodman’s blackboard.
I think I am drifting towards a bias here.
I need a second visit to judge. While our first encounter was memorable, it wasn’t incredible. Right now, Goodman still gets my vote.
157 Commercial Street
Tel: 020 7247 7392