Restaurant of the week - Hawksmoor Guildhall

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The good people at Hawksmoor can already lay claim to serving some of London’s finest steak, not to mention Britain’s best burger (see the May 2011 edition of Esquire for the full rundown). But - loosen your belts further still - they’ve now set their sights on breakfast.

The newly opened Hawksmoor Guildhall can be found in Basinghall St, nestling between Bank and Liverpool Street, and sports an interior befitting a City institution – mahogany paneling, teak floorboards, and wallpaper designed by a company whose previous commissions include the First Class cabins of the Titanic.

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Meat of the highest quality is still the order of the day, and the mighty Hawksmoor Breakfast for two (or, frankly, three) provides an abundance; pork, beef and mutton sausages, black pudding and an enormous smoked bacon chop, served on the bone, are all accompanied by trotter baked beans, fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, roast tomatoes, HP gravy and short-rib bubble and squeak, along with two enormous helpings of super-rich, unctuous grilled bone marrow and nigh-on unlimited toast.

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It’s a gastronomic challenge, particularly at the start of the day, but for those with the stomach capacity and sufficiently healthy cholesterol levels, it’s one that should be experienced.

In any case, Hawksmoor’s Bar Manager Liam Davy has concocted an ingenious means of easing the digestion process, in the form of ‘Anti Fogmatics’ – breakfast cocktails, in layman’s terms. This part of the menu is a tribute to the admirable Harry Craddock, head bartender at the Savoy in the 1920s, who viewed it “a great necessity of the age” to provide drinks that could serve as an “eye-opener, bracer, corpse-reviver or morning glory”.

We only managed to sample two – there’s a limit to how much one can be ‘revived’ on a Tuesday morning, although all bets are off on a Friday – but we can attest to the stimulating properties of both the Corpse Reviver (gin, curacao, lillet blanc, lemon juice and a dash of absinthe) and Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew (gin, homemade ginger syrup and lemon juice, topped with London Pride). The extensive new drinks menu also boasts a selection of ‘pre-prandials’ for pre-lunch drinking, ‘post-prandials’ for afterwards, and ‘bridging drinks’ – for those tricky moments when post-lunch drinking has finished but pre-dinner drinking has yet to begin.

Following the success of the Shoreditch and Seven Dials restaurants, Hawksmoor Guildhall is the largest of the three dining halls, however booking in advance is always advisable. For lovers of both meat and drink, Hawksmoor Guildhall is ideal; it looks and feels like a London institution, and seems destined to become one.

Hawksmoor Guildhall, 10-12 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5BQ Tel. 020 7397 8120. For reservations, email guildhall@thehawksmoor.com