British steakhouse and cocktail bar Hawksmoor has opened its ninth restaurant, and has simultaneously made its Scottish debut, having chosen a classic and very on-brand site in Edinburgh.
Friends Will Beckett and Huw Gott have worked together since 2003 when they launched their first venture, the Redchurch bar, in Shoreditch. They opened the first Hawksmoor in London’s Shoreditch in 2006. The Edinburgh restaurant’s head chef, Brian Scanlon, comes from his previous head chef role at Corbin & King, and general manager Louisa Richards has been with the steakhouse group since 2013.
Hawksmoor’s signature aesthetic is that of old school English glamour and the 185-cover Edinburgh restaurant is no exception. Housed in a Category A-listed ‘Building of National Importance’, the site was originally built to be the Bank of Scotland in the 1930s. It sits in a prime location in St Andrew Square, with the restaurant comprising a private dining room named after 20th century Scottish artist Sadie McLellan, and a central curved bar made from the panelling from an old Glaswegian townhouse. Parquet flooring, reclaimed furniture, original doorframes, brass ironmongery and bespoke light fittings give the site its own identity, while still remaining undeniably ‘Hawksmoor’.
Unsurprisingly for a restaurant that has built its name on the exceptional steak it serves, the new site offers a selection of classic cuts of beef, sourced from native breed cattle from both sides of the English/Scottish border. The menu’s existing classics, like Old Spot belly pork, sit alongside a new roster of menu items that take full advantage of the area’s producers and suppliers. Pea, mint and haggis salad; steak with bone marrow skirlie; and Peterhead cod with cockles and seaweed butter all give a nod to the area. Desserts include Scottish raspberries with Knockraich crème fraiche and a homemade hobnob.
Cocktails are divided into sections, namely ‘anti fogmatics’, ‘pre-prandial’, bridging drinks, cards and cigars drinks, and disco drinks. A list of beers stays loyal to local, including a selection of beers from small Scottish breweries.
And another thing
Owner Will Beckett says that the group has “invested a huge amount of time and effort trying to be respectful of the city to create something that truly belongs”. He isn’t lying: the Hawksmoor team carried out extensive research prior to opening, to find the best suppliers to represent Scotland and its produce. The Highland beef and hand-dived scallops that appear on the menu were found during a supplier trip around Scotland.