Tag Archive for: Hawksmoor

The recent consignment from Swaledale Butchers that brought me my epic St John Haggis also included a quartet of marrow bone canoes – perfect receptacles for another all-time Fergus Henderson classic. 

Since my epiphany at his St John Smithfield restaurant 20 years ago I‘ve wolfed molten ox marrow topped with herby crumbs and garlic (pictured above) everywhere from various Hawksmoors to the now vanished Spotted Pig in New York’s West Village, which used to host an annual Fergus-Stock event with its culinary hero in attendance.

The canoes are cut from the the femur and split lengthways through the bone fully exposing the marrow. Less fiddly access and perfect for roasting. Seven minutes in a medium oven will do. Don’t over-cook. A single canoe can accompany a steak, but scooping the ooze out of it with sourdough toast is perhaps the most satisfying approach, raw onion, capers and parsley on the side. In his inimitable prose Fergus suggests: “Lightly chop your parsley, just enough to discipline it.”

So what did I do with my marrowy haul? Went all Sri Lankan instead. Adapted arguably the most popular dish on the menu at the Hoppers group in London. In my Christmas food and drink book recommendations I rated Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s Rambutan as the only Sri Lankan cookbook you need. I’ve ignored my own advice and also acquired the gorgeously produced Hoppers: The Cookbook (Hardie Grant, £30) by its founder Karan Gokani. There on page 256 I discovered Bone Marrow Varuval. High octane spice. Its contents perfect for tipping into the signature hoppers, the fermented rice flour crepes (often served with an egg) namechecked for the brand.

As so often happens, my attempt doesn’t look as gorgeous as the restaurant version but still tasted wonderful (see the sequence below). Without a specialist hopper pan I didn’t risk that element.



For the curry: 6 five inch shin bones, split lengthways, 300g red onions, finely sliced, 10 curry leaves, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp minced ginger, ½ tsp turmeric, 2 tsp red chilli powder, 1½ tbsp double concentrated tomato paste, 2 green chillies, deseeded and cut in half lengthways, 200ml beef stock, 100ml coconut milk, salt to taste.

Spice paste: 100g freshly grated coconut, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 4 green cardamom pods, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 4 red chillies, deseeded, ½ tsp cumin seeds, 5 tbsp oil.

Garnish: 2 tbsp oil, 10 curry leaves.


Deep fry the sliced onions for a few minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Lay the marrow bones out in a tray and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the cut side. Roast for six minutes.

To make the spice paste heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the coconut to it and fry until golden brown. Set aside in a bowl and wipe down the pan.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same pan and fry all the remaining ingredients for the spice paste on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add them to the coconut and blitz everything to a thick paste, adding a little bit of water.

Heat a wide heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil to it and add the curry leaves, fried onions, ginger and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes, adding a splash of beef stock if it looks dry. Add the turmeric and red chilli powder and fry for 30 seconds. Tip in the tomato paste and green chillies and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the spice paste along with the remaining beef stock and coconut milk. Simmer it all until it reduces to a thick sauce. Season to taste. Transfer the roasted bones to the curry sauce and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Once the bone marrow has finished cooking through, garnish with the fried curry leaves.

Hoppers has three restaurants across London – in Soho, King’s Cross and Marylebone. The latter district is also home to the latest outpost of Fergus Henderson’s St John.

We went for dinner to Hawksmoor Manchester the other night. It’s been a while. We avoided Monday because that’s BYOB day with just £5 corkage to pay, so I guessed it might be rammed. ‘Slowish’ Tuesday it was then and, to our amazement, there wasn’t a table to be had by mid-evening… or a dry glass in the house. We were in the roaring dining room by 6.30pm and the last sharing porterhouse had already been snaffled 20 minutes before. Damn you, carnivores of impeccable taste.

If you associate Hawksmoor only with steaks think again and settle down in the Manchester bar

No regrets, though, that we’d been detained in the penumbral clutches of the bar to sample the five fresh cocktails that constitute the upmarket steakhouse’s Summer Collection. You wouldn’t consider Miller & Carter or even Gaucho (and definitely not your local Toby Carvery) on the strength of the mixology team. At Hawksmoor it’s different. Quick flashback to a vanished age before vegans roamed the high street. Seven years ago I joined a charm offensive press pack ferried to London to gauge what all the fuss was about on the eve of this critically acclaimed outfit’s arrival in Manchester. Their latest conquest has been New York but no plane tickets in the mail, as yet, alas.

The food quality blew us away, especially the meat, with wines that made a splendid match. We visited four of their venues in the day. Somewhere along the line, probably in the Spitalfields original (above), we encountered the cocktail list that was an integral part of the Hawksmoor experience. The original list was created back in 2006 by the legendary Nick Strangeway and Liam Davy, who is still going strong as Head of Bars (his son Jack is now manager  of the Deansgate Manchester venue). Check out the Hawksmoor classics and you’ll find the hardy perennial, Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew, the ultimate gin-fuelled ‘power shandy’ and the Fuller-Fat Old Fashioned, which I explored in a recent blog.

For the Father’s Day just past Liam devised Midsummer Old Fashioned, mixing Johnnie Walker Blue Label, salted Oxfordshire honey and cold brew camomile tea, topped with a cube of white chocolate fudge. 

That’s now off the menu because it’s not really seasonal. So how did the Summery Five –  launched at the same time and available until mid-September – fare?

Green Snapper is a verdant riff on Bloody Mary. Five a day in a glass almost to send chlorophyll coursing through my veins. Forgive any nutritional, botanical inaccuracies;  this is a zinger. Beefeater Gin’s the base, muddled with green tomato, jalapeno, lime, cucumber and lovage.

Factor 50 Fizz pales in comparison, but then I’m not a spritz fan. It hardly feels alcoholic this mix of Lillet Rose, strawberry, cucumber and sparkling coconut water.

Rimini Iced Tea – Fellini’s home town (Amarcord in the movie of the name) is the tenuous inspiration for this cooler because of the reputation of its peaches. That fruit, basil and sparkling Darjeellng tea make a refreshing  match with ultra-sustainable Avallen Calvados.

R.A.C. Aviation is a classic rhubarb & custard combo. Made with Bombay Sapphire 1er Cru, rhubarb cordial, vanilla, lemon and maraschino. Surprisingly tart, it’s properly summery.

Moselle Martini is my favourite of the five, mellow and approachable with an indefinable complexity. It’s made with Fords gin, cucumber, Riesling vermouth and pear eau de vie.

No Porterhouse – how did we pull through?

Our daughter’s dog Toro gnawed our doggie bag T-bone with great gusto. We adored the steak that was once attached in the company of a soft, summery Pinot Noir from the Loire. Creamed spinach, anchovy hollandaise, triple-cooked chips, heritage tomato salad. To start we shared beef carpaccio and scallops cooked in the shell with White Port. Never lets you down.

Hawksmoor Manchester, 184-186 Deansgate, M3 3WB. 0161 836 6980.