This latest branch of the hit steakhouse is situated in a Victorian building on the edge of Borough Market. Dating back to the mid-19th century, it stands on the grounds of the 12th century Winchester Palace. A hop warehouse by the 1930s, it later became an auction hall for a ‘colonial and foreign fruit’ specialists.
As longterm fans, we were hardly expecting a Damascene conversion, but after our visit we concluded there’s something extra special about this restaurant; and it might just have something to do with its location, and emphasis on market specials.
Inside it’s also lighter than many other Hawksmoors, making it feel more laidback – and yet somehow like it’s been open for centuries. Clandestine couples, the odd stray tourist and rumbustious groups of suits alike are absorbed into its weathered timber beams and columns, salvaged from ships broken up on nearby docks.
A sense of antiquity is heightened by lots of reclaimed stuff, too: parquet flooring from a library in the Midlands, large holophane lights from a masonic lodge and table tops made from old school chemistry lab tops. Best of all, the cooking was nothing short of spectacular.