Hawksmoor Seven Dials, 11 Langley Street, London WC2

As if it wasn't already hard enough to keep up, in today's Fifty-Things-To-Do-Before culture, a new pressure has emerged. Now you don't just need to own this season's must-have bag – you must also have tried the latest must-eat restaurant dish.

A new restaurant opens, and the bloggers are in before the paint is dry, uploading photos of their dinner. The Tweeters follow, and consensus rapidly emerges about the to-die-for dish: "Ox cheek pappardelle at Obscura East...", "Banh Mi sushi at The Endangered Panda...". Before long, there is a feeding frenzy as early-adopters rush in to try the must-eat, and most importantly, to tell their friends they've tried it.

Recent stampedes have been provoked by La Petite Maison's roast black leg chicken stuffed with foie gras, which needed to be pre-ordered. Bar Boulud's Piggie Burger, topped with barbecue pulled pork, prompted another Gadarene rush.

This autumn, foodie fashion victims will mostly be eating Hawksmoor's kimchi burger, the latest must-order to hit London's dining scene. It's a multi-culti delicacy combining ground beef with cheese and home-made kimchi – the Korean pickle made with fermented cabbage –in a brioche bun. It's only available on the bar menu, but they'll serve it in the restaurant if you ask – just the kind of insider knowledge that stokes up the desirability of a must-eat dish.

Hawksmoor isn't an obvious candidate for this kind of attention. The original branch in Spitalfields was a reinvention of the traditional British steak house, specialising in carefully sourced beef from The Ginger Pig. The wine list was similarly well chosen, and the funky atmosphere appealed equally to loft-dwellers and City boys who thronged the noisy dining room.

Now Hawksmoor's clever young owners have built on that success with a game-raising new opening in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden. Not since Martine McCutcheon opened in My Fair Lady has an East Ender emerged so triumphantly as a fully-fledged West End star.

Everything about Hawksmoor has been beautifully done. Even the entrance is exciting – a nightclub-style doorway tucked down a cobbled alley, in what was once the notorious slum area of Seven Dials (the only potential danger now is that you might bump into Louis Spence, erupting from the Pineapple Dance Studios across the road).

A dramatic staircase leads down into a dark bar, as louche as a Prohibition-era speakeasy, with a cocktail menu to match. The vast dining room is similarly atmospheric. Too many new restaurants look like architectural models. This converted brewery has already acquired the patina of use, with pleasure encoded in its brick walls and reclaimed fittings. My guest Charlie, who runs TV's Grand Designs, knows his way around an ambitious project, and deemed this one a complete success.

If something about the vaulted roof and municipal woodwork recalls an old-fashioned station, it would be Meat Central. At Hawksmoor, it's all about the beef, from grass-fed Longhorn cattle, aged for at least 35 days. As in the Spitalfields original, the larger cuts – prime rib, Porterhouse and Chateaubriand – are chalked up on blackboards, priced by the 100g. Smaller cuts – fillet, sirloin and rib-eye – are listed on the menu. Extras include half a lobster, grilled bone marrow and two fried eggs. As Charlie observed, this would be the place to come if you had to arrange a lunch with Desperate Dan.

Both starters were impressive; a school-of-St-John salad of lentils, braised shallots and roasted Jerusalem artichokes, and a kilner jar of mackerel pâté, served with toasted baguette.

But we're not here for such girlish pleasures. Hawksmoor's steaks are often called the best in London, and Charlie's sirloin, a hefty, bone-in slab for £28, lived up to that billing. The Josper charcoal grill gives a deep, smoky char, but inside the flesh is rosily pink and full of flavour. Chips are given due care and attention; we preferred the triple-cooked frites to the chunkier ones fried in beef dripping.

And as for that kimchi burger? It was pop-art in a roll, a collision of colourful, brash flavours that shouldn't have worked together but absolutely did. The patty itself, exuding the heady whiff of beef marrow, held its own against the zingily hot kimchi, which fizzes through a range of flavours, from sweet to citric, leaving a smile on your face, and a chilli-induced trout pout on the lips. Having tasted it, I understood why it had got people all of a-Twitter; it wasn't quite like anything else I'd ever eaten.

We were back on familiar ground with a shared pudding of lemon curd, served in the same kind of jar as the mackerel pâté, a clear case of over-kilner. With coffees, it brought our bill to £135, including a brace of cocktails and a £32 bottle of Chianti Classico, which was outclassed by the quality of the steak. Next time I go, I'll splash out on a really good bottle of red. Who needs a must-have handbag anyway?

Hawksmoor Seven Dials, 11 Langley Street, London WC2 (020-7856 2154)

Food 4 stars
Ambience 4 stars
Service 4 stars

Around £135 for two, including wine and cocktailsTipping policy"Service charge is 12.5 per cent discretionary, of which 100 per cent goes to the staff; all tips go to the staff"

Side Orders: Where's the beef?

Tropeiro

46 Sackville Street, Manchester (0161 923 6846)

For a real meat fix at this Brazilian churrascaria, order 11 delicious and different cuts, carved at your table (£21.50).

Porterhouse Steak House

Try the porterhouse for two (£39.95) or the chargrilled rib-eye steak (12oz for £19.95) at this popular local.

24 Jewry St, Winchester (01962 810 532)

Goodman

26 Maddox Street, London W1 (020-7499 3776)

Already a London favourite, Goodman's beef is imported from all over the world and hung on-site. Try the 400g American Rib-Eye (£29).

News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?