Hawksmoor is a British steakhouse and cocktail bar that combines high-end dining with a distinctly British flavour. The chain currently has three restaurants in the UK, all of which are located in London and with ambitious expansion plans to take restaurants across Europe and further afield, Hawksmoor is a name that is flying high.
Located next to the Bank of England in the heart of the capital, the £2 million Hawksmoor Guildhall is the chain’s latest offering and celebrates a unique eating experience for diners.
The restaurant opened its doors in October 2011 after a 12-week redevelopment operation that saw the former basement transformed into a luxurious eating establishment. Visually the site takes references from many iconic and nostalgic buildings of the past, which is reflected throughout the lavish layout.
Main contractor for the Hawksmoor Guildhall project was du Boulay Contracts Ltd, whilst Macaulay Sinclair was the interior architect. Chapman Ventilation was the mechanical engineer and the structural engineer was Hemsley Orrell Partnership (HOP).
A key element of the Guildhall redevelopment was the extensive use of reclaimed materials, which has given the building a unique sense of character. When diners sit down to eat, they will instantly feel a certain sense of familiarity within their surroundings and this is a key theme that Hawksmoor’s owners are keen to push.
Hawksmoor Company Owner, Will Beckett, said:
“Working on the interior was a really detailed process. We trawled salvage yards to pick up the right lights and fittings – the specimen cabinet doors are from the Natural History museum, whilst the glass doors are from a university arts building. Authenticity was so important.”
Hawksmoor Company Owner, Huw Gott, added:
“It’s always important to us to stay relevant to the building. We definitely shared an aesthetic of how we wanted the design to reflect the heritage of the space and I love our private room at Guildhall – it’s like an old bank boardroom.”
Macaulay Sinclair Company Director, Mike Sinclair, said:
“From a design point of view, the interior work certainly offers many challenges. Essentially what we are doing is picking up something that is already hugely successful and then tweaking it in just the right way so that it remains equally as successful whilst at the same time being visually different.
“We want the customer to have a completely new experience at every location and we want to create a real sense of authenticity to the building. Although it’s a fairly new site, we wanted Guildhall to look as if it has always been a restaurant.”
Work began on transforming Hawksmoor Guildhall in September 2011. The site boasts 257 covers and comprises a restaurant, a private dining room and a bar.
Prior to the redevelopment taking place the 6,000 sq ft site was an empty shell that comprised concrete floors and breeze block walls. However, after just twelve weeks the site was radically transformed in order to create a true melting pot of styles.
The once dull and lifeless shell was given a new lease of life with glazed brick tiles and teak parquet flooring, whilst timber panelling – sourced from reclaimed cabinet doors – cover the walls to create a style reminiscent of the Victorian era.
A brand new ceiling was installed using ornate plaster, whilst Portland stone and cast iron banisters have transformed the staircase.
All of the doors in the building were fitted using reclaimed mahogany, whilst the bar was sourced from a bank in the Netherlands. Additional features include a walk-in wine room, art deco light fittings and leather upholstery.
The external facade of the building has also undergone a fabulous makeover with the installation of a brand new entrance that features solid timber doors and glazed panels. Copper signage and menu displays were also fitted to the front of the building.
Mike Sinclair said:
“It is fantastic to be involved with Hawksmoor as every project we undertake is different. Will Beckett and Huw Gott are very passionate about what they do and they employ like-minded people, which allows us to be hugely creative when it comes to the design of the restaurant.
“We’re very hands on with each restaurant and there isn’t much that we don’t get involved with. We provide bespoke designs for the light fittings and furniture, we procure items and we bring all of the right people together to make sure that we have a strong team on site. We also make sure that we use traditional building methods that incorporate a very British sensibility to the finished design.
“Moving forward, we have another UK site in the pipeline. Every Hawksmoor restaurant will also retain its individuality, so the next site that we are involved with will be nothing like Guildhall, in the same way that Guildhall was nothing like the previous site.”
Will Beckett & Huw Gott, said:
“When we started out we had a simple plan – to open the best steak restaurant in London.
“We travelled the world, from steakhouse to steakhouse, searching for the perfect steak. However, we discovered that beef from traditional breeds reared the old fashioned way right here in Britain and cooked simply over real charcoal packed more flavour than anything we tried on our travels.
“Although we’ve had plenty of ‘best steak in London’ plaudits, we’re not resting on our laurels. We want diners to have a fantastic meal and most of all to enjoy themselves whilst they are with us.”
Hawksmoor Seven Dials
Seven Dials is Hawksmoor’s second site and is located within the former Watney-Combe brewery. The restaurant is conveniently located just a three minute walk from Covent Garden station and just like Guildhall, the eatery offers high-end dining in a very unique setting.
The £1.5 million restaurant opened in November 2010 and merges many of the building’s original features with the stunning glitz and glamour of London’s West End. Seven Dials caters for 128 diners in the main restaurant with an additional 50 covers in the cocktail bar.
Interior details include reclaimed parquet flooring, oak panelling, exposed brick work, Victorian cast iron columns and a brick barrel-vaulted ceiling. The tiles are sourced from the London Underground and the tables are built from reclaimed timber.
Mike Sinclair said:
“Seven Dials is very different from Guildhall and the first Hawksmoor site, Spitalfields. When we worked on the site we had quite a lot of existing features to work with and this allowed us to introduce new elements that could really make the old building shine.
“Seven Dials is very reflective of its location and incorporates many elements that diners would expect to find in the West End, including lots of crystal glass and pewter. Just like with every other site, we incorporated an element of its surroundings to effectively hang its coat on.”
Located on Commercial Street, just a short walk from Liverpool Station, Spitalfields opened in 2006 to become the first Hawksmoor restaurant.
The menu offers belly-rumbling British meat cooked on a real charcoal grill, alongside a varied selection of wines, locally brewed beers and enticing cocktails.
Hawksmoor Spitalfields is where the brand first made a name for itself and the site has recently undergone a number of improvements.
The refurbishment works included expanding the site downwards to introduce an exclusive cocktail bar in the basement of the building. The bar incorporates copper and brass to give it a 1920s edge, whilst one wall makes use of a set of lift doors that were formerly used in the Unilever House in Embankment.
Hawksmoor Company Owners, Will Beckett & Huw Gott, said:
“The bar has a little more old-school glamour than anything we’ve done before. No chi-chi cocktail bar food though, instead we’ve put together a menu of things we like to eat with a few drinks when we’re not in a big steak kind of mood.”
Macaulay Sinclair Company Director, Mike Sinclair, added:
“Spitalfields traded for four years before Seven Dials opened in 2010 and in that time the restaurant gained a great reputation for its great food and unique design, however more recently there has been a number of incremental refurbishment works to update the site.
“We’re slowly introducing some of the design elements that were used in Guildhall and Seven Dials to infuse the site with a slightly new vibe and it’s proving just as successful as ever.”
Dawnvale is one of the country’s leading names and provides interior fit out services for bars, hotels, restaurants and clubs. The company has built an enviable reputation working with some of the UK’s leading designers and operators.
Dawnvale prides itself in offering more than the norm, tending to work with clients from the hospitality and nightlife scene who want to create exceptional environments. Clients include Inamo, Eclectic Hotels, Living Ventures and Mere Golf Resort & Spa. Dawnvale Ltd is currently working on a number of mixed projects, including a Heritage development, luxury boutique hotels, a private members bar and working with a leading restaurateur.
Since its conception Dawnvale has been associated with Hawksmoor restaurants by providing a range of bespoke services including the manufacture of furniture that is exclusive to Hawksmoor. The bespoke furniture range is carefully designed and finished throughout the group’s UK and Europe based facilities.
A Dawnvale spokesperson said:
“We initially established ourselves nearly 20 years ago by providing tailored commercial kitchens, before we moved into producing bespoke bars and refrigeration. From there we took on more diverse projects and this helped us to build up a full service with specialist in-house divisions.
“Within the company we have a number of experts including metal fabrication, bespoke joinery and technical design specialists, a contract fit out team, and a contract furniture division. We also have a 20,000 sq ft design centre and working showroom which is a truly unique trade facility.
“Created as a project resource centre, the showrooms house specialist areas for designers and clients to see exactly what we can produce. With hotel bedrooms, bars, kitchens and meeting lounges, the centre offers first class services for new project meetings and project support with an extensive sample and fabric library.
“At Dawnvale Ltd we find tailored solutions for our clients.”
Amthal Security Ltd
For over 12 years Amthal Security Ltd has specialised in the design, installation and maintenance of electronic fire and security systems in the residential, retail and commercial sector.
The company provides services to hospitals, schools and restaurants and clients include the NHS, Arsenal Football Club, Honda (UK), Toyota, Jollyes Pet Superstores, the London Probation Service and Wates.
Amthal Security Ltd provides the design, installation and maintenance of the intruder alarms, CCTV and fire alarm systems on all of the Hawksmoor sites.
Amthal Security Ltd Sales Director, Paul Rosenthal, said:
“We have worked with Hawksmoor since their very first restaurant opened over 6 years ago. We have built a fantastic rapport with them, which is testament to the level of service that Amthal Security delivers.”
Middlesex Sound & Lighting
Middlesex Sound and Lighting is an ISO9001 Quality Assured company with over 28 years experience in the supply and installation of audio, effects lighting and AV equipment.
The company is involved with a diverse range of projects which includes providing solutions for bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, schools and churches. Existing clients include Mitchells and Butlers, Ministry of Sound Group, Stonegate Pub Company and Hilton Hotels.
Middlesex Sound & Lighting has worked on all three Hawksmoor restaurants, designing and installing multi-zone background music systems. At the Guildhall site, Middlesex Sound & Lighting also provided a full AV solution in the private dining room.
Most recently MSL completed work on the Spitalfields bar, installing a new digitally controlled audio system along with remedial works to integrate the existing system in the upstairs restaurant.
Middlesex Sound & Lighting Special Projects Manager, Darrel Olivier, said:
“Music plays an important part in adding to the atmosphere in each of the Hawksmoor sites. It’s great to be associated with the team at Hawksmoor and I wish them all the best for the future.”
NCR Ltd specialise in the supply of award-winning Aloha Point of Sale software and hardware to the hospitality industry.
The company has a long standing relationship with the team at Hawksmoor and every restaurant is equipped with an Aloha Point of Sale solution. The Aloha Point of Sale solution is tailored to a client’s requirements and provides a streamlined customer dining experience that tracks and captures critical business information.
A spokesman for NCR Ltd said:
“Throughout the UK, many high profile customers choose Radiant Systems – recently acquired by NCR – and our Aloha point of sale software.
“For further details, contact Craig Francis on 07713 307703 to see what Aloha can do for your operation.”
Chapman Ventilation Ltd
Starting life as a general ventilation company in 1967, family-run business Chapman Ventilation Ltd. has since become an industry-leading supplier of kitchen ventilation systems for the leisure and fine-dining industries.
High-profile clients include Nando’s, Frankie and Benny’s, Byron and Jamie’s Italian.
Chapman Ventilation Ltd. has over forty years experience designing, manufacturing and installing odour control, grease and smoke removal, and kitchen ventilation solutions for a wide range of clients. The company is committed to using the most sustainable products that they can find, partnering with market leaders and sourcing from companies that have a good reputation for sustainability.
David Chapman, Chapman Ventilation Ltd. Project Manager, said:
“We were involved from the initial feasibility study with the client through to gaining the landlord’s consent and planning permission. Following this, we manufactured and installed all of the ventilation and air conditioning systems. We are very pleased to have worked on the Hawksmoor scheme, which was a very exciting project with a demanding process.”