Hawksmoor and Yauatcha: Stellar Food and the service…?

In September I budgeted for 2 big eating out experiences: a repeat visit to Yauatcha (Soho dumpling haven) and a first-time visit to Hawksmoor (Shoreditch shrine to STEAK) .

Bone Marrow with Shallot Confit from Hawksmoor

I was really excited about both, but for slightly different reasons: Yauatcha was to be the going away party for a dear friend, and we had our first ‘friend-date’ there – she had never tried dim sum or used chopsticks – which made for an interesting evening!  Afterwardsit became one of her favourite restaurants in London and she’s now a deft-hand at chopstick manipulation.

I’ve heard amazing things about Hawksmoor for a long time – and I like my meat.  I also love Action Against Hunger, and I really admire the work they’ve done as part of the ‘Fight Hunger: Eat Out‘ Campaign and the Blagger’s Banquet.

But I was disappointed at both – although in both cases the food was delicious.  So delicious in fact that I barely took any pictures.  But service let them down:  At Yauatcha this is the second time I’ve found them brusque, unhelpful and midly neglectful – such a shame for a returning customer.  We had to flag them down whenever we needed anything and twice we were brought food meant for other tables.

Scallop and pea starter at Hawksmoor

At Hawksmoor we arrived on a busy Saturday night, a table of 12 for a birthday party, and we were one of 3 or 4 large booking.  When our table wasn’t ready for 45 minutes (pushing a 9pm booking to almost 10pm) we enjoyed a free drink each from the bar.  So far, so good.  But our staters took a full 45 minutes to arrive and the mains another 45 minutes after that.  The food was delicious and I understand the stresses of a backed up kitchen, but I also felt the waitstaff could have kept us better informed of delays.  They were all friendly, but we felt a bit neglected at times.

I was also frustrated as I was very, very thirsty, and our waiter insisted on pouring it by the (small) glass.  Which would have been wonderful, had the service been attentive – but I found myself waiting 30 or 40 mins at a time to get my water glass refilled.  In the end I had to insist he leave the pitcher on the table so I could actually have 3 or 4 glasses in a row.  When our bill finally came our first round of drinks hadn’t been comped and it seemed to be a bad evening at what seems to be a very excellent restaurant.

Green Tea and White Chocolate Macaroons at Yauatcha

This is the second time Yauatcha has disappointed me with their service – the first time being when a friend allergic to shellfish was served a dish with prawn.  When suggesting they should make it clear in the menu which items have shellfish she was told by the staff very rudely that she should have told them she had a shellfish allergy.

As for Hawksmoor – I’ll be going back – the food is too good to give up on it so easily.  But I’ll go back in a party of two, on a weekday night.

This entry was posted in Recipes, Restaurants. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hawksmoor and Yauatcha: Stellar Food and the service…?

  1. Tes says:

    Ummmm everything looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Shu says:

    Sometimes restaurants who have a ‘big’ reputation like to make you feel grateful they even let you through the door. I would like to try Yauatcha, but for now tend to stick to a more down to earth Chinese type that is less shiny. Service is still rubbish, but it doesn’t have pretensions and priced as such.

  3. Niamh says:

    Ah! Shame about Hawksmoor. They’re normally excellent on the service front. I am sure it was just a one off. You know their second one opens in Covent Garden soon? Excited about that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s