At Bookatable HQ, the season of the Christmas sandwich is not something that’s taken lightly. It’s the month when our quest to find the perfect bread, meat & trimmings combo takes over our lunchtimes, and the usual idle chat makes way for fierce debate about turkey moistness, bread quality, and, more often than not, what we’d change to bump it up a few points (the scoring system is a strictly monitored affair). So, upon hearing London-foodie whispers about this year’s Christmas burger creation at Hawksmoor, the capital’s granddaddy of steak and cocktails, it was firmly cemented at the top of our festive must-tries for 2015.
And let us tell you, this bad boy cranks the pimped turkey sandwich up to a whole other realm. One where your filling is buttermilk fried, the addition of sprouts is a good thing, and your own gravy boat comes filled with a ‘wouldn’t-hesitate-to-drink-it’ nectar and chunks of sausage meat. Yes really. We visit Hawksmoor in Knightsbridge a few days before the launch of this year’s burger, which is set to fly off the pass from 23rd November, and there seems to be a tangible sense of excitement amongst the staff about its arrival on the menu. ‘We get to try it this afternoon’, our charming waiter tells us excitedly.
There’s a fleeting moment when one of Hawksmoor’s Holy-Grail-of-meat steaks is whisked past our table, and the aromas make us wish we were here for their prized offering. However, worry we needn’t have, as this turned out to be a seasonal treat we’re sure punters will be left wanting when it’s wiped off the blackboard come January.
Its height causes it to teeter as it’s carried over to our table, with the golden, main-event turkey peeking out from the shiny, springy brioche bun. Biting down is a simultaneous crunch-squelch as buttermilk-fried turkey gives way to meaty sausage patty, crispy bacon, the tang of cranberry ketchup, and cheese (’cause a cheeseless burger simply hasn’t fulfilled its destiny) . We’re initially puzzled (in more of an awestruck than questioning way) about just how they manage to produce such a light and crunchy casing around a meaty, juicy middle, and wonder which evil genius it was that thought up this combo. Evil because we knew we were sinking a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, genius because it makes us wonder why we even bother with a Christmas dinner when we could put all the best bits inside a brioche, and deep-fry the bit none of us could give two hoots about for the rest of the year.
And as if the burger wasn’t enough of a treat, the boat of gravy with little sausage meat buoys was pretty special: perfect for dipping torn-burger chunks and crispy-outer, fluffy-inner chips.
We couldn’t really take a trip to Hawksmoor without experiencing some form of beverage wizardry from their cocktail bar. We go for (alcohol-free) grapefruit-spiked ‘a lot like Lilt’ (it really was), blast-of-freshness apple and mint, spicy ginger & juice, and a thick cornflake milkshake that tasted like you left the best ice cream you ever had to melt into a delicious pool. Except better.
And for any fans of a traditionally pyramid-stacked confectionary (they aren’t allowed to call it the name of THAT sweet, for the record), the Ambassador’s Reception is a dessert we’re compelled to order by our waiter. It’s a gold-leaf sprinkled wonder of hazelnut covered chocolate shell (which is only penetrable with a tension-expelling ‘SMASH’ of our spoons) and a filling of smooth, bitter chocolate, ice cream and ganache.
We left Hawksmoor with that decidedly festive, bursting-at-the-seams satisfaction, for what we vowed won’t be the last time this season. Cancel all your other Christmas sandwich plans this December, as simply, no other turkey-in-bread will come close.
Hawksmoor’s Christmas burger is available at the Knightsbridge and Spitalfields bars now. You can book Hawksmoor Knightsbridge restaurant below.
3 Yeoman’s Row, London, SW3 2AL