The Handbook
The Handbook

St Martin’s Courtyard is shaping up to be quite the new dining destination. We’ve already reported the launch of Bombay café, Dishoom, the latest branch of Jamie’s Italian, and gourmet Mexican, Cantina Laredo but come autumn, there’ll be two further additions: Spitalfields’ Hawksmoor is branching out with a second site and Bill’s Produce cafe and deli is also set to open.

Co-owners, Will Beckett and Huw Gott, will be launching their latest Hawksmoor in the old Watney-Combe brewery on the corner of Langley and Shelton Street. The building couldn’t be more perfect as former owner and brewer, Harvey Combe hosted a Royal Beef-steak Dinner there back in 1807 which was attended by the then Prince of Wales and Duke and Duchess of York.

Architects, Macaulay Sinclair, have retained existing features such as a vaulted brick ceiling and Victorian cast iron columns and added reclaimed oak panelling, a parquet floor salvaged from Christies Auction Rooms and tiles that previously graced the London Underground.

Will and Huw have a pretty impressive pedigree being respectively the son of food and wine journalist Fiona Beckett, and a descendent of a long line of Welsh butchers. Together, they pride themselves on delivering steaks simply cooked on a real charcoal grill and hailing from the Ginger Pig’s Longhorn herd.

A new and improved kitchen, which boasts a Josper grill for seafood, means that diners can expect additional treats on the menu including starters of grilled Dublin Bay prawns and Hand-dived scallops. Steak is still the main event though, with dictionary-thick Bone-in sirloin and 55-day aged D-rump with grilled bone marrow taking centre stage. The famous Hawksmoor Hamburger will still be available all day from the bar menu but prepare for newcomers, the HkMuffin and Hawksmoor Hot Dog.

The venue will also boast one of those visible wine cellars that are currently all the rage. However, in keeping with the Spitalfields policy of ‘sensible mark-ups’, wines at the higher end of the scale will be significantly less expensive than at many other London establishments. Bottles from obscure small producers stand neck-to-neck with big name vineyards and include the Michele Sattas vineyard in Italy’s Bolgheri, Bodega Noemia in Patagonia and Sine Qua Non in California.

Spitalfields’ bar manager Pete Jeary, is also developing new drinks, informed by the pre-Prohibition, golden era of American cocktails and is currently busy hunting down out of print recipes for his A History of the Cocktail in 10 Drinks menu.

But if those triple-cooked duck fat chips are a step too far, you’ll be right at home at Bill’s. This new shopping and eating environment will incorporate a café and fresh produce store that’s just bursting with fruit, exotic vegetables, herbs and flowers too – not to mention a colourful array of homemade cakes, smoothies, sandwiches and quiches from an ever-changing seasonal menu.

Different strokes for different folks…