Hawksmoor is arguably the best steak restaurant in Manchester and the care and quality begin long before it reaches the plate.

They’re all about using traditional British breeds of cow, fed on grass, raised with the best farming practices, and dry aged for at least 28 days. “Hopefully showing that an ‘ethical steak restaurant’ isn’t necessarily an oxymoron,” say co-owners Will Beckett and Huw Gott in the introduction to their book ‘Hawksmoor Restaurants and Recipes.’

They go on to explain why, after a visit by Will and his family to Mitch Tonks’ Seahorse in Dartmouth, they realised that their steak restaurant could also offer great fish dishes. It took them years to navigate the choppy waters of supply chains and sustainability guidelines. Then came “the challenge of training meat-minded chefs in the more delicate art of seafood.” Happily, charcoal and heat also bring out the best in fish and seafood.

Image credit – Deanna Thomas

But before we get on to the proper menu, a public service announcement. Hawksmoor is one of the best places in Manchester to eat oysters. They happily accommodate guests in the bar who are welcome to knock them back in multiples of three with a classic martini or a glass of quality fizz. You can get your protein/magnesium fix in two ways: natural with a squeeze of lemon, a dash of Tabasco and finely chopped shallots soaked in red wine vinegar; or Vietnamese (which they recommend for ‘beginners’) doused in a flavourful dressing of soy, lime, lemongrass and crispy shallots.

Image credit – Deanna Thomas

Over in the restaurant, fish-led starters include roast scallops with white port and garlic, a plate of sashimi cut Hawksmoor smoked salmon served with soda bread, and Salcombe crab served with cucumber salad. Here the creamy brown meat spread is spread over on crunchy buttered toast topped with the delicate white flakes. This with a chilled glass of crisp Picpoul is what summer dreams are made of.

Image credit – Deanna Thomas

To follow, try South Coast monkfish on the bone, cooked carefully over charcoal until it absorbs just the right amount of smoke and fire before being lashed with a simple seasoned dressing of parsley, garlic and lemon. Occasionally there are fish specials such as cuttlefish which is given a similar treatment. The menu also features whole roasted seabream, cooked in a paper parcel with chilli, garlic and lemon to seal in the flavour and retain the juices. Opened at the table, it’s like a gift for pescatarians.

Our focus on fish would be incomplete without mentioning the legendary side dishes at Hawksmoor. Although fish eaters might not be too keen on the dripping fries, crispy golden triple-cooked chips are a stunning alternative. The Caesar salad, like everything else here, is made without shortcuts. Full leaves of crisp romaine lettuce, slithers of anchovy fillets and a Parmesan dressing whisked up with Champagne vinegar and Dijon mustard. We also love their nutmeg-spiked creamed spinach as it feels like health food wrapped up in silk pyjamas.

Fish restaurants have come and gone in Manchester city centre with only with distant memories of places such as Livebait, Umezushi and Randall & Aubin, which is why Hawksmoor’s respect for fish dishes is so welcome. Book your table HERE.

HAWKSMOOR MANCHESTER, 184 – 186 Deansgate Manchester M3 3WB
Tel: 0161 836 6980

More fantastic fish restaurants in Manchester

  • Oystercatcher, a popular neighbourhood restaurant in Chorlton (and soon to open in Stanley Square, Sale)
  • Easy Fish Co, this quality fishmongers has excellent fish restaurants in Heaton Moor and Wilmslow
  • Street Urchin is an English market diner on Great Ancoats Street with a daily changing menu offering a wide selection of great fish and seafood dishes.
  • Ocean Treasure – This lavish traditional dining hall on an industrial estate in Middleton specialises in seafood with menus specialising in dim sum, and the regional cuisines of Sichuan, Beijing and Guangdon.
  • Live Seafood – the Chinese seafood dishes at this this no-frills venue on Ashton Old Road are so fresh and delicious they even eared a review from the Guardian’s Jay Rayner.


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