Fulham is trendy these days, but it wasn’t always such a sought-after address. In 879 Danish invaders had a winter break at Fulham and Hammersmith. Fulham during the 18th century had a reputation of debauchery, prostitution and gambling. My grandfather lived in Fulham at the start of the 20th century and he was a part-time bookie’s runner. Yes, they were colourful times.
Today, Fulham is one of the most desirable parts of London and, in this corner at least, has the air of a village. Cafés, small shops and bars abound and there are even some good restaurants, and amongst their number is Hanger SW6. That SW6, for those from beyond these shores, refers to the post code (zip code) for this neck of the urban woods.
Hanger doesn’t refer to the size of the establishment nor to a holder for one’s raincoat (yes, it’s summer in England). No, it’s a reference to the main menu item, which is a steak and a much overlooked variety too. But let’s consider at the premises.
This ground floor restaurant isn’t huge but it has great character. It’s new but has a timeless quality. The tables are simple wood, as are the chairs. There is a raised eating bar with stools for those who crave elevation, and a hatch through to the kitchen. There is a bar downstairs which has a cosy ambiance, with soft furnishings ideal for intimate sippings and group conviviality.
But we were here for that aforementioned steak. Hanger steak might not sound familiar to you but it’s likely you would have already enjoyed one. If you have ordered onglet in a French restaurant here or in France then you would have eaten a hanger steak. If you have been tempted by a beef fajita in a Mexican restaurant then you will have had a hanger. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘butcher’s steak’ or ‘butcher’s choice’ because butchers would keep that cut for themselves. It’s sometimes called skirt steak in the UK.
Hanger steak isn’t as pricey as the more common cuts that one finds in fine-dining bespoke steak restaurants. The owners wanted to present a steak that more people could afford but without sacrificing flavour. A hanger steak requires a bit of care. Its fibres are longer than in other steaks and the cut tends to toughen if it’s cooked to more than medium – so have it cooked only to rare or medium rare. Cut across the grain it is one of the best steaks, with plenty of beefiness.
We ordered some wine, and there are plenty of decent options here by the glass. Try the excellent Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. The menu here isn’t huge but that’s the whole point. Hanger is dedicated to steak but there are options for fish lovers and vegetarians, too. My guest ordered Charred piquillo pepper with crumbled feta cheese, garnished with cherry tomato salsa. These ‘little beak’ peppers are traditionally grown in Northern Spain and are sweet when grilled. This would have also made a colourful side dish. Scallop ceviche with ponzu dressing (mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi tuna flakes) sounded high-end and indeed it was. One might be in a ‘casual’ restaurant at Hanger but the food is serious. This dish was delicate and refined; the shellfish wasn’t overwhelmed by the acid.
My main course was never in doubt: Charcoal-grilled hanger steak with a bouquet of watercress and a side of triple-cooked chips seasoned with garlic and rosemary salt. This is classic steak and chips with the meat a rosy red but not oozing. Lots of flavour from the light and speedy char, but those chips were perhaps some of the best I have had this year. They were full-on rosemary with a hint of garlic. If pressed for time I would be happy with a bowl of these and some wine or a cocktail.
A hanger steak sandwich with sticky onions, mustard, watercress and served in ciabatta was my guest’s main course. This is a dish only for those with considerable appetites, and anybody less than a rugby player might be advised to order half a sandwich. You could always ask for the other half later. This was an outstanding sandwich in both size and quality.
Sundae Mess was our shared dessert, being already comfortably overwhelmed by succulent meat. It’s a deconstructed Eton Mess of meringue, berry ripple, vanilla and lemon pie ice cream. The lemon ice cream stole the show with its refreshing tang.
Hanger has a promising future. A great location with plenty of public transport will help, but it’s the food that will assure its success.
Tuesday – Thursday 12:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 22:00
Friday – Sunday 12:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 22:00
461 North End Road
London SW6 1NZ
Phone: 020 7386 9739
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018