It has become tradition for my boyfriend and I to treat each other to a really good steak dinner for our birthdays. I took him to Gaucho for his birthday last year (absolutely incredible – everyone needs to eat there!) and he took me to the smaller, independent, but still amazing Casa Milevo in February for my birthday. So when investigating where to go this year, I checked out TimeOut’s list of London’s Best Restaurants for Steak list and saw Hawksmoor’s four locations dominate spots 1 – 4 (Spitalfields, Air Street, Guildhall and Seven Dials). I chose number 2 – Hawksmoor Air Street and was expecting great great things.
I was not disappointed! Just off Picadilly and Regents Street, Hawksmoor Air Street is subtly hidden underneath an archway, and is a million miles from the other touristy and chain restaurants typically found in the area. We were greeted at the door, handed over to another hostess who led us up a sweeping curved dark green marble staircase (very nice!) and then met by another greeter upstairs. He then introduced us to our “seater”, who led us through the fabulously stylish art deco dining room to our table, where we were promptly met by our waiter who presented us with a big smile and our menus! Wowser, talk about service! I would usually say contact with 5 members of staff in 2 minutes is excessive and fussy, but the service flowed effortlessly and served to make us feel quite important! This excellent service continued right through to the end of our meal.
Whilst Hawksmoor specialises in steak, it also sells a variety of seafood, starters and sides. You really are spoilt for choice! Whilst it can be quite pricey – with individual steaks around the £30 mark, they also do an Express Menu where you can have two courses for £23 or three courses for £26 between 12pm – 6:30pm, or after 10pm. Tony and I both went for the 400g (!) Ribeye steak with a peppercorn sauce and a selection of sides to share; roasted mushrooms, buttered greens and beef dripping fries. Our waiter also bought us some complimentary rustic bread and butter to soak up our rioja while we waited for our steaks to cook. They were most definitely worth the wait! I like mine Medium-Well, whilst Tony went for Medium-Rare, and each was cooked to perfection; the meat tender and well flavoured. The peppercorn sauce was also very tasty, with a rich, thick gravy and powerful pepper flavour which was carefully prepared to enhance rather than overpower the taste of the meat. The sides were also delicious – the buttered greens and roasted mushrooms were both perfect accompaniments to our steaks. The beef dripping fries were absolutely incredible; thin and crispy, but with a fluffy centre, and a deeply delicious flavour from the dripping.
Just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat another thing, our lovely waiter presented us with the dessert menu and three magical words sprung out at me. Salted. Carmel. Rolos. Yep- HOW could I resist?! Good Lord, they are among the best things I have ever had the good fortune to devour! About triple the size of an actual Rolo, I was presented with three of the little beauties and could happily have eaten another 20! Whilst very sweet, the caramel was the most wonderful texture and thickness, encased in beautifully smooth dark chocolate and laced with delicate saltiness, which prevented them from being sickly. Bravo Hawksmoor, bravo! Not to be left out, Tony also ordered himself some clotted cream ice cream which was also absolutely superb, and a refreshing yet sweet way to round off his meal.
I really cannot fault our experience at Hawksmoor Air Street. The service was attentive and friendly without being over bearing, the dining room was beautiful and buzzing without being brash, and the food was beautifully flavoured and cooked to perfection; homely yet extraordinary. And the Salted Caramel Rolos were literally out of this world! Whilst perhaps pricey upon first glance, this is definitely a case of get what you pay for, and I would happily return again and again.
Have you been to Hawksmoor Air Street? What’s your favourite steak restaurant?
xx emsypickle xx