Wednesday 23 April 2014

Restaurant Review: Hawksmoor, Air Street

Restaurant name: Hawksmoor
Location: Air Street, near Piccadilly, London
Description: It claims to be the best steak restaurant in London and I wouldn't disagree.The first floor restaurant runs along the top of other shops and is deceptively big - our table was at the far end and it felt like it took several minutes to cross the restaurant floor. There's a lot of art deco windows and banquette seating; the overall impression is quite dark and traditional, a bit like I imagine a gentleman's club might be.
Reason for visit: to celebrate getting a new job - and also because my boyfriend and I love a good steak, and I'd been dying to try this place since it opened more than a year earlier.

I ate: Fillet steak, £34 for 300g, with anchovy hollandaise as I had heard good things about it (£3) and triple-cooked chips (£4). For dessert I had the peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream, £7.50. I would have liked to try the fish but there was no way I was going to have anything other than steak.
My companion ate: The same steak and chips but with bearnaise sauce, and the chocolate and salted caramel tart (£8).
The food was: Outstanding. The steak was melt-in-the-mouth delicious, the anchovy hollandaise was unusual and surprisingly good, though the chips were not the best I've ever had - I prefer my chips chunky. But oh, the steak.... and the dessert was outstanding, rather than just something sweet to round off the meal it really held its own and justified the cost. What sounds quite tame on paper - peanut butter shortbread - was actually an incredible dessert, akin to eating a deconstructed Snickers bar. I had a star-shaped piece of shortbread that was soft and warm, with a quenelle of salted caramel ice cream and chocolate drizzled over the top. I would go back just for the dessert. My boyfriend's tart was very good but I definitely picked the better dessert!

The service was: Of a very high standard as you would hope in such an expensive restaurant, though the fact that our table was next to the toilets was a bit annoying as there were constantly people coming and going. Still, I can hardly fault the place.
Price range/value for money: With additional charges for the steak sauce and chips, prices really add up, and this is up there with the most expensive steak I've ever had - but it was probably the best. With a modest glass of wine (we never order bottles as I'm the only one drinking) and a soft drink for the other half, and tip, the bill came to well over £100. Totally worth it though (not that I was paying!).
Would I recommend it? Can you seriously still ask that question after all I've said? Really, Jay Rayner in the Observer puts it far better than I ever could. Read this, and book a table now.

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