The décor of this restaurant’s lobby and bar area is reminiscent of the early 20th century, but given the relaxed, informal, but also informed service, the atmosphere has nothing stiff or pretentious about it. On the contrary, this is about as seemingly effortless a service experience as you could hope to find.
Food-wise, the focus clearly lies on meat. The various cuts of beef, chicken, lamb or seafood make up the bulk of the menu. And there are good reasons for this. For anyone who likes meat (and is in London) Hawksmoor remains one of the most convincing ports of call. Take a T-bone steak to share for instance. This is absolutely gorgeous. Grilled to perfection, the meat has good flavour and is incredibly tender. Whilst it could have been aged a little longer to bring out the more funky aromas, this is undoubtedly a very convincing steak. D-Rump, which is aged longer (55 days) has more complex flavour, but is not quite as overwhelming a cut.
The Hawksmoor, however, does not only do steaks very well. The sides are equally compelling. The béarnaise here for instance, is a textbook example of what it ought to be: rich, with a fresh kick from the tarragon and perfectly seasoned. Equally, the macaroni and cheese gratin is so rich and addictive that it ensures cardiac arrest after a meal here.
To counter that, the bar at the Hawksmoor offers the perfect “antidote”: the full-fat Old-Fashioned. For this drink, Bourbon has been infused with butter overnight. Then the butter and Bourbon are separated. The other ingredients are the classical components of an Old-Fashioned. The result is almost what Marcassin or Aubert Chardonnay are to white Burgundy: an Old-Fashioned on steroids. The buttery aroma adds a layer of complexity to the drink that lifts the flavours up, rather than numbing your palate. For this drink alone, the bar here is worth a visit.
The Hawksmoor Air Street is a compelling restaurant. It manages to deliver perfect service without any pretence whatsoever. On top of that, you have some of the best steaks and cocktails available in London. What more could one ask for?