On Saturday, we were back in London, as we were seeing The Lion King at The Lyceum Theatre. I was always planning on booking a table for dinner, despite being on a spending ban, but simply could not keep it a surprise. So I told Ash that we would be eating at the Air Street branch of Hawksmoor, with a reservation at 5pm – enough time to get to the theatre for 7:30pm. He’d never been to Hawksmoor and I’d not been to this particular location – but it’s definitely my favourite!
We arrived early and although the table was ready for us, we decided to have a drink at the bar first. Of all the Hawksmoor restaurants I’ve been to, the bar at Air Street is the best. There’s plenty of seating and just lots of space – it’s not dingy in the slightest, as I found with Spitalfields. I enjoyed a French House (strawberry Beefeater, lime & tarragon), which went down very easily; while Ash had a Hawksmoor Collins (Beefeater 24, Campari, bitters, soda & lemon). We sat along the far side of the lounge area in one of the booths, which was so comfy and relaxing. Although we were the first in the bar, it soon got busier and as the late lunchtime diners were leaving the restaurant, it was time for us to make our way to our table. The restaurant is quite large with numerous different areas of seating. We were sat towards the middle in another booth – which was certainly more comfortable than normal seating and there was plenty of table space, too.
Although there’s an Express menu at lunch time (and certain times during the evening), priced at two courses for £25, or three for £28, we decided to order a la carte – largely because I can no longer eat more than a main meal! It’s a shame because the peanut butter shortbread is absolutely unreal, but never mind!
We both opted for rump steaks – rare for me and medium/rare for Ash. Sides and sauces come at an extra charge and of course, I had to have my all-time favourite Hawksmoor side: the beef dripping fries. They are amazing, so crisp and flavoursome – and also loads better than the triple-cooked chips! I still can’t believe they’re not available at all the branches (again, Spitalfields, I mean you). I accompanied them with a pot of bone marrow gravy, which was divine and nowhere near as rich as I previously remembered. I normally opt for peppercorn sauce but I was pleased to have tried something different. My steak was absolutely cooked to perfection and as I cut into it, Ash has commented that he should have gone rare, as well. I’m surprised he didn’t get the cheese sweats, because not only did he order a side of mac’n’cheese (and buttered English greens) but he also decided on the stichelton hollandaise. The sides are Hawksmoor are large and easily sharable – not that we did. They also come in the most gorgeous cast iron pots, which ensure they stay hot for ages.
I accompanied my steak with a glass of Rioja, which went well – and down too easily. The wine list is extensive, but as you’d expect, pricy. It’s always worth ordering by the bottle, rather than glass; unfortunately we had a designated driver that evening.
The service is always very good at Hawksmoor and at Air Street, it’s no exception – from the woman on the front desk who initially took our reservation, to the bar and waiting staff upstairs. You certainly get what you pay for, not only in terms of standard of service, but quality of food and drink.
Hawksmoor is one of my favourite London restaurants and without a doubt, I’ll be returning to the Air Street branch – hopefully next time, I’ll have space for the peanut butter shortbread, too!
Love, Lucy xx