(Gabriel Rios) – Hawksmoor, Air Street, London
I had been invited to lunch at Hawksmoor, on Air Street, by my Karen – my daughter and her husband, Bill, it being Christmas and all that.
Firstly, I struggled to find the restaurant, for clarity it’s on the short segment of Air Street between Regent Street and Piccadilly, on the north side of the road, an unprepossessing entrance which leads upstairs to a charming space above some uninspiring shops. There are art deco frosted windows that provide a pleasant enough light.
The restaurant has a New York steak bar vibe (both Karen and I mentioned Smith and Wollensky) which is not a bad thing for a restaurant that majors in steak.
We sat in the bar for an aperitif, I ordered a Bloody Mary and was frankly disappointed. A friend bought me the Hawksmoor cookbook last year and the Bloody Mary I was served bore no resemblance to that in the book.
The Bloody Marys at the RAC Club are better. Heck, I make better ones at home.
We were shown to our table and chose our dishes, both Karen and Bill went for ‘Brown Shrimps on Toast’ to start, these were piled high and, by all accounts, very tasty.
I went for the fried ‘Queenies’ with Tartare Sauce. The Queenies (tiny scallops) were sweet and tasty, the tartare sauce lacking a little in bite, but not unpleasant.
For mains they shared the bone-in Prime Rib, while I went for the Sirloin Steak. For sides we ordered roast field mushrooms (tasty), spinach with lemon & garlic (delicious), and triple cooked chips (chips). All washed down with a couple of bottles of Argentine Malbec.
The Prime Rib was rich, again slightly sweet, with crunchy bits.
My Sirloin was thick, tasty and cooked perfectly – as one might expect from a steak restaurant. Until very recently I’ve enjoyed my steaks ‘blue’ but have moved up to ‘rare’ to get a caramelised crust on my steaks. The accompanying peppercorn sauce was unimpressive, and watery, I won’t order that again.
For dessert we enjoyed the festive mince pies, dainty, with light pastry and a rich filling, just £3.50 for three, with the whole amount going to charity. That works for me.
I don’t know what the final bill was, but we all enjoyed our lunch, and would happily return.