Hawksmoor is a carnivore’s paradise and both the Hog and I are avid meat eaters. Given that, I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that it’s one of our favourite pig-out places!
I really struggle to find fault with any of the meals we’ve had at Hawksmoor. Whether it be fantastic, succulent Chateaubriand, sensational porterhouse or great value rib-eye on their express menu (£26 for three courses); it’s all been nothing short of excellent. I’m delighted to say that our Sunday roast was no different.
Each of our previous visits had been to the Seven Dials branch, but this time we thought we’d try their newest restaurant on Air Street. We’d heard it was more light and airy (no pun intended) with large windows all down one side, so it seemed the logical choice for lunch. We had guests too so I thought it might be handy to have a choice of seafood, as well as the meat feast options.
The building itself is rather big and intimidating with an austere feel and a large stone stairwell. That all changes when you go up to the dining room on the first floor. The first thing that strikes you is its size; it must seat at least a couple of hundred people. The interior is plush but not overstated and they’ve really managed to capture that “Hawksmoor” feel.
We’d booked for 12.30pm, and were shown straight to our table on arrival. Our waitress was very helpful and even offered to go through the whole menu with us. However, we had already decided on the Sunday roast, having seen it being served to another table on the way in.
The waitress then explained how the meat had been cooked, “low and slow overnight” and that it was served lovely and pink with duck fat roast potatoes, bone marrow gravy, a giant Yorkshire pudding and vegetables. It was a pretty convincing argument, but she was preaching to the converted.
We all skipped starters in order to accommodate desserts, and when the plates arrived we realised what a smart move that was. The meat was indeed pink, cooked a perfect medium rare, which slightly scared one of our party. However, there was no complaints once she tried it. I also thought the fact that it was cut into a thick slab, rather than being thinly sliced really added to the juiciness. Done like this, it wasn’t too dissimilar from a piece of US style prime rib. The accompanying Yorkshire pudding was enormous and left me wondering how big their pudding tins must be.
I particularly enjoyed the roasted garlic. There was a whole bulb of this on each plate and the Hog’s not a fan so his made it two! The gravy was tasty but the bone marrow in it wasn’t particularly noticeable. The macaroni cheese side was delicious and quickly disappeared. The triple cooked chips were also popular, crispy and fluffy as they should be. Perhaps we didn’t really need them, but you only live once.
For dessert, we opted for peanut shortbread with caramel ice cream and their interpretation of a Jaffa Cake. If you enjoy peanut butter, you should try the shortbread. It’s a generous sized warm peanut biscuit with a scoop of ice cream on top. It’s got bite and creaminess and really hit the mark. We also enjoyed the ‘Jaffa Cake’ but it was huge and extremely rich, so much so that even the Hog and I struggled to clean our plates. They could easily get away with serving a portion half the size, but I pray they never apply that logic to the meat!
We were all delighted with this meal. Just as I’d hoped, it really was up their with the best Sunday lunches I’ve had. The service was terrific and the food was as good as it is at Seven Dials. We’re glad that standards haven’t slipped! I think I’d go so far as to say that I prefer Air Street as a lunch venue. It wasn’t as dimly lit as the underground Seven Dials branch, and the atmosphere was more relaxed.
I’d really like to return and try some of their seafood options. Roast turbot is one of my favourites and it stood out on the menu, but it might be impossible to suppress my carnivorous streak.
Roast beef with all the trimmings: £19.50 per person. Main course and dessert for four, with wine: £168.19.
Address: 5a Air Street, London, W1J 0AD
Phone: 020 7406 3980