Scores: 4 GFG / Z 26/ H 2
Constantly I am shocked by the demand for high end steak in London with 4 Hawksmoors, 3 Goodmans, Cut, 34, the Palm, STK, the Maze Grill and the JW Steakhouse, never mind 12 Gauchos etc. You would think getting reservations should be easy- but, at least for the first few names on this list, it is not, at all. It seems that in London people are prepared to pay for high quality meat in places like Goodman and Hawksmoor.
I have been going to the Hawksmoor chain more or less since the original one opened. They have come a long way since the days when people had to pre-order fillet and the one occasion I was there when there was a bucket on the floor to catch a leak coming from the ceiling. There are now four locations, this one in Mayfair is the newest and the biggest, taking over the space formally occupied by Cocoon above Regent Street. I have been to all the locations but I am not a big fan of the Guildhall restaurant- it reminds me of a massive school dining hall.
This was my second visit to the Air Street branch and I was again struck by just how long the room is. A slight problem with this is the toilets are right at the opposite end of the restaurant than the bar which creates a bit of a mission if one needs to go. The restaurant was packed on a Tuesday night and the atmosphere was lively. We started with a Hawksmoor Collins cocktail in the bar; there is an extensive cocktail list containing lots of interesting looking concoctions.
Roast scallops with white port & garlic (£14) was a tasty starter containing three nice sized, perfectly cooked scallops in rich garlicky sauce. A second starter of shrimps on toast (£10) was reasonably good and there were plenty of little shrimps. Tamworth belly ribs (£10) had a real intensity of lovely flavour; these were very rich so I was glad I was sharing them, especially with all of the meat that was still to come.
For mains we shared a 400g rib-eye (£30) and a porterhouse for two (£9 per 100g) between three of us, the waiter asked if we wanted these pre-sliced to make them easier to share, which was helpful. The porterhouse arrived cooked perfectly medium rare as requested; if I was being critical I would say that the rib-eye was slightly on the medium side of medium rare. Both steaks were lovely, the meat had loads of flavour. The extra fat in the rib-eye perhaps made it the slightly nicer of the two. Triple cooked chips (£4) were perfectly cooked and proved to be a perfect side for the meat while beef dripping fries (£4.50) were good but a little thin for my liking. A portion of spinach with lemon & garlic (£5) added something healthy to the proceedings; the lemon in this dish was a nice complement to the irony spinach.
This is truly some of the best steak that London has to offer, it is no surprise that this was a pretty expensive meal by the end. It is nice to go out for steak occasionally but it is quite expensive for something that you can cook well yourself.