Hawksmoor's been on the scene for a couple of years now with five restaurants across the city and one in Manchester about to open but I still hadn't found the time to go. Until last week.
After a killer start to the evening at Aqua Kyoto and Cats, we hoped that Hawksmoor would live up the hype. Skipping down Regent Street for a 10.30 table at the Air Street outpost, we had high hopes - and boy, were they met. The hosts and hostesses in the marble stairs ushered us in, sweeping us up the stairs and into the deeply seductive restaurant that's all dark wood, green leather and stained glass, towards our own little booth. So far, so good.
Onto the food. We'd spend the last couple of days gleefully emailing possible choices and they didn't disappoint. After a last minute addition of salmon tartare crisps - thins topped with the chunkiest, smoothest salmon perfectly seasoned with dill - we dived into the potted beef and bacon with yorkshires. Two huge and puffy puddings were ideal for scooping up the smooth meat and topping with the bacon and gravy, and we passed forks back and forth across the table hungrily. I opted for the Brixham crab on toast - a generous portion of white meat with the smoother brown hiding beneath, it was light enough to counter S's beef but so flavourful I ate every last scrap.
Next up were steaks. Naturally. S went for the fillet which was expertly served rare-medium whilst I had the steak tartare - it only comes as a starter portion and I didn't think to order two as a main but the portion size was just right in the end. Many wordless minutes were spent as we savoured the brilliantly seasoned dishes (mine, of course, had a perfect egg yolk on top and S's steak lived up to its reputation as the best steak in London, of course, ) - and then greedily spooned the truffled macaroni cheese onto our plates. We ordered the triple cooked chips too but the best side had to be the creamed spinach - a dense pot crammed with creamy, nutmeg laced leaves that we've both been dreaming of ever since. The stilton hollandaise deserves a mention as well - a rich, tangy sauce that saw frequent dunks from chips and steaks alike.
Hawksmoor really does pull out all the stops. From the buzzy atmosphere and the fantastically friendly and attentive staff to the impeccable food, this is one place I'm glad I've finally made it to. Definitely a five out of five - all that's left is to try the others, just to make sure, of course.