They had us with the words Langoustine and chips, so we had to try out Hawksmoor’s new lunch special
Choose your Hawksmoor, we picked the one close to us in Air Street. Mind you, you’d not actually know it was there; the entrance is hidden and easy to walk by. The restaurant proper is actually to be found on the first floor.
But what a space it is when you get there; a seemingly never ending long-room. I thought that perhaps I was being fooled by clever mirrors, but no it’s real, and it’s all lit by large half-moon windows that throw light onto the (possibly) original woodblock floor and the New York/Paris brasserie art deco fixtures and fittings.
It feels very right, a proper place to have a long lunch and that is indeed what many tables of Mayfair types – Regent Street is the Rubicon between creative Soho and monied Mayfair – were doing. Happy laughter, clinking glasses and the sound of people busily sawing at large steaks.
Prepping for the langoustines I kept it light at first with spring herb salad, goat’s curd, radishes and a sourdough crisp – even though, to quibble, it’s not actually spring.
Unctuously creamy curd which was perfect when slathered onto the bread, crispy radishes for contrast and a salad let down a little bit by what was either very large and coarse parsley leaves, or lovage leaves. Either way, they were a bit too butch for the dish – fibrous and earthy.
S went for what is, apparently, a Hawksmoor classic, Potted beef and bacon with Yorkshires. This was a bit of an odd one, two puffy puds, a boat of gravy and a glass pot of beef pate.
Not sure what to do with the gravy – drink it? Pour it over the puds or into the pot? – he spread the pate onto the Yorkshires as if they were bread rolls.
It worked and he liked it overall, but said he never quite lost the feeling that perhaps he was missing the point.
I think if a restaurant is honest, it matters. We were told that the advertised triple-cook chips were off, as the potatoes that had been delivered that day weren’t up to it. So, we were offered chips cooked in beef dripping instead which, frankly, sounded even better.
They were indeed good, thinly cut with a hint of skin and a bit burnt in places, which is how I like them. Shows that they were hand cut.
The langoustines were wrapped in an excellently light, crispy batter, the meat fresh tasting and well able to shine through. The homemade tartare was okay, but perversely I prefer the kind you get in sachets at the chippy. Sometimes bad isn’t just good, it’s better.
S had the steak on offer. Quite a big bit of steak for the money – 35-day aged rump cooked medium rare as requested. I think it could have benefitted from a few minutes more resting; it had a bit of the’jam sandwich’ look, but he had no complaints at all.
We argued about dessert, he was too full to have one and I muttered critically about having salt in my caramel. I know it was a dish that was all the rage a while back, but it never caught on with me.
Still I enjoyed the peanut butter shortbread, salted caramel ice cream all the same. The salt was not overdone as it tended to be back in the heyday, the way that hops are overdone now in craft ales. A decent bit of dessert to end on.
Other dishes on the special lunchtime set menu include the Big Matt burger; roasted hake with heritage tomatoes and new potatoes and a veggie option of chargrilled heritage courgettes, Twineham Grange dumplings, courgette fries.
Lots of reasons then to go to Hawksmoor for a proper lunch.
2 courses £25.00, 3 courses £28.00. Available for reservations made Monday to Saturday lunch 12pm Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 3pm