We almost lived in a world without Hawksmoor. A bank man declining their loan and their head chef disappearing off the face of the Earth might have deterred Will Beckett and Huw Gott from opening the steakhouse of their dreams back in 2006.

If the Air Street branch – one of 14, ranging from Seven Dials to Manhattan – is anything to go by, thank God they persevered. The surf-and-turf restaurant, which takes inspiration from Hawksmoor’s new branch in New York, is an authentic slice of the Big Apple with homegrown British grub to boot.

What’s the vibe?

Sprezzatura. (Bless you). According to the menu, this nifty term from Renaissance Italy means putting a lot of effort into looking effortless. Think hours spent in front of the mirror to perfectly re-create bedhead, or hand-ripping holes in the knees of your 501s. Walking up the spiral staircase of Hawksmoor Air Street, it’s clear that this steakhouse is a consummate actor. So finely honed is its craft, so well-versed its material, that you’d think it barely had to try. Hawksmoor is, perhaps, the Amy Adams of surf-and-turf. You just know it’ll deliver.

To be clear, Air Street is more East Coast than West. From its Art Deco design to the dressed-down chic of the waiters, the place brings the uncontrived confidence of a Manhattanite to Regent Street. Not that you’d know you’re sitting above one of the loudest streets in London: the atmosphere is buzzy, but not obnoxious; charismatic, but not pretentious. No one, it seems, is trying to impress each other.

Amid the suitably New Yorker style conversations – “we’re a bit Ross-Rachel”, “I’m honestly pretty over Silicon Valley” – there’s not a Gillet in sight. You could bring a date, you could bring colleagues, you could, like I did, bring a rugby-playing uni mate with an unquenchable appetite for red meat. All will leave thinking: yeah, that was a pretty great time.

Hawksmoor Air Street

What’s the order?

The New York influences have made their way into the cocktail menu. With a World Fair spirit of innovation, this a brand-spanking-new array of drinks for Hawksmoor. The Big Apple is, allegedly, the home of the martini (it most certainly is not the home of the steakhouse – that’s somewhere just off Moorgate). Air Street stipulates they’re served at “a bracing -12 °C”. This is, of course, far better than serving a martini at some sort of stupid temperature, like -13°C. The Ultimate Steakhouse Martini is fantastic: X Muse Vodka, with full-bodied chardonnay, olive brine, and peppercorns. There’s a savoury sort of clarity to it – it tastes almost healthy. Have three.

For the traditionalists, there are the ‘Sacred Six’: Hawksmoor classics, un-alloyed by the Ford-era reinvention of the new menu. Granted, it’s Fords Gin in the ‘Hawksmoor Calling’, but you get the metaphor. A love child of a Collins and a London Calling, the sherry, honey, and soda taste like a sunny spring wedding. If cocktails aren’t your thing, grab a whiskey (listed by flavour, not age and location in case you don’t know what Speyside tastes like), a Hawksmoor’s-own beer, or one of their low-alcohol temperates.

After almost being laughed off the table by Highly Carnivorous Friend for ordering a suitably refreshing Bitter Leaf Salad with Devon blue and candied pecans (in all fairness, his marrow and onions was melt-in-the-mouth good), we moved on to the mains. Air Street is Hawksmoor’s first foray into seafood. Dover sole, roasted hake, oysters-both-natural-and-Vietnamese: the menu is masterminded alongside Mitch Tonks, of ‘The Seahorse Dartmouth’ fame. The produce is fresh from Brixham market in Devon. I’m reliably informed that it’s very good.

Hawksmoor Air Street

I’m also not ashamed to tell you that we immediately ordered steak. You don’t ask Amy Adams for interpretive dance tips. Sirloin, slap-bang in the middle of a white ceramic plate. The outside seared so you could still taste the skillet; the inside so tender it was almost buttery. Perfectly stratified. If you want to spruce up the utilitarian plate – why bother, some might say – sides include beef-dripping chips and fries, mash and gravy, buttered greens, and a certain bitter leaf salad. There’s also macaroni cheese, if that’s something you want.

In what’s swiftly becoming a running theme, the sommelier seemed like a thoroughly decent guy. Surely, for a review, it’s good form to try the Hawksmoor Blend Argentinian Malbec? “Not with the sirloin, that would be bad.” No, to cut through the fat, he recommended the Barbera d'Asti: it’s more acidic, it’s also cheaper. No-nonsense. If you want to try Hawksmoor’s own, pair it with the fillet – the leaner meat goes better with a tangier wine, I’m told. Finish it all off with a dessert – pick any, they’ve all got alcohol in them – and bosh: a great meal in a great restaurant. Easy Peasy.

What’s the damage?

The steaks all come in around £40 for 300g, excepting the rump at £27. The heftier sides (fries, mash … pasta) will set you back £7ish, and the starters range from £9 for charcoal-roasted squash to £21 for roasted scallops. On weekdays before 6:30pm there’s an Express Menu: two courses for £27 or three for £31. All solid stuff.

You’ll be able to get a great bottle of wine at the sixty-quid mark, but if you’re feeling fancier, there’s a “fine wine” section where prices hit £1,350 – for a bottle of Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz. The only slightly jarring thing was £12 for a box of eight take-away Rolos. There’s something horribly state-of-the-nation about paying £1.36 for a Rolo.

Anything else?

Hawksmoor’s monumental breakfast is back at Air Street. From 150-year-old sausage recipes to bacon that’s spent 10 days buried in sugar pits, this really is the stuff of champions. On a Monday, for a £5 charge per bottle, you can bring your own booze. That’s £5 for a Magnum or £5 for a Nebuchadnezzar: you do the math. It’s worth noting that Hawksmoor is certified B-Corp, which means that when it comes to sustainability and social impact, they’re (not to belabour the point) really good guys.

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5A Air St, London W1J 0AD; Hawksmoor