Hawksmoor Air Street, London

Birthday treats for your missus are an opportunity to prove what a badass you are – splashing the cash like you ain’t got a care in the world.

“Yeah, of course you should order that £13 cocktail baby, it’s your birthday. Oh, that side order is £25…go right ahead, it’s only money, right?” For £13, this better be the best goddamn cocktail she’s ever tasted.

And to be fair, it pretty much was. The Hawksmoor isn’t the kind of place that the likes of us can visit every week. Shit, it’s barely a once-a-year deal – so best make the most of it.

The cocktail and wine lists are a minefield of expense and fancy-ass language that had me in a cold sweat. And I gotta be honest, my Full Fat Old Fashioned tasted like a regular glass of bourbon on the rocks to me. But that’s likely my ignorance at play rather than any fault of the barman. Mrs Gangsta had some fruity number, which she enjoyed.

Being a carnivorous motherfucker, I went for the belly ribs starter and a sirloin steak main, both of which were out-fucking-standing. I asked for the steak cooked medium and, for probably the first time in my life, the chef nailed it. You get what you pay for, innit. Mashed potato gravy as a side was great too and the bone marrow sauce took the steak to beyond perfect levels.

The good lady said her potted beef and bacon starter with Yorkshire pudding was great, but it was her main of the monkfish that really made this birthday dinner a winner. Mac and cheese on the side was an interesting and tasty choice. Her raspberry ripple ice cream proved the ideal finisher.

I smashed the Crunchy Bar dessert, tempted by my love of honeycomb and by the fact that 50p from each £8.75 of this particular sweet goes to Action Against Hunger. I was almost uncomfortably stuffed and sure as hell didn’t need a dessert but, man, did I enjoy it.

Some delicious – if stupidly pricey – red and white wine helped the meal on its way and almost nothing about this experience could be described as anything less than flawless. The staff were perfectly attentive without being in-your-face and the restaurant is every bit as classy as the prices would demand.

Hell, we might even go back when it’s my birthday. By then, I might just be hungry enough again. And hopefully my bank balance will have returned to a healthy enough level after its most crippling experience of 2017 so far.

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