Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

Text

Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Restaurant

Smiths of Smithfield
67 Charterhouse Street
London

Phone:- 0207 251 7950

Website www.smithsofsmithfield.co.uk

Overview

Eva and I were in the Smithfield area of London the other day, and had reserved a table on the top floor of Smiths of Smithfield. Smiths of Smithfield is a Grade II listed four storey restaurant, next door to Smithfield Meat Market. This is a restaurant complex that specialises in serving organic meat, sourced from the Smithfield meat market.

We booked a table in the top floor restaurant, given the fact that it is very popular I advise you to book 48 hours in advance.

Ambience

The building was restored having been left unoccupied for 40 years. The ground floor open bar area has blasted brickwork, big windows, wrought iron columns and leather seats. The first floor is a cocktail bar, the next floor offers a casual dining room with woks and clay ovens. The top floor offers a more formal dining experience.

As noted we had booked a table on the top floor, we accessed this via the elevator in the main bar. The elevator was decorated in a red padded quilt, hanging from top to bottom of three sides of the elevator; it gave us the feeling we were going to a brothel rather than a restaurant.

The top floor restaurant was exceptionally busy, but not overcrowded. We were promptly greeted and shown to our table without delay.

I was very pleased to see that they had given us a good table by the window, in the far corner of the restaurant. This afforded us an excellent view of the London skyline, and a special view of the dome of the Old Bailey.

On fine summer days the floor to ceiling windows, which were on two sides of the room, can be opened and diners can eat on the wooden decked terrace. However, this night we were treated to a spectacular lightening storm, so nobody tried dining al fresco.

The restaurant was modern, bright and well laid out; a bar ran down one side of half of the room, padded benches down another side and freestanding tables took up the remaining space. The windows gave the place sense of space, and freshness. Tables were laid with linen cloths and napkins. The ceiling was dark slated wood, with spotlights.

Menu

The menu offered a good selection of meat a fish dishes including, crab, Dover sole, Longhorn sirloin and Welsh black fillet steaks, chicken and pork.

Service

The staff were very friendly and efficient, service was prompt and accurate. They were helpful and knowledgeable when explaining the sourcing of the meat. I was impressed to note that we were offered a choice of cooking methods for the steak, pan fried or grilled.

Food

I started with half a crab in its shell. This was a good sized half a crab, in its shell, served with a simple mayonnaise. The necessary shell crackers and flesh picking tool came with the dish; enabling me to have a very physical experience with my crab. The crab was first class, and very fresh. A good way to start to the meal.

Eva chose the smoked eel with bacon and beetroot for her appetisers. This came with mayonnaise and was served on a potato pancake with a salad. The taste was smoky but not overpowering, she was very pleased with her choice; a dish that she has not had since childhood.

We both chose the longhorn sirloin for our main courses, accompanied by béarnaise and horseradish sauce. This was a magnificent cut of sirloin, with a good layer of fat. It had been pan fried to seal in the juices. As it was a rare breed the taste and texture were very special, and totally different to the steaks served by other restaurants. The texture had more body than ordinary steaks owing to the denser flesh of the meat, and the flavour had a smoky sweet flavour. It was very special, and thoroughly enjoyable.

The steaks came with mashed potato, which was very rich and creamy, and chips that were 1 inch thick; these were absolutely gorgeous, some of the best that I have ever eaten in a restaurant.

I chose the 3 rhubarb dessert to finish with. This consisted of a slice of rhubarb pie, rhubarb jelly and rhubarb ice cream. Each had a good flavour, not to sweet or sour, this was a very pleasant way to finish the meal.

The meal, which included cocktails, a bottle of Chablis and liqueurs came to £152 including service.

Overall Opinion

A good quality restaurant, serving good quality food in a lively atmosphere. We are happy to recommend it.

No comments: