Going to the top floor of Smiths of Smithfield was like being upgraded from economy on an aeroplane, it would be hard to go back to the more casual (and cheaper) floors I had visited previously. You see, the way Smiths of Smithfield is set out is over several levels with a casual bar that serves burgers and other snacky foods on the ground floor, a moderately priced restaurant on the first and second floor and then you hit the rarefied air of the fine dining restaurant on the top floor.
I made it to the top floor courtesy of a business lunch, you would think being a lawyer that perks like business lunches would happen more regularly, but sadly they don’t. So there we were with all the other suits at Friday lunchtime revelling in the fact that we weren’t in the office and that when you make it to the top floor there is an amazing view out over the Smithfield meat markets. Being so close to the meat market, Smiths of Smithfield is known for its meat so the menu is dominated by steak and it also has a focus on good quality British produce.
Our waitress brought out bread and oil to begin, but she didn’t give us any side plates. So there were crumbs all over the table by the time we had finished with the bread. It was a bit messy. I think we all would have preferred a side plate. I had the Dorset crab on toast for entree. It was a generous serving of finely flaked crab spread on top of some crisp toasted bread. Excellent light and tasty fare. Since it was a business lunch I couldn’t sample everyone elses meals as I generally do with long suffering MTV boyfriend and other friends, however by all reports the salt and pepper squid was excellent.
We all ordered steaks for main, except for the one poor vegetarian. Obviously the lunch had not been planned with her in mind. After much deliberation of the various aging and provenance of the steak on offer I went with the Aberdeen rump steak. It was huge and came served with a Bearnaise sauce and scalloped potatoes. The meat was tender, flavoursome and cooked exactly as requested. It was hard to fault it. Sadly, I don’t think John Torode himself cooked it given that he popped into the restaurant while we were eating in jeans and a shirt. Maybe now that he is famous from Masterchef he does not spend that much time grilling steaks anymore.
Dessert options were somewhat limited, so while most of the table just went with ice-cream I opted for the cheese selection. The cheese was from Neal’s Yard Dairy and was of their usual excellent quality. A rich cheddar, creamy brie and pungent blue along with plenty of oat cakes. Sadly, it seemed that heading back to the office could not be put off any longer. We had a bit of trouble getting the bill which was symptomatic of the somewhat inattentive (for these prices) service. Nevertheless, if I feel like a decent steak in a casual but impressive setting I think I will head back to Smiths of Smithfield. Just next time I might not bring a vegetarian.
Details: 67-77 Charterhouse street, Farringdon, EC1M 6HJ (Ph 0207 7251 7950)
Damage: Budget Breaking