Fanciest floor of the impressive looking four-storey restaurant, nestled in the heart of the historic Smithfield market, I first visited in 2008 to celebrate getting my first graduate job (pre-katemeout days) and still have cravings for the crackling on that pork belly five years later. When I was recently invited to a ‘showcase’ of the top floor, including the terrace, a butchery demonstration, wine tasting and steak-fest, I couldn’t say no.
On arrival, we were treated to a constant stream of delicious canapés including a tasty shot of leek and potato soup, scallop and black pudding skewers, huge oysters and some salt and pepper squid that was one of my favourites – even though I don’t usually eat fish or seafood.
The evening was all about the meat however, and once we sat down it was a veritable ode to the cow. We began with a light starter of beef carpaccio with steak tartare (an Atkin’s dream!). Then came the big guns- huge plates of three different breeds and cuts of steak that will go down in history as the ultimate steak-lover fantasy – south Devon rump from Newton Abbot, organic Aberdeen Angus sirloin from North Wales, and Simmental fillet from Warwickshire. In addition we had both fat and skinny chips (I wish I was allowed to do this every time I went out) and a range of sources including a nice (but not mindblowing) peppercorn and an exciting bone marrow butter.
I love steak, and I don’t think I would have thought of Smiths in my mental “steak restaurant” hotlist up there with the greats – but it’s certainly up there now.
We started with some delicious English sparkling wine (Nyetimber), which tasted better than quite a few champagnes I’ve had recently and I wasn’t surprised to discover it is typically more expensive. With dinner we were lucky to have two whites, two reds and two dessert wines paired with each course. The guidance of the wine expert on our table helped, but I couldn’t believe how much difference it made tasting both wines simultaneously to my ability to work out which one I preferred and why…I might have to do it more often.
I was surprised at how well the whites went with the beef starter, especially the Italian Soave. But by far and away the tastiest wine of the evening, agreed by both myself and my date was a 2010 Cote Rotie Domaine Francois et Fils from France which we had with the steak and we had to cheekily request an extra glass of.
We got lucky with the weather and the terrace was absolutely lovely – great views over the markets and London – with a clear view of the shard in the distance. It would make a very impressive summer evening date.
On this occasion the fun extended to a butchery demonstration which was fascinating – Smiths is one of few restaurants in London that buys its meat ‘by the cow’ direct from farmers like that and butchers it on receipt – it’s not the cheapest way to do it but allows far more control over the cuts and aging. I couldn’t believe how quickly the talented chef reduced an entire cow down to steak – with just a little help from fellow foodie blogger Wilkes888.
You’re taking a carnivorous date out on a beautiful summer evening and need to impress.
Don’t go there if…
Your order your steak well, well done.
The lift to the top floor is *tiny*. If you’re trying to build the romance at the start of your outing, try not to get stuck in there with a couple of fat business men or you’ll be in trouble.
For more information
For lots more of my photos from the event see here
NB. In the interests if integrity, this was a complimentary showcase of Smiths’ wine, beef and terrace – I would like to say a big thank you to the Smith’s team and @nataliem100 for the invite and a very memorable evening.