Monday, June 15, 2009

The stakes in May are always high

It’s clearly a very popular place if just starting the word ‘Smith…’ can get a taxi to take you to ‘Smiths of Smithfields’ without need for further elaboration. The problem is that on this May evening we weren’t looking for the ever popular Smiths of Smithfield, fondly known as SOS (and yes, I am over one month late with this post). We were looking for Smithfield Bar and Grill – confusingly also in Smithfield Market. We had a dinner reservation there to celebrate 18 years since we first met, a date to dine out we keep each year because it makes this old lady feel young and foolish at heart.

The Smithfield bar and grill is owned by the Blackhouse Grills and it was recommended by a fair few people in V’s office. So reservation duly made in advance, a day of work complete we met up and travelled to it together. The entrance is a wood paneled bar area with some booth and bar chair seating, large chandeliers and thumping music to aid the ambience of an evening of drinking. The restaurant portion is set back and right through two open rectangular arches and the ambience is decidedly different considering what a short distance lie between. The walls are mainly brick and the walls are adorned with empty black frames. I saw more than one person get up to check that they were indeed empty and not just an illusion of the light. Three of the walls had built in leather booths while the centre of the room was all tables and chairs. Soft lighting and music a total contrast to the front of the house, it was a pleasant atmosphere to unwind from a hectic work week. And the correct volume to be able to talk.

We shared a Thai fishcake starter with sweet chilli sauce (good not great) with a basket of warm bread (again good not great), V drank wine (excellent, his words not mine) while I indulged in a chocolate milkshake (good; I am indeed young AND foolish). And for mains we ordered the chateaubriand for two with peppercorn sauce, sides of French beans, creamed spinach, honey glazed carrots and chips (which were fab). Everything was served beautifully and the waiting staff was neither overly intrusive nor ever too far. The meat was tender, flavourful and done to perfection. Nobody tried to rush us even though the restaurant was filled to the brim in the few hours we sat there. In summary I would say it was not the most inexpensive meal but it was good value for money. It was nice to eat a meal that showed how simple food could be well done. I would recommend it and I would go back.

The year and day we first met May was a sweltering summer month in Calcutta – I suspect like every summer before or since in Calcutta. In London all these years later it is still spring in May, the sun and wind and rain tussling to give the greenery their best chance to grow lush and people their best chance to awaken from the slumber and depression that the dark winter days can leave behind. This fine evening it was still light when we left, the first of the long days of summer. Year nineteen, off to a fabulous start.

The Smithfield Bar & Grill: 2-3 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9JX. Tel: 0207 2460 900

1 comment:

  1. OK, now i am scratching my head, trying to figure out when HG and I more occasion to celebrate. Love the idea.