Smiths of Smithfield

Thursday became the new Friday a while ago. The fact that I’m excited about being out on a Thursday actually shows my age, but had another reason for looking forward to the evening. Smiths of Smithfield was my destination this evening, and I was looking forward to visiting another eaterie with a formidable reputation.

The first thing that strikes you a out the place is the view. On a clear night you can get a good view of most of the sights of London from here. There appears to be a trend towards slightly less formal dining. The vibe was not stuffy at all, and you fet quite comfortable with your shirtsleeves rolled up.

The bread rolls they served here reminded me of Adam Last-Name-Unknown. They were fantastic, and it was just as well the waiters were paid well to be nice to me. I peppered them with questions. “What’s this tomato bread thing?” “Is that spelt?” “How’d you get the rye so light ?”. They were nice enough, .

I could wax lyrical about the bread, but we were not here for the bread. We were here for the menu From this two things caught my eye, the Chateaubriand and the Longhorn rump. Chateaubriand is tender loin and has very little fat in it, and should be served rare, less fat means the meat dries out faster if you cook it too much. The great British food revival featured Longhorn and ever since I iPlayered that program, I’ve started noticing it everywhere. Heston Blumentahal uses it, and it’s also the meat of choice at the Hawksmoor, steakhouse of legend.

As a starter I chose the grilled foie gras. I thought I’d give it a go. Usually I’m not a fan of foie gras, but I thought that if anywhere had the potential to convince me otherwise it’d be here, and I wasn’t disappointed. I could probably have it again, but only if it as prepared like this, very lightly grilled so that it loses that pungent taste and becomes a bit milder.

The Chateaubriand was something of a melt in your mouth experience. It was very lean, so it was served rare after the briefest introductions to the grill, there is so little fat in it that letting it make love to the grill would probably dry it out. The result is a steak that was very smooth, tender, in that way that makes you smile a quiet, “Hmm.” I am more of a flavour person, and I felt it needed a little bit of sauce to make it perfect, and of the five sauces on offer, the bone marrow went best with the Chateaubriand. This sauce had that chunky meaty quality to it, but it’s not fiery like the pepper sauce so the more gentle flavour complements the tenderness of he meat very well, but I’m getting pretentious with my description.  Chateaubriand + bone marrow sauce = Win.

My reaction to the longhorn rump was not a “Hmm”, but a reverent silence. I couldn’t help thinking, “This is what I wanted the Chateaubriand to taste like”.
I firmly believe you can tell that the foods good when a whole table goes quiet when the food arrives. It had a depth of flavour and a firmness that is exactly what I want from a steak. Served medium rare as it was a much fattier, rump was all about flavour, having the marbling to imbue the meat with that beefy taste.  I didn’t think it needed any sauce at all, and I wolfed it down as is.  If you’re a fan of flavour, rather than texture, this is the steak for you.

I got a good tip out of the kale and anchovy side. Been looking for a way to make kale more intesting and a light anchovy sauce seems like just what im looking for and it rounded my evening, I’d had a good feed and picked up a good cooking tip and missing dessert to make my late train wasn’t so bad.

Meal for three with a bottle of wine came to about £180.

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