It's no secret, we love wine (drinking and eating in general, actually). This month we went in search of Kings Cross actual "hidden gem" Smithy's Wine Bar & Restaurant.
Based in former stables of the General Omnibus Company, Smithy's has been vexing squiffy people unable to follow A-Z or GPS instructions around an ever changing Kings Cross for many years. Established 35 years ago, it recently returned to independent hands melding wine bar, charming restaurant and jolly decent pub under one expansive roof.
Smithy's wine list is satisfyingly browsable to the lay person. It lists wines under general headings "elegant, refined and fabulous" for example and groups similar styles together (sauvignons, pinot noirs etc) rather than baffling with vineyards and vintages. There's a good selection by the glass, starting from a very reasonable £3.65, with most around the £4 or £5 mark. Bottles start at £14.50 with most between £16-22.
Our favourite glass was a Pinot Grigio blush which tasted like summer but we tasted our way through a Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc with a "rubber cheese" finish (a good thing, we think), a Languedoc Pinot Noir, a crisp Chilean Sauvignon and a "juicy, fresh and fruity" Argentinian Shiraz. To ensure we didn't get totally sloshed, we also chose wisely from Smithy's seasonal menu, giving the thumbs up to trunk like asparagus covered in hollandaise with a poached egg, a robust tomato and cumin soup with chunky bread, a vegetarian lasagne made with lentils and stilton and pan friend calves liver. To cap it off a warm chocolate cake (not so warm by the time it made it to our table) and a coconut tart made us head for the bar to prevent our trousers splitting.
The pub side of Smithy's is delightfully dim lit with pews, candles and the original stable floor giving it stacks of character. At the bar you'll find a decent selection of real ales: Timothy Taylor, Doombar and Harveys plus European lagers. We went for a digestif detour through their impressive whisky selection, quaffing drams of Oban, Canadian Club and Bushmills.
Smithy's is an all round top place, whether office entertaining, impressing a date, taking the kids for dinner (we sat next to a couple of kids, quite happy with a Smithy's burger and some colouring in) or a quality session of pubbage. Best to book for dining, Tuesdays are particularly busy and Sunday lunch looks ace.
Oenophiles, browse more London Uncorked entries.