London Uncorked: Smithys

Lindsey
By Lindsey Last edited 96 months ago
London Uncorked: Smithys
The restaurant area with horseshoes on the wall to remind you of its history
The restaurant area with horseshoes on the wall to remind you of its history
Browsing the wine list
Browsing the wine list
Asparagus, Hollandaise and a perfect poached egg
Asparagus, Hollandaise and a perfect poached egg
Lentil and stilton lasagne
Lentil and stilton lasagne
What to look for when you're trying to find it
What to look for when you're trying to find it
That pubby bit
That pubby bit
The wine cellar
The wine cellar

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.

Smithy's is at 15-17 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HY. Just off Kings Cross Road.

Oenophiles, browse more London Uncorked entries.

Last Updated 19 May 2010