A Proper, No Nonsense Mixed Grill Overlooking London's Historic Meat Market
Skipping straight to the mains isn't necessarily the sign of a bad menu. It mightn't mean you're not hungry either. Could just be that you've a despicable past of ordering a starter before floundering helplessly in the jaw-aching melee of half an abattoir's worth of mixed grill — and that finally, you've learned to adhere to that eyes-bigger-than-stomach adage. And so, straight to work on Smith of Smithfield's platter of flesh.
As with all mixed grills, this is less of a meal, more a showcase. A dream team of plump, herby sausage, hefty slab of salty bacon (god we want this in every fry up), hangar steak, charcoaled lamb chops and gooey bone marrow (spiced to taste not a million miles away from haggis). We initially assume the watercress is for colour, but its verdant bitterness is welcome in the ensuing chomp sesh. The 'hen's egg'... well, that's just an egg, isn't it? Nicely runny though. The steak isn't quite as tender and buttery as it is in our favourite Portuguese restaurant, which debits this mixed grill a point. Nonetheless, the fleshy ensemble is a remarkable, unpretentious success — tastes and textures bouncing wonderfully off one another.
Yes, it's £26 — but as we say, unless you're Adam Richman, you won't need a starter. Plus the restaurant's roof-line view of Horace Jone's cathedral of meat, Smithfield Market, adds a seasoning of Londony heritage.
Our dining partner (who we've all-but forgotten about in our carnivorous quest) opts for the cottage pie — which swaps out the usual meat for pink, melt-in-mouth strands of salt beef, and generous slices of king oyster mushrooms. With a topping of crusted mustard mash, it's another triumph. We dutifully mop up the leftover strands of beef and every last juicy mushroom. And then order a Snickers cheesecake. Yeah, we haven't learned our lesson at all.
The Grill, Smiths of Smithfield, open daily
Last Updated 23 August 2018