I have been tweeting with @SOSrestaurant all Sunday morning. This is a good thing, as we are tweeting about the great meal I had there last night. I called one of their steaks “almost erotic,” which I supposed grabbed their attention.
I’ll leave that to your imagination.
The Top Floor at Smiths of Smithfields is a grown up restaurant featuring: 1) a killer view of the City, 2) a sharp, crisp dining room with a well-curated soundtrack and 3) posh loos that rival some of the best designer bogs in Moscow. (Restaurants in the Russian capital put enormous effort into loo design. Go figure.) Oh, and yes, then there is the food.
We’ll get there in a second. The night started slowly.
I have a friend who likes steak. He and I are slowly making the rounds of London’s steakhouses. We also like vodka gimlets, a simple cocktail of vodka, lime juice (typically Rose’s, but whatever) and a bit of sugar.
This steak-and-gimlet habit has taught my friend and me many things. Among them is this: no one in London has any idea what a vodka gimlet is.
“A what?” came the first response when I ordered my drink, still waiting for my friend to arrive at Smiths.
Another waiter came back. “A vodka and gin?”
And finally, a third waiter came to ask, just one more time: “A vodkaaaa…..?
Me: “Gimlet. Gim. Let. Gimmmlet.”
The linguistic exercise worked. A few moments later, a vodka gimlet, bang on the money, appeared at my table.
Clearly, the bartender has internet access.
The rest of the meal unfurled gracefully. Prior to going to Smiths – I had been there a few times, ages ago – I had quick look at tripadvisor and saw that Smiths had taken some hard knocks for its service. If that was true, corrective measures are everywhere. The service was personalised, attentive.
The meat at Smiths is among the best of the London steak scene. As the restaurant is across the street from Smithfield Market, London’s primary wholesale meat market, anything less would be unforgivable.
It’s easier to screw up the rest of the meal, a trap Smiths sidesteps. Smiths creamed spinach is lively and textured, not the usual wet-dishtowel slop. The sweet, acidic tomato-and-onion salad stood above the packing material most places put on a plate. A fried squid starter – a cliché waiting to happen – escaped from doom on a carpet of aromatic greens.
Two weak spots: 1) I have had better chocolate fondants from Tesco. 2) If you have waitresses (and waiters, as it happened) with lovely long hair, tell them to wear it pinned up. I have nothing against long hair – it makes me jealous. I do, however, have something against long hair near food. Enough said.
Smith’s Top Floor is expensive. But you can have a version of the experience elsewhere in the restaurant. Smith’s four floors create an entire ecosystem of food and drink. The ground floor is a pub, plain and simple. Walk up one floor, and you’re in a cocktail bar. (Maybe there they know what a gimlet is.) Walk up another floor, and you’re in a wide open, warm dining room with a resoundingly middle-class menu. One more floor and you’re at the top, where the air is just that much thinner.
Yes, there’s a lift.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.