When you are situated next to one of the largest wholesale meat market in Europe, you surely know what you will be ordering for your main course.
Although deciding which restaurant to choose might be an issue, as there are a wide range of options dotted around smithfield market. The grill on the market might not be your first option with its rather unassuming, understated white entrance. That definitely fits well with their restaurant motto “Solid, honest and simple proper food. Job done.”
There is an informal bar area at the front with comfortable black leather couches which are designed to make you feel instantly at home. Even when you move to the main dining area at the back, it’s a restaurant you immediately feel relaxed in: it’s elegant yet understated. The colours are calming: light brown, cream and white, the wood and naked brickworks are easy on the eye.
You half expect the menu to be short but you would be very wrong. Yes they cook the food in a simple, non-fussy way but the options are endless. They range from a 100% beef burger to a wagyu fillet steak, there are 6 types of salads, 13 types of starters and if steak doesn’t take your fancy, they have main courses ranging from chicken kiev to a grilled 2lb lobster.
For starters we opted to try their chicken and bacon caesar salad and wine and cream sauce Scottish mussels. What is extremely striking is the honest portion sizes. Their £6.50 starter salad portion would be main course in any other restaurant. The mussels were so flavoursome in its bowl of sauce, we had to request for more bread to soak up the sauce. Both the lettuce and the mussels were so fresh, you might suspect new spitafields and billingsgate market have moved next door.
What is particularly commendable is their best of British menu, which highlights a different breed of British beef each month. When we visited it was the Redman Limousin breed and it is supplied to them from independent single breed farmers. The meat had a fantastic deep red colour, was well marbled and tasted extremely juicy and tender. If you are visiting with a group of guests, they have great steak sharing options like the tomahawk or club steak.
What did surprise us during our visit was the stunning seafood they offered as well. You wouldn’t expect anything less than perfection for their steaks but seafood? The lobster thermidor we tried was as superb as you will find anywhere else in London. The lobster was meaty, the texture was firm and the sauce complemented rather than overpowered the dish.
They have an excellent list of classic desserts like sticky toffee pudding or even liquid desserts, but it would take an enormous appetite to venture into the sweet side of the menu if you managed to tackle the main courses that we had conquered. Their wine list is as varied as their food menu, prices range from under £5 for a glass of their house wine to £180 for a bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee Brut NV. You can enjoy a relatively inexpensive meal at the Grill on the Market or come and indulge in the finer things in life for a corporation celebration, there is most definitely something for everyone here.