Still digesting a fantastic evening out at John Torode's Smithfield restaurant. We went on a Sat night, which, as this is on the edge of the City, was fairly quiet.
The room is smart, with a nice buzz of conversation from the dinners, but more fine-dining that the other floors. The first triumph is the view, over Smithfield market, with the lit dome of St Pauls, the purple lighting of the Heron Tower and the Shard in the distance. Jockey for a seat facing the window, if you can.
The service was effortless, attentive, charming and witty. There just enough to keep everything topped up, but not enough to get in the way, Good suggestions - should we got with horseradish or green peppercorn sauce? why not, have both, we were advised.
So, the food. My starter was a tartare of mackerel with a chilled avocado mousse and beetroot. My companions had chilli squid, dressed Devon crab with apple foam and the scallops, but I definitely won on the food front. I chose the dish because I wanted to see if those flavours would work together, and boy did they, I could easily have done a second portion, except the dish was pretty generous in itself.
For the main, myself and one of my dining companions tag-teamed the Shorthorn Cote de Beouf for two. Cooked to perfection, and a portion that verged on the gluttonous, we managed to work our way through the 1kg of top-quality steak with chips, creamed spinach and a helping hand from our dinner companions. The accompanying sauces were spot on, and the green peppercorn deserves a special mention for adding a perfect peppery tang to the steak.
A bottle of Peachy Canyon Zinfandel - recommended by the waiter - was, reasonably priced and a well-judged accompaniment to the mains. Enough body to land a gentle punch but not too much, with hints of cream, vanilla and tobacco in an aftertaste that worked particularly well with the steak.
It's not cheap, but for the quality and generosity of the portions, it's well worth a visit. I'll