Walking through deserted Smithfield Market at night can all seem a bit eerie until you suddenly come across the comforting lights of Bird of Smithfield. It really does stand out, in a Georgian Townhouse on a quiet, empty street and looks so cosy and welcoming. We had been invited tonight as guests to try the new menu from head Chef Tommy Boland. We walked in to the downstairs bar which was lively and relaxing at the same time. It looked like a great place to spend an evening drinking cocktails but we were heading to the upstairs dining room for dinner.
The dining room had a lovely cosy atmosphere and everything was lit by candlelight. We were shown to our table by the window and offered the wine list. The prices weren’t cheap (not many bottles under £30) but we ordered a bottle of the Biutiful Malbec (£36) from Mendoza, Argentina before taking a look at the food menu.The waitress explained the menu and showed us a few new dishes that the chef had just added. She asked if we had any food intolerances and when I explained mine she went off to the kitchen to check the ingredients with the chef. She came back shortly after and explained the dishes that would be suitable for me on the menu.
In so many restaurants these days, you’re never quite sure that they’ve understood what you can and can’t eat or whether the waiter has actually taken it seriously. At Bird of Smithfield I felt very comfortable choosing from the waitress’ suggestions. She put me completely at ease that she had checked all the ingredients out with the chef and that my selection would be suitable for my diet. They could adapt a number of dishes for me and there were a few that I could eat outright.
The style was Modern British with French influences and was really new and different. For my starter I picked one of the new dishes on the menu that looked very intriguing. It was the Slow Cooked Duck Egg with crushed pumpkin, shaved chestnut and truffle butter (6.00). It usually comes with an artichoke crunch but as this element wasn’t gluten-free they made me a version without it. Dan went for the Roasted Foie Gras with sweet and sour raisin, almond crumble, plum Sake glaze and green apple (£13.50).
We sat back to enjoy the Malbec and wait for our starters. The waitress then appeared with the bread basket and a duo of butters to try. The seaweed butter sounded very different so I had a taste. It was salty and tangy and absolutely delicious!
The Malbec was un-oaked with spicy dark fruits and hints of tobacco and liquorice. A nice bottle that would go well with the Foie Gras and our main courses.
Soon the starters arrived and they looked absolutely beautiful! The presentation was stunning and everything looked too good to eat!. I cut into my egg and the yolk oozed out I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Slow Cooked Egg before but it was a treat. The yolk was not runny or firm, I guess the way to describe it would be sticky. It had all the flavour of a runny yolk without any of the chalkiness of a cooked yolk. The truffle butter, pumpkin and chestnut shavings gave a sweet earthiness to the dish and the microherbs on the top provided freshness against the richness of the yolk. I can see why the dish would usually have the artichoke crunch as it needed some texture but that’s my fault for not being able to eat the dish in its entirety!
Dan’s Foie Gras was fantastically cooked. It was melt in your mouth with a slight caramelisation of the Plum Sake on the outside. He said this was his favourite bit! The crunch from the almond crumble and the sweetness of the grapes cut through the rich fattiness of the Foie Gras and lifted the dish. Delicious starters that set the tone for a wonderful meal!
Next up were the main courses, Dan had ordered the Roasted Sirloin of Beef but unfortunately they had just run out. He went with his second choice, which in fact, happened to be my first choice! We both had the Breast of Guinea Fowl with crushed Root Vegetables, Agen Prune, Sprouts and Roasting Juices (£22.00). The Guinea Fowl was perfectly cooked, moist and tender and with a crispy skin. Just slightly gamier than chicken it went really well with the root vegetables and the sweet earthiness of the chestnuts. Not being a huge fan of sprouts I was delighted to find they were one of my favourite parts of the dish. I think they must’ve been roasted in horseradish as there was a delicate heat to them which completely changed the flavour. Definitely something I’m going to have to try at home!
Next up we were offered the dessert menu. Feeling fairly full, we opted for a cheese plate and Dan went for a coffee. Had it not been a weeknight I might have been tempted by the delicious dessert wines and ports on offer!The cheese plate came out and I was surprised to find a blue goat’s cheese on there. Along with a hard cheddar and a dolcelatte, they were all so different that they provided a nice contrast to each other! The goat’s cheese was definitely my favourite. I’m going to have to look out for it now that I know it exists!
Feeling full we headed downstairs to grab our coats and saw that the cocktail bar was still in full swing. Bird of Smithfield actually has two bars, the main cocktail one and the Birdcage downstairs. Along with the public dining room there is also a private dining room on the second floor. To top it all off they also have a summer roof terrace with views over Smithfield Market there is plenty more for us to experience. Delicious food, a welcoming atmosphere and a roof terrace for the summer? Count me in!
Bird of Smithfield I’ll be back for those cocktails!
26 Smithfield St
020 7559 5100