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Restaurant review: The Grill on the Market, Smithfields, EC1

11:54 07 March 2013

Different cuts from myriad cow breeds are available Pic: James Brown

Different cuts from myriad cow breeds are available Pic: James Brown

James Brown 93ft

In its previous incarnation, The Grill on The Market was all black leather, smoked glass and huge hunks of deliciously cooked meat.

Meat is the order of the day at the Gill on the Market Pic: James BrownMeat is the order of the day at the Gill on the Market Pic: James Brown

Possibly in a bid to differentiate it from other steak houses in the area, the owners have now re-launched the place with a much more homely feel.

Wood furnishings abound and the (fairly) loud background music help to create a more laid-back atmosphere than before.

The menu looks reassuringly similar though; plenty of grills, burgers and seafood and I daresay the prices have dropped a touch. Either way, £22 for a fillet steak in the city is pretty good going. They’ve also launched a few initiatives – the bubbly weekend brunch with unlimited champagne in particular looks rather tempting.

We visited at night though and so set about the cocktails; demolishing an excellent Dirty Harry martini and a bellini, slightly lacking in presentation, before ordering.

The decor has changed from slick to homely Pic: James BrownThe decor has changed from slick to homely Pic: James Brown

Disappointingly the oysters weren’t available, but that gave us the chance to try the beautiful king prawns, big shell on beasts in a pot of decadent garlic butter.

We also had the cheese souffle, which was a little denser than expected but tasty nonetheless.

More seafood disappointment on the mains - the Dover sole had run out - but luckily the Grill specialises in steak. As well as the standard fillet, which was great, different speciality cuts are available from week to week.

My longhorn steak was full of flavour, marbled meat, great texture and cooked to perfection.

Sauce-wise the peppercorn was good and tangy, while the bearnaise was a bit bland and lacked the required acid punch.

The pick of the sides were the bean with shallots – tender and tangy.

For pud, the chocolate fudge cake was dense and delicious, while the creme brule was a much more refined affair; the sweetness reigned in by the fruit compote.

It’s hard to say the refurb has made the place noticably better, but the new down-to-earth angle certainly makes for an unintimidating meal.

And, barring some minor niggles the steaks are still top-notch and well priced to boot – as long as you steer clear of the Wagyu beef.

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