Restaurant review: Bird of Smithfield, Finsbury, EC1
- Credit: Archant
»A new restaurant near Smithfield Market always conjures exciting images of meat, and the well-lauded opening of Bird of Smithfield is no exception.
A stone’s throw from the famous flesh-factory it’s a three-floored beast that seems to go up in market the more stairs you climb, from the laid-back bar, to the restaurant and finally the rather posh private dining on the third floor.
The decor is immaculate – like a swanky house with expensive wallpaper, ceiling mirrors and so on, although the dining room itself looks a touch functional.
But though it all looks high-priced, the menu is pretty reasonable and you can tuck into a main meal for just over a tenner.
And while the portions aren’t huge, the quality is high. Plenty of meat (naturally) plus bits of fish and vegetable.
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We went for a bit of both, kicking off with the steak tartare, which had nice big chunks of good quality mince, with fairly innocuous confit egg, but fiery radish seasoning.
The crab was also good; delicate shredded flesh and smooth avocado and sorrel.
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Back to meat and the Barnsley chop was a big, earthy slab of lamb with nicely char-grilled taste. Served potatoes and peas it was an honest, satisfying, farmyard sort of a dish. The sea trout came with a heap of lovely prawns on top and was initially very nice, but about halfway through the strong fishy flavour of rather viscous bisque and squid cracker got a bit much.
The puddings are mainly straightforward, British affairs, although we found a Cru Virunga chocolate fondant, which was quality. The plum Bakewell, on the other hand, was a bit dry.
I suppose it’s predictable enough, but it’s the meat dishes that star at Bird – and they are very good. Along with the great service, attractive venue and reasonable prices, it should be more than enough to stand out in a fairly restaurant heavy part of town.