Last night MrS and I went to Smiths of Smithfield for dinner. We went on a bit of a recce. Well, I did. MrS has been before, and had suggested recently we could take No2 there for his 18 birthday at the end of November, so he suggested we check it out. By pure chance it was also exactly 9 months since we first met.
We intend to eat in the Dining Room that night, on the second floor, but last night we ate on the “Top Floor”. I still find it strange that places are so busy on a “school night” here. As we walked from St Pauls to Smithfield people were spilling out on to the pavements from pubs, enjoying the last bit of September sun. The restaurant itself was busy too. If it was Norwich on a Wednesday it would be dead.
We both started with the Salt and Pepper Squid with garlic crisps and chilli sauce. It was the best squid I’ve had for a while, not rubbery and not deep fried. The chilli sauce had some kick! The butter that came with the bread had salt crystals, which MrS fell on with delight. It’s his favourite thing and unsalted butter is never to be entertained. For main course MrS had the sirloin and I had the fillet, both aged for 28 days. I had chips (natch) and he had chard (CHARD?). And some of my chips. I knew that would happen…The steak was melt in the mouth tender.
MrS ordered an Argentinian Malbec to go with it which was fabulous (by the way, it’s worth noting that 9 months and 1 day ago I didn’t touch red wine…). It was a really dense wine, lots of fruit flavours – black cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry and even blueberry. It was also, we found out at the end of the evening, the wrong one. We had ordered an Argentinian Malbec for sure, and we got one. Only the one we had ordered was half the price… oh well. MrS says it was worth it.
We had quite a long hiatus between the main and dessert, there were several larger parties in, but we did finally get to look at the menu. Unusually for me I decided to go for the chocolate torte. Even though I love chocolate itself I very rarely have chocolate desserts as they’re usually too sickly. The waitress said to me “How hungry are you?” I must have looked blank and I replied that I wasn’t very hungry at all. She laughed and said “ I’m usually right about these things, I don’t think you will want the chocolate torte if you are full enough already.” So I decided to go for a sorbet. MrS went for Elderflower Pannacota with Rhubarb.
Whilst we were waiting for our desserts to arrive a plate of the chocolate torte went by our table. It was huge. The couple were sharing it and they still didn’t finish it! Anyway, dessert was just an excuse to enjoy a glass of The Welder, a south African Chenin Blanc from Glen Carlou. We’d recently had this at the Wildebeest in Norwich(although that time we enjoyed a whole bottle with dessert!). It’s not so teeth-achingly sweet as sauternes can be and is a mix of apricots, green apple, peach and pear. I personally could drink a whole bottle myself…
The food was fantastic and Smith’s has a great view – eating at seven meant we watched the sky change over the course of the evening from blue, to pink-stained sunset to night . The menu is, as any good restaurant’s is these days, short and simple. The staff were pleasant and friendly but weren’t overly attentive. I know too much attention can be annoying however I think they might have gone a little too far the other way, in their intention to leave us to enjoy our Malbec they overlooked the fact that we had been sitting waiting for 45 minutes before getting to see the dessert menu. This didn’t spoil our evening in the least though.
Oh and I did get some chocolate. The truffles accompanying MrS’s coffee were to die for.