Smiths of Smithfield
Beef is the order of the day at this historic venue, opposite the working Smithfield cattle market (the only one in London proper). The former 19th-century meatpacking warehouse was derelict for 40 years before it reopened in 2000 as three stories (plus a roof terrace) of gastronomic excess. Chef-owner John Torode respects organic practices and embraces traditional British food, sprucing it up with Asian and Italian touches in dishes like prawn and macadamia nut risotto, five-spice Chinese duck with bok choy and oyster sauce, and crisp pork belly with mashed potatoes and pesto. The large, informal ground floor serves breakfast all day from 7 a.m. til 5 p.m., when it becomes a bar with a DJ and pours organic beers at the bar. The first-floor Wine Rooms, with a wine list of over 100 bins, serve small plates, including classics such as Scotch egg with salad cream, braised beef shin, and mushroom and red wine pie. The second floor has seated service with brasserie-style food (burgers!), exposed brick walls, and views of the Victorian meat market, while the top floor showcases “rare and organic breed” dishes: crab on toast, milk-fed blackface lamb with mint sauce, and the specialty of the hour—a choice of different aged rare-breed steaks, like the Welsh black sirloin aged 28 days.