Do you ever tire of queuing for pop-up diners that serve dog’s dinners? Or of ‘celebrity’ chefs who make you think: Get me out of here? Then join the club. This club – one that requires no membership – is the opposite of exclusive, and where the staff greet you with smiles. This way, Sir or Madam, we have a comfy seat ready, and your favourite drink. We’ll not tell you about our c-r-a-z-y new concept, or insist we get the table back in an hour. We just want you to come here, have a lovely time and go home happy.
Bird’s five, narrow floors cover the gamut from rooftop bar, smart dining room, lounge bar, private dining room and basement cocktail bar. It’s open from breakfast to dinner, then late into the night. Yet it still feels like a smart, if slightly rus in urbe, members’ club with its well-drilled service, laid-back vibe and Country Living decor.
Chef-proprietor Alan Bird has headed the kitchen at The Ivy and was executive chef at the Soho House Group, so it’s little wonder the menu also reflects a particular kind of modern Britishness. A starter of lightly soused baby vegetables had an intense, earthy flavour of carrot and radish – the very essence of a springtime garden. A deep-fried, breaded egg released its molten centre to cloak the crisp veg.
A buttery small sole was topped with savoury brown shrimps and the slightly bitter leaves of foraged sea beet and sea purslane. Calf’s liver was trimmed into tidy tiles then pan-fried and topped with sage butter, crisped bacon and slow-cooked onions; the simplest flavours are still sometimes the best.
Puddings that nanny would approve of included the irresistible pun of Bird’s custard with rhubarb; all that’s missing is the soft slipper for staying up late past bedtime, which is easy to do with such biddable service.
When I arrived, the restaurant manager was briefing the staff for the evening. I listened as they told the staff about slight tweaks to the printed menu, who the expected guests were and any other business of the day. I felt in safe hands. You will too.
By Guy Dimond
|Venue name:||Bird of Smithfield||Contact:|
26 Smithfield Street
|Opening hours:||Lunch: Mon-Fri noon-3pm. Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10pm. Ground floor bar: breakfast served Mon-Fri 8am-noon. Bar menu served Mon-Fri noon-10pm.|
|Price:||Main courses £12-£27. Around £100 for two with drinks|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
4.1 / 5
- 5 star:3
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
Food is a personal preference, so please take my experience with a pinch of salt. The overall feeling was that the menu was laboured and the service was poor. The shepherd's pie was, in essence, wholly fine. On a nicer note, the bread and wine were good. We ate on a Saturday night and it was pretty empty.
Had a lovely meal at Bird Of Smithfield last night. Fully recommend it if you fancy good food/wine. The decor is fantastic too.
Now, I am just going to come right out and say this now, the service at Bird was slow - not painfully slow but it was noticeable at a few points during dinner. However, the wait staff, location, atmosphere, food, booking process and cocktails certainly outweighed the timings! Tuesday evening saw the sun peeking out just as we arrived around 7pm and on reading 'Roof Terrace' in vinyl on the front door, we went straight up! Bird is built over 5 floors - a basement lounge, casual dining/drinking, the restaurant, private dining and then the roof terrace - all in the heart of Farringdon looking over Smithfield market. It is rare to find a good terrace in central London and while this one is small, it is gorgeous. Glass fronted with comfy seating and a small bar - I almost felt like I was in Ibiza (if only the sun had been blazing!). We kicked off with some great cocktails - Prosecco with pomegranate foam and a Long Stroll for myself as well as some small bites of cod goujons, beetroot crisps with onion relish and quail scotch eggs (yum!). These worked well for appetiser substitutions so when we sat down to our table on the first floor, we went straight to main courses...and sides! Make sure you know what the specials are before you get too stuck into the menu which is what happened to me. I had my heart set on having the duck when the waiter then introduced a main special of grilled plaice with wilted spiced spinach and a black pudding "relish" - sold! The mothership had the same with a side of peas & carrots which was stunning - yellow, orange and purple carrots mixed with shelled and un-shelled peas. The rest of the table had the Sheppard's Pie with beautiful whipped potatoes piped on top accompanied by a small ramekin of peas and your own mini gravy jug. It is small touches like this which I think can make all the difference to a meal. We had all eyed the pudding menu at the start so were pretty sure what we were going to have...but then came the specials...a Rhubarb Trifle with Birds Custard and a Scottish oat sweetcake with raspberries and creme anglais. The mothership & SB got one each. JAM was having to work late so had only just joined us at this point and opted for the welsh rarebit while my cousin & hub went for choc ice cream and a scoop of wild strawberry sorbet (homemade of course). I will always go for a pudding which has salted caramel and the Crackling Chocolate Cup came up trumps - dark and milk chocolate mouse layered with salted caramel and topped with popping candy whipped cream and two mini cookies on the side. Needless to say I was pretty happy with my choice. Bird just opened (they don't even have a full website yet) so perhaps the slight delays on the service front were due to the team still trying to get things right. I can't fault the food or drinks. This is a great all around place. You could go for lunch, brunch on Sundays, after work drinks, just dinner, drinks and dinner or even late drinks as the bar is open until 1am and since each floor is quite intimate, it makes for a really nice casual yet buzzy atmosphere. You should definitely check it out, but certainly not if you are in a rush!
Absolutely perfect. Service and food spot on and such good value. Bottle of wine, 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 sides, plus bread, water and service for £81! I would recommend this place to anyone! Much better than a lot of Michelin starred places I've eaten in cheaper. 5 stars!