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Bird of Smithfield

chris tubbs
chris tubbs
Bird of Smithfield: "Bob Marley's birthday is coming up... come and celebrate at Bird with reggae playing all evening and raise a glass to the man!"
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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

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Bird of Smithfield says
Alan Bird took flight from the Ivy and set up Bird of Smithfield in May 2012, set within an old Georgian townhouse, and spread over five floors. A home away from home, a members' club with no membership... Bird welcomes guests with delicious, homemade British classics with a twist and naughtily good cocktails. Open from 7.30am for breakfast, through till midnight and later some nights, and live music on Friday nights in their basement cocktail bar - The Birdcage, which is also available for private hire. Their ground floor bar is open all day long, with an all day bar menu, including mouthwateringly good burgers with smoked brisket. The restaurant on the 1st floor serves an a la carte menu and is available to book for lunch or dinner, Monday to Friday and dinner on Saturdays. There's also a beautiful private room available to hire exclusively on the 2nd floor, and a roof terrace up at the top. A venue for all occasions - casual or corporate lunches and dinners, birthdays, engagement evenings, weddings, live music, DJs, two-for-one cocktails, meetings and more...
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Venue name: Bird of Smithfield
Address: 26 Smithfield Street
Opening hours: Breakfast 7.30pm – 11am (Saturdays from 10am – 3pm) Lunch Midday – 3pm Dinner 6pm – 10pm. Bar Menu available ALL DAY.
Transport: Tube: Farringdon
Price: Main courses £12-£27. Around £100 for two with drinks

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Laura Grimsdell

Had a lovely meal at Bird Of Smithfield last night. Fully recommend it if you fancy good food/wine. The decor is fantastic too.

The Londonette

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!

Frances C

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!