Now owned by Young’s, this popular multi-level British food and drink hub has been given a spruce up. But, comfortingly, not too much has changed. The ground floor is still a raucous bar that spills on to the street; a more serene cocktail bar sits above that; then a medium-priced restaurant is on the second floor. Finally, there’s this: the third-(top)-floor room, dedicated to fine dining and with a lovely outdoor terrace.
Across the road, behind Smithfield Market, St Paul’s and The Shard loom high on the skyline and silently scrutinise each course set before you. For the most part they’d approve. Delicate Orkney scallops with air-dried ham were out-muscled by a gala pie, runny egg and all, teamed with the crispest beer-pickled vegetables and a chunky, tart piccalilli. The meat, as you’d expect, comes from the market, and while the fillet was excellent, the sirloin was tough, with over 30 percent fat. Inexcusable. Though generous sides (especially the fries) helped fill the gap. As did the excellent puds: both rhubarb parfait and blueberry panna cotta coming joint first in a race to find the star dish of the meal.