Located in the shadows of the market, Smithfield Bar & Grill has no excuse for providing anything but top-notch meat. And it does. From a variety of cuts and weigths -- includind a distinctly unlocal filet of Japanese Kobe beef for an eye-popping £50 -- we opted for an 8oz fillet (£14.50) and a 10oz sirloin (£13.50). Both came in juicy red, accompanied by tangy horseradish mash (£2.50 and almost as good as my home-made version!), classic rocket and parmesan salad (£3.50) and two dinky jugs of peppercorn sauce (£1.50 each). A taste comparison proved that the sirloin has a stronger, meatier flavour whilst the fillet had a nicer, melt-in-the-mouth texture. We washed the steaks down with a passable bottle of French red (£11.50) and tap water, in defiance of the waitress who tried to get us to order the mineral stuff before we'd even had a chance to sit down at the table! The service was friendly, though they did ask if everyhing was OK far too many times. The venue itself is dark and stylish, with cute black leather booths and a bigger, whiter restaurant section round the corner. The point of the place is clearly meat, but there is a good selection of fishy dishes and salads as well. The cocktail menu looked impressive but we sadly got their too late for the until-7pm happy hour. We will definitely be back, but only with one of the 2-for-1 offers which crop up regularly on www.toptable.co.uk and are also available with the www.tastelondon.co.uk card (first visit only). Otherwise all the side orders and sauces do add up, making it a bit overpriced.
Smithfield Bar & Grill, 2-3 West Smithfield, EC1A 9JX, Tel 0870 442 2541; Tube: Barbican
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