SMITHS of Smithfield on the 2nd Floor: The Dining Room

SMITHS of Smithfield on the 2nd Floor: The Dining Room We last reviewed SMITHS’, specifically the  top-rated  top floor restaurant, in January last year, so it was interesting to come back and check out the slightly less posh-feeling restaurant on the floor below. The whole building is metro industrial; the double-height rooms on each floor with the exposed pipe work feel vast but not cold because they are cheered up by the red-tones of upholstery, the orange of the bare brick, and the clever warm lighting.  Through the large windows, you get a great view of the top of Smithfield Market … [Read more...]

Roman Cuisine in Central Street

It’s a funny place, the Old Street area. Part City, part not, part workspace, part residential, part definitely an area, part just passing through.  It’s unisex bathrooms and recherché music and office blocks with restaurants in them.  I’m not complaining – why not try to be all things to all people.  But it has to suit. We were guests at Palatino, a newly-opened, all-day, Roman-based Italian eatery from Chef Stevie Parle (Dock Kitchen, Craft London, Sardine and Rotorino).  Palatino is in Central Street, north of Old Street and almost opposite St Lukes Community Centre. Now, I … [Read more...]

Cabotte – a Burgundian treat near the Guildhall

Cabotte is a very classy French restaurant near the Guildhall and thus only a short walk from the Barbican.  Walk through the Guildhall Yard, turn left into Gresham Street and it is about 20 yards down on the right hand side.  It has a very unassuming and modest entrance, but that belies the attractive décor inside. Cabotte opened in September last year and is the creation of two master sommeliers: Gearoid Devaney and Xavier Rousset. Gearoid Devaney was born in Belfast and started his wine journey in London in 1997.  He rose to become a head sommelier at only 23 and Master Sommelier in … [Read more...]

Our City Boot is Back!

It seems like only last month that we had the closing down week at the old City Boot on Moorfields.  All is well, though, because our City Boot has been reincarnated on the Highwalk between the Museum and Alban Gate.  Like the old location, not everyone is going to find it easily so let’s get the word out. Similarly to our old haunt, there is a long bar in the centre of the venue with masses of room for the drinkers.  It is a peculiarity of mine that I felt very at home with the leather chairs and dark panelling in the old pub.  The new City Boot maintains the style of a gentleman’s club … [Read more...]

Chez Mal – Nice food, but timing could have been better

A return visit to the Malmaison’s restaurant in Charterhouse Square.  This has gone through various incarnations and has effectively come back full circle, Chez Mal (its new title) being something of a resurrection of the old Brasserie Malmaison.  Indeed the plush menu covers still carry the old Brasserie Malmaison title. The Malmaison restaurant in the past has attracted a fair amount of both praise and criticism but my own experiences there have invariably been good in terms of well-cooked and well-presented food, accompanied by decent service.  In terms of mid-price hotel … [Read more...]

A Sunday Lunch at The Jugged Hare

Perhaps apologies are due for returning to the Jugged Hare yet again, but we were looking for a venue for a Sunday Lunch – and looking for best London Sunday lunches on the internet, The Jugged Hare, reckoned to be one of London’s best gastropubs,  was frequently one of the venues mentioned.  Given it’s about a 2 minute walk from my flat, and we were going on to watch the finals of the Young Musician of the Year in the afternoon at the Barbican Centre, it was the ideal location.  When we’ve eaten there before it has always been in the evening, but never at lunchtime and particularly not for a … [Read more...]

Osteria: The new upmarket Barbican Centre restaurant

The new name for the more upmarket of the Barbican Centre’s Restaurants, Osteria, means “typically a simple or inexpensive Italian restaurant”, but we know better, don’t we; that spot on the second floor is always the location for the posh place and while pricing is perhaps reasonable for the area – it can’t really be classified as inexpensive – at least not on the main a la carte menu.  There are less costly lunch and pre-theatre menus available though - check the website for details: Even so, if you haven’t had the opportunity to dine there, yet, we have to say the … [Read more...]

Angler  – A Terrace for All Seasons

Readers of Barbican Life will be aware that I rate the Angler sea food (mostly) restaurant on the top floor of the South Place Hotel, midway between Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations, and about a 5 minute walk from my flat, as perhaps the best in the area, but may not know that there is a slightly more casual dining option available on the terrace outside the main 7th floor restaurant.  Fine for the warmer weather one might say, but nowadays, with a retractable roof over and removable fully transparent side walls, with electric patio heaters it now provides an all-weather option for year … [Read more...]

A Breakfast at Bird

In the olden days, if one wanted a hearty breakfast in London one would usually have to choose between hotels catering for those staying overnight (often quite expensive), transport type caffs serving early starting blue collar workers for the most part, or - for the most substantial breakfasts - head to the Smithfield Market area where a number of restaurants and pubs catered for hungry meat deliverers and porters coming off shift after a hard day’s night!  But now a substantial number of much more upmarket restaurants are climbing on the breakfast bandwagon – the staff are often there early … [Read more...]

Café du Marché – standing the test of time

In the Clerkenwell area we are used to restaurants coming and going as they fall in and out of fashion, but the Café du Marché, down a narrow alley off Charterhouse Square, next to the Malmaison Hotel, seems to go on and on – virtually unchanged in its popularity among those who know of it.  It’s not easy to find if you are unaware of its exact location and it certainly picks up no trade from people passing by, spotting it and deciding to give it a try.  The narrow alley is a dead end, so no passing trade, but it makes for a location which one could envisage as being in the middle of rural … [Read more...]