Here's a continuation of my quest to search for non pretentious, interesting and of course delicious food across London. I usually give those big Michelin dudes a miss since they've already enough media attention and cash flow for the moment, time to search for underdogs worth supporting. However, this time I chose to try out John Torode's Smiths of Smithfield (SOS) in trendy Clerkenwell, a place famous for nice pubs, bars and good nightlife. Seems like a perfect place to bring a friend who loves meat or a good steak.
John Torode is a well known food writer and TV presenter, and more recently one of the judges of the chef spotting talent show in BBC Two called "Masterchef Goes Large". Born in Australia, he is acknowledged as one of the player who introduced Australasian food in the UK. I would say he marketed himself as a meat specialist, sourcing fresh quality produces from farmers all of UK.
Talk about price discrimination eh? This guy is probably the first I've seen that applies this economic principle to restaurants! Anyways, its good to book in advance and they do online booking which is handy. Up to 2nd floor we went, and for starters we chose something true to the Australasian theme, which is Lucky Squid, Chilli Jam and Chinese Broccoli. With a hint of hot, salty yet sweet spiciness of sambal, fresh squid with lightly blanched crunchy leaves - done to perfection. Apologies for the bad lighting of the photo, ambiance was dark and I don't Photoshop them, its as original as it gets :)
But yes I shall digress from going into too much details into that, but it is just so disappointing with a place capable of offering so much more ends up failing in hypocrisy. This is why time and time again I feel that all these publicity sometimes has adverse effects on a good chef, breeding complacency and being too business-like, starting to lose the very key passion or role of an excellent chef - to prepare and share a good culinary creations. This is not a generalization however, there are some level headed chefs out there that maintain or even increase the level of their work with pride, upon the recognition for their work.
To end things with a less serious note, I saw the name of this random lane that made the dinner memorable for sure :P
Smiths of Smithfield
67-77 Charterhouse Street