The Grill on the Market has been on my list to try ever since I missed the Yelp event there. As the name implies, it’s right on the edge of Smithfield Market (where else would you site a meat-centric place?). The entry is set up as a bar/bistro with some small tables and booths but has plenty of standing room for the post-work crowd while the rear opens up into a more formal sit down restaurant. The staff are pretty friendly and prices are quite reasonable.
What you need to know:
- Steak frites are £15 for lunch and a steak will run you £18-23 for dinner (including chips)
- Fairly extensive cocktail list with some intriguing options
- Seared foie gras starter with ginger is a must have
- Best to call ahead/book during the week but weekends are quiet
- No free bread here – you’ll have to order off the menu if you want to nibble
Food: ★★★☆☆ Service: ★★★★☆ Atmosphere: ★★☆☆☆ Value: ★★★★☆ Overall: ★★★☆☆
The bar here is big enough to provide a spot to gather and the menu diverse enough to keep you interested. That being said, if the sun is shining and it’s not too cold out, the terrace at Bird of Smithfield next door is an excellent option if you don’t mind climbing a few stairs.
What to eat?
Given the grill-focused nature of the place, it seemed wrong not to get a steak. I opted for a small (225g) ribeye for £16 which comes with a side of either chips, baked potato, or buttery mash. I opted for the chips (naturally) which were pretty damn good. Thickly cut with crispy skins and fluffy insides, they were everything you could ask for in a chip. The steak itself was grilled nicely to my requested medium rare with plenty of juicy flavours to enjoy. My main issue was the charcoally crunch to the exterior which beyond pleasantly smoky to “you really should clean the BBQ”. Like a little grit in your mussels, it’s not a deal breaker but just a bit annoying.
The foie gras starter deserves a bit of a shoutout for being truly delicious. The foie gras was seared perfectly to cook it just enough to make it silky without deteriorating into a ball of greasy fat. The garnish of spiced rhubarb and gingerbread had just enough tangy bite to cut through the richness and a novel warming ginger flavour which I found very appealing.
Alex’s steak sandwich and asparagus soup (creamy, but not too creamy) looked and tasted like a pretty good lunch, but it was not steak and therefore inferior.
How about a drink?
Despite being a bit drained from ring shopping, we kept to our no-day drinking rule (why did we ever make that rule?). That being said, the cocktail menu was very tempting with a smokey old fashioned just screaming out to be tested. I’ll have to go back on Friday and sample the bar to report back.
Worth the dosh?
For £16, the steak and chips were quite good value if they can just tweak the grill. Cocktails were are £8 which seems on par with London in general and its immediate competition. I’d be happy to go back if I’m in the area or just craving an affordable steak.
Find Grill on the Market here