January 11th, 2013

The Grill on the Market Review

The Grill on the Market Review

The Grill on the Market couldn't be more appropriately placed than overlooking Smithfield meat market.  Part of the Blackhouse group of bar/restaurants, The Grill on the Market shares the same ethos as its sister establishments 'Solid, honest & simple proper food' which is a pretty good standard to adhere to.  This double fronted bar/restaurant has a clean fresh modern exterior and as you walk through the doors, you're struck by its huge, open bar, with a reception desk immediately in front of you and a scattering of tables and chairs.  As you walk through to the main dining area at the rear, the place seems to go on and on, there's a mix of seating with free standing tables, some well upholstered bench seating with tables and chairs to the sides as well as nice booth seating that lends a feeling of exclusivity to the diners.  There's also a rather nice private dining room should you want that privacy when you're with your fellow diners.  The dining room decor is largely wood cladding, apart from the seating, which gives an overall rustic feel to the place, the odd, strategically placed artefact (like the bovine, horned, skull hanging on the wall near to where I was sat) adds further to create a modern rustic atmosphere.

While we chose our meal we had a glass of fruity, lightly acidic Mass Valley South African Sauvignon blanc and a dish of marinated olives, both good.  We decided to go for the Blackhouse sharing plate as our first course, this gave us samples of four of the starter dishes on the menu.  When it arrived, we wondered whether we'd done the right thing; it was huge, containing two skewers of well seasoned char grilled pepper chicken breast, two good sized chunky fish cakes, which had some great ginger and spring onion going on, a pile of crispy calamari, beautifully tender beneath its crisp crumbly batter and two halves of a duck spring roll, which was packed with a good amount meat among its filling.  In the centre of this plate of goodies were three dips, lemon mayonnaise to go with the squid, sweet chilli for the chicken and fish cakes and a meaty hoi sin to go with spring roll.  It was a big plateful of big flavours, which we both loved.

After a bit of a gap, which we needed after the substantial starter, the mains arrived.  Phillip chose the 200g beef fillet accompanied by a skewer of garlic prawns and I had the 'posh surf and turf', a cut of sirloin topped with baby scallops, prawns and crayfish.  Both steaks were cooked medium rare as ordered, were well seasoned, tender and had good flavour.  The scallops, prawns and crayfish served on my steak went well with the meat, the contrasting flavours were great.  Phillip's prawns were in the shell (which I ended up peeling) and were grilled perfectly; they were meaty and had excellent flavour, similarly working well with the steak.  We shared two sides; a dish of some good crisp hand cut chips and a dish of nicely al dente French beans with shallot and these were ample for the two of us. Phillip had a glass of La Serre Merlot which had nice acidic red and forest fruits and I had a glass of Alto Rajo Cabernet Sauvignon which was also fruity, with some acidity, but quite soft.  Each of the wines went well with the steaks.

We rose to the dessert challenge, though Phillip's Affogato was perhaps the easy option (a scoop of ice cream, a shot of amaretto and an espresso to amalgamate at the table) but it is one of his favourites and he loved it.  I had the chocolate and black cherry torte, effectively a ganache in a crumbly pastry case, the black cherry flavour came through really well in this chocolaty, but not overly intense ganache, it was lovely and was accompanied well by some Chantilly cream on the side.  It's a great dessert for the chocolate lover.

We enjoyed our meal at The Grill on the Market, the atmosphere is great, service was very good, our waitress was able to talk knowledgably about the dishes and the front of house staff generally were attentive without being overly so.  With good food, a substantial cocktail menu and a nice selection of wines by the glass, or by the bottle, this is a great place to go for a meal.

The Grill on the Market, 2-3 West Smithfield, City of London EC1A 4JX

Alan King

Twitter: @akandpa

Tags: Alan King, kandabites, Review, The Grill on the Market
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