St Bart’s Brewery is ideally located right opposite Smithfield Market in an area that is getting a name for its self for having a buzzing restaurant scene. Danielle Munroe pays a visit to see how it fits in with the rest of the area’s food scene
Just days after plans to redevelop historic Smithfield Market were turned down, four of us visited a new neighbourhood spot that could show the dejected developers a thing or two about stylish revamps.
St Bart’s Brewery overlooks the market on West Smithfield and is already making a name for itself in an area well known for its prolific food and drink scene. It’s a good-looking addition. You enter into a spacious bar at ground level, well lit by huge windows and discerningly designed with a mix of iron beams, rough-hewn oak boards, glazed tiles, striking light fixtures and cosy soft furnishings. The finishing is excellent – not the only factor that suggests the team here has a keen eye for detail.
Patrons are spoilt when it comes to drinks – St Bart’s Brewery stocks a wide selection of craft beers, ciders, wines and spirits. Meantime Lagers are housed in stainless steel barrels to the right of the bar and the drinks list boasts the venue’s own ciders and sparkling wines from Hush Heath Estate in Kent. For those who fancy a more intimate rendezvous, the petite Balfour Bar upstairs provides an exclusive list of cocktails and wines.
We took our seats in the mezzanine restaurant. A first glance at the menu showed that St Bart’s Brewery has taken full advantage of its surroundings. All meat is happily sourced from Smithfield, which not only speaks volumes for quality but must also save the kitchen staff some legwork if stocks run low. The crowning glory of the menu is the meat platter for two featuring Smithfield sausage, Somerset double pork chops, Cornish Barnsley chops, lambs kidney, rib eye steak, roast bone marrow, and accompaniments. Carnivores will rejoice, but there’s plenty of choice for vegetarians and those who prefer lighter fare. Of the starters we sampled (devilled chicken wings, Caesar salad and scallops), the scallops were the stand out, a generous portion of roasted plump molluscs with bacon and caramelised pineapple.
Onto mains, and the burgers were a handsome tribute to their provenance. The Smithfield burger with Westcombe cheddar, smoked bacon and relish was impressive, while the Brick Lane lamb burger, with onion bhaji, mango salsa and more cheddar, was no gimmick. The substantial smoked Scottish haddock fishcake with poached egg, spinach and a mustard cream sauce was ably accompanied by a side of hand cut, triple cooked chips.
St Bart’s Brewery also hosts an impressive live music calendar, and plenty of space for a dance, which provides a great excuse to return to work off enough room for that meat platter…
66 West Smithfield EC1A 9DY; 020 7600 2705; stbartsbrewery.com