Any dining establishment with a tank full of red belly piranhas within view of the entrance is clearly sending out a message about meat. Subtle it is not, but for the discerning gent who likes his meat and plenty of it, The Grill on the Market could be the place he decides will satisfy his cravings for a tasty meal. Elysium Magazine is always in appreciation of any establishment which loves its meat as much as we do so we just had to give this place a try. Hence it was time for the discerning gent to take his seat next to the meat-eating piranhas.
The Look, The Feel
The Grill on the Market is located in Smithfield, London. Known for its famous meat market but also steeped in history dating back to times of medieval jousting and executions. The cobbles have seen plenty of blood its time but now it’s a place known for a quality cut of meat and this is where expectations for The Grill on the Market should lie. Entering the restaurant, you’re greeted by a large open bar for drinks and nibbles. If your appetite is greater then you’ll need to head towards the back of the bar, ominously highlighted by the fish tank full of large piranhas, as a sign that it’s meal time.
The restaurant area follows the same open feel of the bar, with décor comprising of wooden tables and leather seats. Seating is a mixture of spacious booths, tables for two and larger tables for groups. A private dining room is also available (up to eight people). Our booth was comfy and allowed us to easily settle in and take in the atmosphere of the restaurant. The place is buzzing for dinner service – a mixture of trendy media types or friends having a good catch up over food.
The menu at The Grill on the Market is non fussy – an easy to navigate array of dishes to suit all tastes – from lighter bites to full hearty dishes. A discerning gent isn’t shy at the dinner table and there was an appetite to quell. After mulling over the options with the waiter, who was very knowledgeable about the menu and the specials, it was time to make a decision. We plumped for the crispy calamari (£6) and the baby scallop, garlic and bacon salad (£6.50). In prep for the mains later we also decided on a bottle of Tarquino Shiraz/Malbec (£22.50).
As the starters arrived at the table the smell of fresh garlic waffled through the air. The squid was light but crispy, served tentacles ‘n’ all just as it should be, tasting delicious with the garlic mayo. The salad was a sizable portion with plenty of baby scallop to satisfy the eager seafood aficionado. Tucking into the starters, enjoying a glass of wine and soaking up the ambience of restaurant was a great way to kick off the evening.
The Main Event
The main course was something we were looking forward on the night. A number of dishes caught the eye at the start of the evening but we eventually decided on the 450g T-Bone steak (£29) with a skewer of garlic prawns (£6) and a béarnaise sauce (£2.50), along with the whole Dover Sole (£29) and sides of corn on the cob with chilli (£3.50), hand-cut chips (£3.25) and French beans with shallots (£3.25). It all arrived at the table in a convoy of service staff eager to get the food from the grill to the table with minimal duration in-between. It’s an element the discerning gent values highly.
The steak was tender and juicy, helped by the marbling or the meat and the succulent garlic prawns were a perfect surf accompaniment to the turf of the beef. Portion size was good, but that’s always the case when you order a T-Bone. The whole Dover Sole more than rivalled the steak in scale – in fact it looked pretty impressive as the parsley and lemon nut brown butter shimmered away over a fantastic looking piece of fish. Better still was the taste the fish as it flaked away from the main bone and quickly into the mouth. Indeed a very tasty dish. The whole main course seemed as though it was a banquet and we were sitting at the head of the table plundering the spoils of the day with a good bottle of red.
A breather was needed after the main course, partly to savour the taste but also to soak up the atmosphere of the place. The mixture of the after work crowd with friends catching up ensured the buzz remained well into the evening. The breather also served as a moment to decide what we’d enjoy for desert. The usual selection of deserts are on offer here but if you fancy something more fluid then there are a number of speciality cocktails available to satisfy the sweet tooth but also to serve as a digestif under the ‘And so to bed…’ section of the drinks menu. Here you’ll find the ‘Jaffa Cake’, ‘After Eight’ and ‘Apple Pie’ cocktail creations.
Elysium Magazine has a serious sweet tooth that only a good pudding can satisfy and so the choice was made – sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream (£6) on the recommendation of our waiter and the chocolate and black cherry tort with vanilla cream. Both were very enjoyable and a great way to finish the evening.
Smithfield is always vibrant with energy morning, noon and night, and you know you’ll be able to get a good cut of meat at any restaurant within the market’s vicinity. The Grill on the Market adds to this by creating a venue buzzing with excitement whilst Head Chef Zee Khan puts out plate after plate of classic British favourites. The menu is diverse enough for all tastes but this is definitely a meat-lovers venue. The restaurant is great for client entertaining with ample dining space with the added option of hitting the bar after the meal, but the cosy booths also mean that couples can enjoy good food over scintillating conversation too.
Food: 4/5 stars
Ambience: 4/5 stars
Venue: 4/5 stars
Style: British Classic
Contact: The Grill on the Market, 2-3 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9JX – Tel. 020 7246 0900