Up until the last 18 months or so, Smithfield was an area of London I rarely, if not ever ventured in to – especially if food was involved. But after I discovered Bird of Smithfield and its talented head chef I fell immediately in Love. Back then press and reviews were also a little more divided in opinion – but not me. Now, Bird of Smithfield has a new chef called Tommy Boland and given my love for this restaurants food, I couldn’t wait to see what’s changed and more importantly – if it was all for the better.
Inside it hasn’t changed at all and it’s menu is only marginally different sounding, but it’s plating is very different. Big portions of food which is all very hearty. Warm bread arrived shortly after sitting down and so did our starters. The beef tartare on my first encounter was a dish I’ll never forget and sadly it’s changed, though not necessarily for the worse – it’s simply just different. Chopped Scottish beef, truffle cream, pickled mushrooms, crispy shallot and nasturtium leaves. A lovely dish full of flavour and all beautifully presented.
Better still was the hand-dived Isle of Orkney scallops with squash purée, Jerusalem artichoke gratin, sage and pickled walnuts. The scallops were cooked to absolute perfection, all the textures were a pleasurable whirlwind in the mouth and the flavours again were fantastic – sweet, sour and a little saltiness.
Main of roasted loin of Scottish venison with creamed cabbage, bacon, pickle pear and beetroot was exactly how all of it sounded on the menu – utter heaven. Again the cooking of everything was perfect and the flavours all complimented one another. Portions were huge too so word of warning – go easy on the bread. The side of mash was creamy bowl of buttery goodness too.
My favourite part of our meal still, was the desserts. Roasted pear with warm almond financiers, frozen white chocolate and honey was incredibly satisfying and despite being full from our generous mains – it still managed to feel light, but with all the satisfying sweetness. The pistachio soufflé with bitter chocolate ice cream didn’t disappoint either and the bitterness of the ice cream cut into the sweetness perfectly.
I still can’t quite decide if I prefer this new viversion of Bird of Smithfield compared to the original as both are simply very different – but what can’t be denied is that Tommy Boland is one very talented and accomplished chef who knows how flavours really work together. I was also impressed that given just how busy this restaurant was, we didn’t experience any delays from the kitchen. Would we return? Yes. Especially if those desserts were promised once again.