Located slap bang opposite Smithfield Market, Bird of Smithfield is a restaurant and bar which is partly owned by head chef Alan Bird, who was previously head chef at The Ivy, something which is clear when looking at the menu.
Set in a Georgian townhouse, the whole place felt like a private members club as it was spread over five floors, with a restaurant, private dining room, bar and a roof terrace. Late on a Friday evening we popped in for a spot of dinner and the place was surprisingly quiet. The dining room was a lot smaller than I imagined.
Some house bread (bought in apparently) served with unsalted butter kicked things off. Am I the only person who hates unsalted butter?! No flavour! That aside, the bread was really nice with a chewy crust.
We decided to share the steak tartare (£13) to start which looked far prettier than any other tartare I’ve see before. The addition of radish, crispy shallots and dollops of confit egg yolk certainly gave the chunks of raw beef plenty of flavour but they were slightly overpowering to be honest.
Mains were quite disappointing. My Goosnargh spring chicken with girolles, wild garlic and green sauce (£16) had been chargrilled yet had a flabby skin and overcooked flesh. The ‘green sauce’ wasn’t highly pleasant either; it had a grainy texture. My gentleman companion went for the fish and chips (£16) which was hake instead of cod, as they’d run out. The fish was watery, overcooked and encased in a grease laden, soggy and therefore sickly batter. The triple cooked chips were also soggy and the accompanying mushy peas were dry and completely devoid of flavour.
Feeling a little grease laden ourselves, we felt uninspired to order dessert so paid up and left. There’s nothing wrong with a menu filled with simple dishes (there’s even a Shepherd’s Pie on there) but they have to be executed perfectly if that’s the case; on our visit they really weren’t. We left feeling disappointed, wishing we’d spent our money elsewhere.