London’s Best Roasts: Bottomless Red and Chateaubriand at Smith’s Bar and Grill

When I was single and seeking love on Hinge, I lost count of the number of profiles I viewed that mentioned going for a pub roast in the ‘Typical Sunday’ prompt. Perhaps this was because I was swiping in London – the tiny flats that professionals can afford to live in rarely offered the kitchen space to whip up a comprehensive meal. It’s far easier to head to the pub and enjoy an extra glass of red wine instead of doing the dishes, too. 

However, finding a restaurant or pub that can deliver a good roast is easier said than done. Whilst at first glance this national favourite appears to be a simple assembly of ingredients on a plate, chefs will tell you that this beloved dish is difficult to serve en masse. Consider the complexity of timing that goes into Christmas dinner, and then imagine doing this for 100 covers. Cold potatoes, tough meat and overcooked vegetables are often plated up to Hinge’s disappointed Sunday lunch seekers. 

I’m happy to share then that I had no such experience at the contemporary restaurant Smith’s Bar and Grill in Paddington who come highly rated for its roast offering. 

Smith’s USP is sharing roasts, with a menu that includes 28-days matured Chateaubriand beef, free-range whole-roasted poussin and roasted pork belly, all of which can be upgraded with bottomless red wine for an additional £15  – decadent and dangerous. Located on London’s Little Venice canal, surrounded by colourful moored boats, the area around Smith’s comes into its own on a sunny day. There’s a feeling of being on a European city break, even though you’re just seconds away from Paddington station.

The interiors at Smith’s are lovely – trailing faux florals and plants are suspended from the ceilings, interspersed with glowing rattan lamps. The wow-factor comes in the form of the floor-to-ceiling bar, backlit with golden strip lights, illuminating the extensive selection of spirits. There’s plenty of natural light in Smith’s too – on this particular Sunday the restaurant was bathed in bright afternoon sunlight. 

We started our meal with a chilled glass of effervescent Champagne Testulat, which was ice-cold and biscuity in flavour. When you’re gearing up for a heavy plate of food like a Sunday roast, starters need to be light, so we ordered the tuna tartare, served with tuna mayo, chives and cress and the burrata with pesto and datterino tomatoes. The tuna was finely diced, spiked with chives and mouthful upon mouthful of melty tender deliciousness. The only way it could have been improved was with a crispbread to scoop up all the goodness with.

You see burrata on just about every menu in London at the moment – the cult following that mozzarella’s relation attracts is real. There is good burrata, and bad burrata, however, the latter being flavourless, soggy and the opposite of indulgence. Smith’s burrata was very good – creamy and simply served with a blob of verdant green pesto and good-quality red and yellow tomatoes. 

With plenty of room for more food, we ordered a glass of Pinot Noir each to drink with our roasts – the chestnut and field mushroom parcels served with truffle gravy for me, and the 28-day matured Chateaubriand for my partner Joe, with a side of cauliflower cheese to share. 

Vegetarians will tell you they can often be shortchanged by a pub roast dinner –  the potatoes, gravy and Yorkies are often made using animal fats and cooking juices, leaving just the steamed vegetables on your plate. So it was a pleasant surprise to receive the full works on my plate, Yorkshire pudding and all. My partner loved his Chateaubriand, describing it as ‘the perfect balance of tender and juicy, with a smoky chargrilled edge. There was layer upon layer of it too – no shortage of quality or quantity.’ 

We finished the meal sharing a sublime baked passionfruit cheesecake, bathed in fresh passionfruit sauce. Sometimes cheesecake can be too sweet, but this was sharp, tropical, and refreshing. It was one of the best desserts I’ve eaten in recent memory. 

Hinge daters will tell you that the search for love online can be a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Which is why I’d point them towards Smith’s Bar and Grill for a reliably delicious Sunday Roast – some things in life are best not left to chance.

Sophie Green

Sophie Green is PR Manager for a designer flash sale website and part-time fashion blogger, having founded her fashion and shopping blog in 2012. Finding a passion for the industry at a young age, Sophie studied Fashion Communications at university and has worked in the industry for over a decade, heading up the PR departments of several fashion and fine jewellery brands. Through her fashion blog she has worked on campaigns with brands including UGG Australia, La Redoute and Headmasters and counts sitting opposite Anna Wintour at the Topshop Unique LFW show as a career highlight! Outside of work Sophie likes to unwind by hitting the gym for a boxing class or ‘researching’ the best G&T’s the capital has to offer. Her fashion obsession is sequins, with an entire section of her wardrobe dedicated to all things-sparkly!