Type of food: Gastropub
St. Bart’s Brewery is a craft beer gastropub located opposite London’s historic Smithfield Market. In addition to serving a selection of lager and beers (including some from the local Camden Town Brewery), they also serve English wine and cider from the Kent based Hush Heath Estate and Winery. The menu changes regularly and the food includes bar nibbles such as Scotch eggs and Welsh rarebit and more bistro style food including steak tartare and salad Niciose (with seared tuna loin). The space is large and there are two floors – the top one is the formal dining area but you can order food to eat on the lower floor.
St. Bart’s is a popular haunt for City workers – on Friday evenings, there is a usually a live band and the atmosphere is, as you’d expect, pretty busy. As much as I love gastropub food – the Nicoise salad and the veggie special of beetroot ravioli sound great – St. Bart’s on a Friday evening for me is not conducive to having a leisurely meal. A fish and chips supper it has to be – and these are great fish and chips 🙂 The fish is a thick piece of beer battered cod (nearly two inches thick) and is served with homemade minted mushy peas, thickly cut chips and tartare sauce. I have found that on occasion, the fish can be a little greasy as the oil has not have been hot enough. Other times, the fish is just right so I guess it depends on the night. The accompaniments are nice – tangy tartare sauce and crushed peas with fresh mint rather than traditional mushy peas from a chippie. The chips triple cooked and are huge – you get five thick cut chips that are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside no complaints there! And… this is served on a plate. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer hot food being served on plates – there appears to be a trend for restaurants dishing up things on chopping boards and other things and there is even a We Want Plates Twitter account for those who feel particularly strongly about this! 🙂
The Smithfield burgers are also popular. This comprises of a 250 gram beef burger (sourced from the Smithfield market), bacon, melted cheddar cheese and salad in bun, served with a relish and chips. The burger is presented on a wooden chopping board (of course) rather than a plate. This is a tower of a burger – about five inches in height so impossible to eat without a knife and fork! Meat eaters tell me that this is a very fine burger with fine chips (same as those served with the fish and chips). The price is not cheap for pub food – the Smithfield burger costs £15 and the fish and chips, £13.50 (at time of writing). However, the quality of the ingredients is apparent and the food is nicely cooked.
The Farringdon area is home to lots of bars, watering holes, restaurants and cafés, so you are spoilt for choice. The craft beers, the Kentish wine, the fabulous location and well cooked food makes St. Bart’s stand out for me. It does get busy in the early evening, as do most bars in the area, so if you prefer a quieter time to enjoy and reflect with your pint, pop in before the crowds arrive 😉
UPDATE 1st December 2015: St. Bart’s have changed their menu. Fish and chips is no longer available but the mighty Smithfield burger is at the lower price of £13.95 with a 230 gram burger,
St. Bart’s Brewery
66, West Smithfield
London. EC1A 9DY
Tel: +44 (0)20 7600 2705
Opening hours: Monday – Wednesday 11.00 – 23.00
Thursday – Friday 11.00 – 01.00
Saturday (mainly private hire) 11.00 – 01.00
Nearest underground station: Farringdon
Typical cost per person for 2 courses excluding drinks: £20 – £30