Sharing is caring in Farringdon
Often I go to restaurants knowing exactly what I want before I even enter the door – Zilouf’s prawn toast and lychee, or The Palomar’s sweet breads with aubergine, for instance. In fact, I think most of us have token dishes, dotted around London, that are worthy of a cross-city mission when cravings hit. This week, I added a new delight to my mental map.
St Bart’s Brewery is happily situated next to Smithfield Market in Farringdon. It’s owned by the award-winning Hush Heath Estate, from Staplehurst in Kent. I can vouch that their pinot noir was superb (trying to remain unbiased as a Kent and Sussex girl born and bred!).
The running theme of the menu is sharing platters and plates, so in the spirit of ‘what’s yours is mine’, we started with a selection of English cured meats such as Yorkshire ham, smoked duck and chorizo, served with breads, chutney and pickles, which was a very simple and tasty charcuterie.
Our second vegetarian platter included arancini, Welsh rarebit, pickles and my absolute favourite, stuffed courgette flowers with soft cheese. Priced at £12, it’s an absolute bargain, and perfect for sharing on a warm evening with a glass of white wine.
A complete revelation – one of the best ‘sides’ I have ever tasted – were the fennel fritters with spiced mayonnaise. Move over limp dressed salad and say hello to thinly sliced fennel with light panko breadcrumbs and a well-seasoned mayo! They’re worth a visit alone.
If you’re in a carnivorous mood, St Bart’s also offers delicious meat from Smithfield Market, including a selection of burgers and steaks. If you have a spare stomach, you can sample the rather substantial sounding grill to share for £45, which offers Smithfield sausage, Somerset double pork chops, Cornish barnsley chops, lambs kidney, rib eye steak, roast bone marrow plus all the trimmings.
For dessert we sampled the cherry sundae brownie, amoretti biscuits with pistachio ice cream, and Cambridge burnt cream with lemon madeleine. These were both really rather lovely, although I think they may have missed a trick by not providing a shared petit fours dessert as well, to emphasise the theme.
Given that St Bart’s Brewery is located next to London’s primary meat market, there’s a slight irony that my favourite courses of the evening were vegetarian. But it’s no matter, as I have now added a new dish to my cross-city mission. So expect to see me striding through Smithfield Market soon, with a craving for fennel fritters.
St Bart’s Brewery
66 West Smithfield