Just across the road from Smithfield Meat Market is a modern, chic, and tastefully creative restaurant bar, Ask For Janice.
Ask For Janice lies open armed for all that pass by with its full-length windows, showing off the crowds drinking and chatting into the night. The interior design is the epitome of a contemporary warehouse gallery, complete with a neon name sign hanging up on a white brick wall. Laid out on the exposed cement floor are wooden topped black metal tables and stools, taking me back to the days of my year 10 art classes! A friendly member of the team took us to a table of two in the corner – clearly they had been warned about my classroom antics – positioned at the end of the bar and in good view of the kitchen; an excellent spot for a foodie like myself!
Feeling like I had been taken to an art gallery in Lower Manhattan, I decided to take a little wander around the dimly lit venue, which offers a cosy and intimate ambience to the ground floor. Venturing to the basement bar, I was presented with a choice; chill out in the cool, hipster party den styled with darker furnishings and graffiti lined walls, or continue my night of urban sophistication upstairs. I love how the venue has been cleverly utilised as both a downstairs drinking den and an upstairs restaurant/cocktail bar – it almost compares to deciding between heaven and hell (in the least sinister yet cool and mischievous sense of the word) for the evening. I decided to stick to the refined setting of the ground floor, to join in with the lively buzz of people drinking and dining, gossiping amongst colleagues, and catching up with friends.
The Food and Drink:
Starting the night on an empty stomach, we literally wanted everything on the menu. We decided upon an assortment of sharing plates, and first to come was the Salt and Pepper Squid, which was perfectly seasoned to remain a firm favourite from the evening. Next we added a bit of greenery to the mix, with the Blood orange, Brockley feta and purple sprouting broccoli followed by the Braised beef croquettes and mustards coming highly recommended, and for good reason too.
Naturally, we just had to wash our food down by sampling one of the forty gins from the Ask For Janice repertoire. I found myself opting for the Millers Westbourne - best served with strawberries, black pepper and Fevertree tonic - which comes as a very wise choice for those with an adventurous palate and G&T lovers alike.
Whether you decide to dine with the scrumptiously tasty sharing plates or choose the liquid dinner route as you attempt to be a gin connoisseur, Ask for Janice holds the key to both. A prime spot to round off your working week and welcome in the weekend - it's only a fool who walks past this Farringdon gem without taking a second look.