Bottomless bubbles are usually something only enjoyed on a weekend with brunch, but Smollensky’s on The Strand is throwing the rule book out of the window. Revolutionising the afterwork drinking game, the spot is offering unlimited prosecco from 12-7pm Monday to Friday, we went down to try it out, all in the name of research...
You can find Smollensky’s on The Strand, or The Northbank, if you’re buying into the attempted rebrand of the area just north of the river. Split like chapters of a book, the venue has two areas with separate personalities. Our story started in the bar, descending down the stairs into the low-lit and warming room, with plenty of dark wood and subtle purple lighting, which highlighted the bottle-lined bar. The space was slightly elevated from the rest of the room, giving it a sense of privacy that would be great for a larger group booking.
The restaurant is at the back of the room and mashes together, in surprising fluidity, industrial and chic styles. Almost warehouse-esque, the dining area is an elegant combination of exposed brick, windows framed by black steel and glitzy chandeliers. Perhaps thanks to the bottomless prosecco, or perhaps due to the casual setting, the venue buzzed with the afterwork crowd making their way through hearty plates or glugging drinks in the bar.
Food & Drink
When I first moved to London five years ago, Smollensky's would frequently entice me in with cheap and cheerful happy hours. It's undergone an upmarket transformation since those sugary cocktail days, and while it still has the excellent happy hour, drinks are less sugar-filled and more crafty, mixed with skill and thought. Rather than whacking them out to the masses, they've refined their offering; this can be tasted in their Old Fashioned (£10). The bartender warns me that it is served strong and powerful, and while it does pack a punch, it's got a silky smoothness that warms the cockles. The Whisky Sour is also enjoyable, with a sharp, mouthwatering first sip which soon melts away to sweetness.
Of course, my best mate and I leapt at the opportunity to enjoy the bottomless prosecco along with our dinner, which at £15 per person is an absolute bargain! To start, we shared the half rack of ribs (£7.50) which were messy but delicious; the kind of thing you should only order in front of someone you’re truly comfortable eating with, because they will get everywhere. Less messy, however, is the Cajun Fried Calamari (£6.50) which avoided the all-too-common greasiness, instead being crunchy crispy.
Though Smollensky’s is known for its steak, I ventured off-piste and opted for the Cajun Spiced Salmon (£17.50) which came accompanied by a generous and chunky avocado, cherry tomato and caper salad, with an iceberg lettuce wedge and buttermilk ranch dressing. It was light but packed with bold flavours that filled me up without leaving me stuffed. On the side my pal and I shared the Corn-on-the-Cob with Garlic Butter (£3.50), delicious, sweet and juicy - and a great accompaniment to her half Peri Peri Chicken which came with crisp sweet potato fries and cooling sour cream.
The food had filled us so pudding was a no go, but the good thing about prosecco is it can work its way into every remaining gap in your belly, and as it was bottomless it seemed silly not to keep on going for a little while after our plates had been cleared. We weren't alone in our prosecco quaffing, as tables around us sipped bubbles enthusiastically, it would seem that Thursday is the new Friday after all.
With kind and friendly service, a great menu filled with epic flavours and a bar offering excellent value and delicious drinks all night, Smollensky's on The Strand is an afterwork winner.