Paddington is a bit of an underrated area – apart from its iconic train station, there are a boatload of cool riverside bars and restaurants. And while my boyfriend and I strolled along the canal, we spotted a bit of a hidden gem, Smith’s Bar & Grill. Serving up classic British eats with a modern twist, the menu looked very promising and its sister site happened to be housed in the same building. From what I recall, Allyu had some seriously scrumptious Nikkei-style dishes, so I was excited to check out its counterpart.
Walking inside, we immediately gawked at the hanging wicker lights, gorgeous leafy walls and slick leather seating. We were sat overlooking the canal and since it was a sunny day, the natural light coming in made for a fabulous backdrop on a Friday night. There was also a covered outdoor dining terrace and gin garden, ideal for cocktails by the water.
To kick off our meal, my other half nabbed the pan-seared scallops (£13) which were plump morsels planted inside a pea puree, sprinkled with bacon and watercress. I’m not a huge pea lover, but the earthiness of the puree complimented the buttery succulent scallops. Meanwhile, I opted for the truffle beef tartare (£17.50) that was blended together with capers and Tabasco. Covered in truffle sheets and topped with a quail egg yolk, the beef was super fresh while the creaminess of the egg pulled all the ingredients together. To wash our starters down, we asked for a bottle of white wine and were given the Macon-Charnay, Domaine Gueugnon Remond 2019 (£44). The French sip was tart and exuded a bit of sweetness, making for a suitable pairing with the scallops.
We moved on to mains, and I snagged the ribeye steak (£39) with a creamy peppercorn sauce and chips. The fries were perfectly thin and crispy; however, the steak left me wanting a bit more. I requested mine to be medium rare but as soon as I cut through the meat, I noticed it was clearly well done. I actually don’t mind my steak that way, so I was happy to drench it in the peppercorn sauce and carry on, but I can imagine that being a disappointment for steak connoisseurs. On the flip side, my boyfriend decided to get something he’d never tried before and opted for the tuna steak (£22.50). Salty, savoury and not too fishy, this steak was a slam dunk at every bite. It had a hint of chilli and was served with a slightly charred bok choy. As for the dessert, we were quite full from everything (I was getting the meat sweats) so we cooled down with the chocolate fondant (£10). Served with vanilla ice cream, the treat was dusted with a hefty amount of powdered sugar - simple but sublime in my books. We also sipped on a glass of cabernet sauvignon (£9 for 175ml) which was bold, aromatic and exactly what we needed to end the evening.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Overall, Smiths & Grill is a gorgeous canalside restaurant in the city. While it missed the mark on my main, I really couldn’t fault anything else about this gem. From its wide open space and scrumptious seafood to the excellent list of wines and friendly staff, this eatery is ideal for cute dates and catch-ups with pals. And if you happen to be on a night out, there are plenty of drinking dens and bars surrounding the site so you’ll be in a fabulous evening.
💰 The damage: Around £150 between two, plus service charge.
📍 The location: 25 Sheldon Square, London W2 6EP.
👌 Perfect for: Canalside dinners.
⭐ Need to know: These guys also host bottomless Sunday roasts.