Hot Spot: Smith & Wollensky, London

Nick DeLuca, managing director, Teneo Blue Rubicon, gives his verdict on this US stalwart's first outing in the UK.

The Adelphi Building,
Covent Garden Riverside,
1-11 John Adam Street,
London WC2N 6HT
020 7321 6007

The story

For much of my 32 years in the UK I have pined for a proper eatery that properly understands the art and science of the steak. That sad story finally ended with the arrival, just off the Strand, of Smith & Wollensky. Founded in New York in 1977, it has since grown into a national business, but this restaurant is its first foray abroad.

The reality

Situated in a beautifully renovated building – soon to be home to The Economist – it sits across two floors in an Art Deco setting that stirs up images of the 19th century. Power dining for sure. This is a big restaurant, and an expensive one. But the story here is the food.

The damage

On average, £75 a head, although the wine list can take you higher. Signature dishes While all the familiar grass-fed cuts are present (even a beef Wellington) as well as plenty of shellfish and seafood, the stars of this show are the dry-aged USDA Prime steaks – rich, succulent, marbled. As if this weren’t enough, the side dishes for two are hedonistic platters of creamy mac and cheese, spinach, Manchego-flavoured corn, onion rings and whipped potatoes.

Dining experience ****

An afternoon – or better yet, evening – can start here with elaborate, exotic cocktails and end with the most decadent hunk of New York cheesecake you’ve ever tasted.

Chance of getting a last-minute booking ****

Pretty good. It’s a huge restaurant and you can eat at the bar.

Client wow factor *****

With big booths and plenty of space, this is a perfect venue for discreet conversations and business meals. The three private rooms are well-equipped for meetings and group dining. Overall HHHHH You will leave short of a few bob, but definitely won’t be hungry.
Overall ****

You will leave short of a few bob, but definitely won’t be hungry.

Reviewed by Nick DeLuca, managing director, Teneo Blue Rubicon

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