As much as I like my food and drink, I'm not one to while away afternoons having '1980s lunches', so I tend to prefer doing breakfasts - and Smiths of Smithfield is my favourite spot. I'd been there for dinner and drinks before, but first went for breakfast early last year and have been back many times since. The build-up to the BRIT Awards, combined with rapid change and media interest in the music business, has led to a fair few visits in recent months.
Most importantly, the food at Smiths is great. It is simple, reasonably priced, unfussy, unpretentious and made with quality ingredients. I tend to go for the fried egg and bacon sandwich, but it is not all stodge, and also offers the lighter option of muesli and fruit smoothies. And for those with a sweet tooth, the French toast with maple syrup at 'three and a quarter pounds' comes highly recommended.
It has a great, relaxed atmosphere and doesn't give off a sense of overpriced scruffiness like some other gastropubs. It's never empty, but never overcrowded, and has an active buzz without being too noisy. The service is attentive without being overbearing. Restoring and reinventing old spaces appeals to me, and while that is not unique to Smiths, I love the fact that it is reminiscent of the area's past while being very much part of its present.
Where: 67-77 Charterhouse Street, EC1
Contact: 020 7251 7590
How much: Breakfast: £15 a head